The Last Days of Adelphia

My wife’s Adelphia email account was down for most of yesterday. Around 5 pm, I went to the Adelphia web site to search for any announcements about a problem. Here’s how long the page loads took:

  • Adelphia.net home page: 7 minutes
  • Check email (one last try): 404 error message
  • Customer support: 2 minutes
  • Technical support: 4 minutes, resulting in a classic on-screen mashup of “page cannot be displayed” wallpaper encasing the trouble ticket form.

I tried the chat line, and amazingly got a tech online within a minute. Even though I was logged in, I still had to retype my name, address and account number before starting the session. Shawn W was helpful in telling me that they were “experiencing technical difficulties with the Adelphia email system.” I picture Adelphia headquarters resembling Saigon just before the fall.

I won’t miss Adelphia when it’s gone. We’ve had their cable/broadband package for the last 5 years or so, and they’ve consistently provided the Worst Customer Support Ever. Two years ago, it took a month and a half to get a cable replaced outside of our house; when the contractors finally did the job, they cut through the underground electric dog fence (whose path was clearly marked with flags). Our relationship went downhill from there:

  • Me: Your contractors cut through my dog fence.
  • Help desk: Sir, that’s a local office issue, we’ll send them an email and they’ll call you.
  • Two weeks later:
  • Me: Your contractors cut through my dog fence, you said you would notify the local office but I haven’t heard from anybody.
  • Help desk: We’ll send them an email and ask them to call you.
  • Me: Why don’t you give me their number, and I’ll call them myself.
  • Help desk: We can’t do that, sir.
  • Me: The local office doesn’t have a phone?
  • Help desk: All support calls are handled through our national call center.
  • Me: But you said this was a local problem, so I’d like to talk to the local office, and they won’t call me.
  • Help desk: You can go to the office and talk to someone in person if you’d like.

I do worry that Comcast won’t be any better. I pinged them today to find out when the switchover would take place. I got a form letter reply, excerpted here:

I understand you have some general questions about the Time Adelphia/Time Warner migration, and I’ll be happy to provide you with some information. The deal is/was expected to close on July 31, 2006. This deal will allow Comcast to officially acquire customers from both Time Warner and Adelphia areas, as well as trade some of our customers to Time Warner.

In most cases, there will be no immediate impact to Adelphia/Time Warner customers. Comcast wants to provide an easy transition for our new customers. You will retain your Adelphia/Time Warner services while we transition you to Comcast products and services. We will communicate early and often as to when transitions will take place. We anticipate new customers to have most Comcast services by mid-2007.

Lots of problems here. First, the deal was completed in July – they should update their form to reflect that. The “early and often” phrase was boldfaced by me, because I still haven’t heard from Comcast about the transition.* A simple email would have done it, or an insert in the monthly Adelphia bill. Anything that provides a sign that they care a whiff about communicating with their customers. Then I see this article about the problems Comcast is having switching Adelphia accounts over in the Pittsburgh area. I wonder how many defections they’ll have when all is said and done. The devil you know …

*Exciting news! My daily postal influx of bills, Amex promotions, and Victoria’s Secret catalogs today included an update from Comcast. The switchover is scheduled for Nov. 9. It’s Comcastic!

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One thought on “The Last Days of Adelphia”

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