Online Off Line

Up until two days ago, I would not have considered the Internet as a necessity. I do use it for work… all the time. And I do write and post a lot of blog entries. I like to surf the net a lot. We only have one TV in the house, but we do have three or four computers.  It took an outage to bring this to my attention.

My wife let me know that she couldn’t connect Wednesday night. I played around with the router and rebooted various computers yesterday, but to no avail. So, I called up my Internet provider. A couple of months ago, our provider was bought out by another one. They had changed my e-mail address, but eveyrthing else seemed to stay the same. I had never called them before. I couldn’t find anything from their company and I had to guess at a number to call. Luckily the company in question has a seven letter name; it’s a pretty good guess as to what their 800 number is.

Surprisingly, they didn’t need my account number. I was worried about that as I couldn’t quickly locate any paperwork associated to my account. I can check the bill on-line and it’s set up to pay automatically. I breathed a sigh of relief when they asked me for my phone number. I knew that.

“Sorry, we cannot match that phone number to an account.” I hunkered down in my office and waited on hold for the next available operator. Their music was smooth jazz; not my favorite, but at least it was peppy enough to not lull me to sleep. I have a cordless phone, so I was able to rummage through our paper files and locate the account number.

I got through and the pleasant young woman on the other end asked me for my telephone number. I asked if she needed my account number instead as the phone number had not worked for the auto attendant. No, she needed the telephone number. Fine. I gave her my phone number, wondering why a high-tech company doesn’t have caller ID.

“I’m sorry, that phone doesn’t match to an account number. Do you have your account number available?” Aargh.

Well, it turned out that our automatic bill payment had been turned off for some reason last month and they had disconnected our account. Did they know why it had been disconnected? No. However, I should have received an e-mail about it. I asked what e-mail address that would have been sent to. It was sent to the old e-mail address that no longer worked rather than the new one they forced me to change to.

“It is important that you keep your contact information up to date,” reminded the operator. “Otherwise, the automatic bill payment function might not work.” Biting my tongue, I politely asked to reconnect my account and restart the bill payment. I was told that I would have to pay the account in full first. Did I want to pay for this over the phone? I wondered how else I would pay for it.

“You can pay online.”

I paid over the phone and I was set up for a “service call”. It takes two days to get this set up and the technician was set to have it done between the hours of 10 and 12… though – as far as I can tell – no one had to really service anything and no one paid a call to my home.


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