CenturyTel is complete shit! And they know it!
Well, most of the country could dial 575... Here in the 509 area code, there is an exchange of 575, over in Yakima. Whenever I try to use the 575 area code, I get a recording telling me that I "must dial a 1 + 509 or a 0 + 509 when dialing this number." Obviously, their circuits believe that I'm trying to dial Yakima without the area code, and so it's helping me to that.
This was all fine and good for the longest time. I would ignore the new area code, dial the 505 instead, and get all my calls to go through.
Until about 2 weeks ago.
My mother's birthday was coming up, and I'm a horrible child and I never call on birthdays, but my dad had asked me to call and wish her a happy birthday. So I dialed the number, and got a busy signal. Not the normal busy signal, but the fast one, which usually means the whole exchange is busy... I tried several times, and never got through.
And I've been trying to call other friends over the past couple of weeks in New Mexico, in preparation for NukeStock 2008. The only person I've been able to get in touch with is my dear old friend D, who lives in Albuquerque. Where, you guessed it, the area code has NOT changed.
A couple of days ago, I got a new message when trying to dial an old-505, new-575 area code number... "The area code you have dialed, 505, has changed to 575. Please hang up and redial the number."
Okay, so let me get this straight... I dial the number the old way, I get scolded, or I get a busy signal. I dial the number the new way, I get told I'm dialing an exchange within my own area code which requires long distance.
I cannot dial New Mexico.
I finally get this figured out, and decide it is time to make the fucking phone company solve this problem.
Oh, and by the way, my local phone company is CenturyTel. And they have a complete monopoly on phone service here in Cheney, WA.
I decide to get an Operator to help me out, so I dial 0+575+number... and get the recording about trying to call Yakima.
So I dial 0+505+number, and get an operator. And I describe the situation, including all of the recordings I get, and the circumstances under which I get each one, and exactly what my suspicions are as to why I'm getting the recordings. The operator asks for the number I'm trying to reach, and tries the line for me, and tells me that it is a live number and that people are answering. "Well, then, please tell me how I can dial this number, because I am unable to call it from here." "Well, sir, you will have to talk to CenturyTel and report this problem. Let me connect you."
"Hello, please call back Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm."
I decide to take another tack. I dial 0+505+number again, and get a different operator, who then hears my spiel and tries the number for me, and reports it is okay... and then I decide to ask, "Could you please connect me with the number?"
"I'm sorry sir, we are contractually forbidden to connect CenturyTel customers with numbers unless you which to charge this to a calling or credit card."
I ask to be NOT connected with CenturyTel, but instead to have their number. And I call the number, and I work my way through the phone tree system until I get someone to talk to, who gets all the information and quickly passes me off to someone else. Melissa, I believe. She is at least pretending to work for CenturyTel.
She gets all my information , asks me about the problem, I BEG her not to call the number and determine it is live once again... Her suggestion is to "unplug all the devices from your phone line for ten minutes." I cannot believe she is suggesting this, so I question her on it. "Are you telling me that, if I unplug the one telephone and the DSL modem on this line, it will help your circuits better connect me with the 575 area code?" "Oh, certainly, it will reset your line."
This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard, but I decide I'm not going to argue. I get her phone number (well, the phone number to the pool of operators who work weekends) and ask if there has been a job number generated on this. She says no, and so I hang up, unplug everything, wait for 10 minutes, and try again. Nothing.
So I call CenturyTel's service line again (1-800-824-2877) and this time speak with Kathy. Kathy does not treat me like a little child. Kathy listens to what I am saying, and understands that I've been working on this for over an hour now, and believes me when I tell her about the problems. Kathy reacts with the same incredulity that I had when I tell her about Melissa's "solution" to the problem. Kathy gives me a job number and thanks me for having some amount of patience with the situation. Bravo Kathy.
Fuck CenturyTel. When this is done, I'm going UP the ladder until I get free phone service for the 2 weeks I've been unable to call New Mexico.
Maybe I suddenly need to get a Yelp account. and maybe a Digg account.
Fuck CenturyTel. How unprofessional can they be?
EDIT: adding terms for Google Centurytel customer complaint bad review poor customer service