Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?, 2

When the phone rings, I ignore it unless I recognize the caller ID. When the call came through from the phone company, I ignored it. We dumped the phone company in favor of having our phone and Internet services bundled through the cable company. So I thought the call must be a “we want you back” call. We also dumped their wireless phone service in favor of pay as you go Tracfone. When I heard the message tone, I thought it must be in reference to the 17 cent balance on the wireless bill that I didn’t pay.

The message was from a customer service rep. Dad gave her my phone number so she could talk to me about switching his DSL service to FIOS, since I pay for his DSL service. Help me, Lord, what now? I called her back.

The phone company, like other providers, offers a deal where the customer will save on services if the services are bundled. Dad had received information about lowering the telephone bill, and he was very much interested in that idea.

The phone company had wired the Weebles’ street for FIOS (fiber optics). Dad was under the impression that since the phone company had done this, he would automatically get the deal for a flat rate monthly phone bill. He would be able to call anywhere in the lower 48 and not pay extra for long distance calls.

He was indignant to find his bill didn’t reflect any change. So, he wrote a letter to the vice president of the phone company stating if they didn’t give him the monthly flat rate service, he would take his business elsewhere.

I nearly choked with laughter. Where did he think he was going to go?

The phone rep. explained the FIOS deal to me. Dad’s telephone and Internet service would be bundled and appear on the same bill for a monthly rate of $70.00 (give or take taxes). Now, I was only paying $14.95 for his DSL service which was cheaper than the dialup service I had started him with.

The Phone Rep was happily chattering on about savings. My mind was whirling with the fact, once Ma saw the “new” phone bill, now $20 or so more than the “old” monthly bill, there was going to be hell to pay. Not to mention though Dad may save on his phone bill, the Internet service I pay for him is going up a whopping $55.05

I called Dad to discuss the finances with him. He insisted he wanted the phone company to wire the house for FIOS though he didn’t understand why he didn’t have it already. He saw the phone technicians working on the poles.

“Dad, it’s like the gas company. They run the gas pipe down the middle of the street, but if you want the gas company to heat your home, you need to have the gas company connect your house to the street.”

Several go arounds with the need to save money had me wishing I could take the gas pipe.

By this time, Himself came home, and he had the pleasure of sharing a bottle of whine with me.

“He isn’t going to be able to afford $70 per month. We can’t take on his bill for $70 a month either. I just thought letting him have a computer was a good idea. It would open up a whole world for him. He’d be out of Ma’s hair. How do I get myself into these things?”

Himself graciously refrained from saying, “You had parents.”

We finally decided the best solution was to split the bill with Dad. Afterall, we owned the furnace, why not FIOS too.

The customer service rep was very helpful when I called back. (We also held a Weeble support group meeting as her dad is 86.) She explained the wiring that would be done inside and outside the house. I made sure there would be no installation charges involved. She explained once the house was wired for FIOS if for some reason he hated it, the computer could not be switched back to DSL. There was a 30 day trial period if he hated FIOS, it would be uninstalled without breach of contract or de-installation fees. She also agreed to have the bill sent to me.

“There, all set,” she said brightly. “He’ll be amazed at the speed.”

“The speed won’t really matter because he can barely turn the computer on. You did say the technician would be installing a new modem with a wireless router?”


“At least there’s the little ray of sunshine. We can bring our laptop and get work done.”

“There’s one other thing I noticed about their phone bill.”

“What’s that?”

“Do they know anyone in Kingston, Jamaica? There’s a $30 phone call to Jamaica.”

“Jamaica? They don’t know anyone there. I’m about the only long distance call they make.”

“Fine, that's what I thought. I’ll have billing remove the charge.”

It occurred to me after I hung up the phone, Ma might have made the call to Jamaica. She probably received a call this number to find out if you’re a winner. To her, Jamaica would be Jamaica Plains, a suburb of Boston, a local phone call and not a foreign country. Go ahead Rolling Eyes , I did the same thing. I’ll wait.

The last phone call of the day was to Dad to explain the billing and that a technician would be going into the house to install any wiring.

“And I’m saving money!”

“Yes, Dad, you’re saving money.”

Lord, can you hear me now?


Erica Vetsch said...

Well, I'm glad we got that straightened out. Just wait until Jamaica says she's won, but she has to come pick up the prize. You'll be on a plane to the Rastafarians before you know what hit you! LOL

Donna Alice said...

Maybe she won a free vacation for two to Kingston and she was going to give it to you for your birthday?

I'm with your Dad--I have no idea what unspeakable things are going on with his phone and internet. I'm just glad I went back with Dial UP!