Internet Service Providers forum



by RikkoLOL / January 20, 2014 2:35 PM PST

I had ADSL service through DSLExtreme (DSLX) for 6 years, I switched from Mindspring when they changed my DSL service from its dedicated data line, originally installed by Covad, over to my home phone line - but neglected to inform me!

Unable to reestablish the connection, I spent 6 hours on the phone to various 'techs' in India whose expertise consisted entirely in having me repeatedly restart my computer, modem, etc. for over twenty times! I finally lost my temper and forcefully insisted on talking to somebody who knew what they were doing.

The tech to which I was reluctantly referred actually checked my ADSL line and said it was fully functional, which I knew not to be the case. I asked what phone number he was checking, and when he replied with my home phone number, the problem became jarringly clear and straightforward - the DSL modem worked fine on my home line.

This experience, and DSLX's rates being half of Mindspring's, led me to change ISP's to DSLX, which also had overall good forum evaluations for reliability and knowledgeable tech support.

Because my optical-copper junction was about a mile away I could only get 1.5 Mbps download speed, but DSLX kept it up & running at about 1.4 Mbps, so I rarely had to consult their techs, who were American and knew more than I.

Two years ago I noticed that AT&T had built a new junction a block from me, and checked on the DSLX site to see if I could get a faster connection. Their system concluded I could upgrade to twice my speed, or about 3 Mbps, so I signed up for the faster service and maintained automated monthly bank debit card payment to DSLX, as I had for 6 years.

Two days later I got an e-mail from the DSLX tech staff informing me that the upgraded service was implemented and functioning. However, when I checked, I could only get the same 1.4 Mbps as before. I called the DSLX tech staff, who checked my line, and found out that AT&T had not switched my particular line to the closer junction box. Hence, it was not physically possible for DSLX to provide me with a faster ADSL connection.

Obviously, they had told me my new higher speed connection was up and running without actually checking it! Still needing a faster connection, I told them to cancel my account, and obtained Time-Warner Cable (TWC) at 10 Mbps (about 7 times faster than my ADSL speed with DSLX) for $5 more a month. For all the criticism TWC receives, they installed my access on time and have faithfully maintained it to spec, and even boosted it to 15 Mbps about 7 months ago - no extra charge!

About 8 months after the DSLX fiasco, I reviewed my bank statements to do my taxes, and saw that DSLX had not discontinued my account, but continued billing me for nonexistent service. I e-mailed them requesting they correct their error and refund the erroneously billed sum. They replied that it was my responsibility to notify them in writing at a certain address in order to have my account closed so they were keeping the money and I should be grateful that they didn't insist on my payment of the balance for the year's contract!.

This was absurd, as the account was canceled not because I decided to discontinue service, but because they could not provide that service. Since they had breached, I no longer had any contractual duties to them (yes, I did Law school). Further, their staff received actual notice from me that the account was canceled some 8 months prior, when they told me they could not perform as contracted. The reliability of their internal communications, or lack thereof, is entirely theirs. All of this is not only hornbook law, but also explicitly acknowledged in their rather cumbersome 'conditions of service.'

I so informed them. They wrote back basically telling me to take a hike. I went through the Better Business Bureau, and got the same BS, somewhat modified: They admitted that they had stopped my ADSL service 3 months prior to my initial e-mail request for a refund, without any written request from me. This shredded their idiotic argument that they had continued billing the bank card because I hadn't canceled in writing.

Worse, they admitted billing my bank for 3 months after they themselves had 'stopped' my ADSL service without any further word from me. I had to laugh, since I had canceled my AT&T phone service 4 months prior to their allegedly 'stopping' my ISP service! The precise nature of the 'service' they 'stopped' remains untethered to sanity.

However, DSLX 'as a courtesy' waived their prior (imaginary) claim for further sums arising from a contract which they had breached and 'service' they never provided, In a further gesture of goodwill, they agreed to refund the three months they had billed after they 'stopped' their 'service.' Nonetheless they refused to refund the billing they illegally collected in the months between their contractual breach and their spontaneous 'stopping' of imaginary ISP service.

Why the officers of DSLX risk considerable criminal liability over the sum of around $200 is enigmatic. Having read similar stories of DSLX malfeasance in other
venues, it's clear that their illegitimate acts towards me are not
untypical of their usual business practices. Likely, the aggregate sum they obtain from these policies exceeds what I lost by orders of magnitude. But, our own government has done much worse, and a decision to prosecute DSLX is theirs alone.

However, it is you, dear reader, who decides whether to do business with DSLX, and how to advise others similarly situated.


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