23 February 2005

Dear Brighthouse,

VoIP was getting rave reviews from both my husband and I until it died and we tried to contact Tech Support when the phone lights went out on the modem and the telephones ceased to work.

The first thing that pops up on the web site is instructions to dial 611 if you have a problem. Huh? If my phones don't work, how can I dial 611? If I dial 611 on the cell phone I reach Cingular. No help there.

Back to the web site. Aha... a contact address. Click and it brings up a form. So far, so good. I completed the entire form and tried to submit. Oops! The form wants a different format for my phone number. OK. I can fix that. (What is with the parenthesis on the outside of the entire phone number?) Submit again. Ah-oh! The phone number STILL doesn't go thru -- it now appears twice in red as (xxx-xxx-xxxx).

So I started over. Tried again from scratch. Same results. And again. I give up!

I wake up husband from his well deserved nap and get the cell phone from the car. No freebies. Pay per minute. The only thing left that I can think of is to call the local office. After pushing all the right buttons, giving my phone number, declining Spanish and waiting for "All other." They are as helpful as they can be -- by forwarding my call to "someone who can actually do something about it."

Please make note that I am using a cell phone. As I am sitting on hold, and I use that term loosely, because at this point I am pacing -- I am subjected to at least FIVE minutes of Brighthouse advertising accompanied by what should be non-offensive music. Brighthouse, I don't mind your ads. I actually like some of them. But when I am on a cell phone, the last thing I want to hear is a chipper voice telling how to get High Speed Internet service and all the other features that I already have.

Just as I am about to lose power on the cell, a gentleman asks if he can help (very polite). I explain for what seems to me like the seventh time that my dog-gone phones aren't working and the modem telephone lights are out. I am certain the gentleman noticed the edge of hysteria in my voice, but remained ever so calm as he asked me if I was getting a dial tone.

"NoOOOO! That's why I am calling."

Mr. Brighthouse reassures me that they have been having problems with loss of dial tone in my area and they are working on it. Naturally, I almost calmly (not really) ask him when the phones will be fixed.

In my mind's eye I could see him shrug. Grrrrrrr. He doesn't really know.

Persistent, I push on, "Please just give me an estimate."

I don't really remember his reply, because it was drowned out my his next question, "Where are you located?"


Now I know phone lines go down. Computers crash and there are a myriad of other little problems that can affect phone service. What a company does when that happens is their benchmark.

It's been three hours now. I'll keep you posted. Unless I lose Inter

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