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Businesses Communications Network The Almighty Buck The Internet

frontier Demands $4,300 Cancellation Fee Despite Horribly Slow Internet (arstechnica.com) 207

frontier Communications reportedly charged a cancellation fee of $4,302.17 to the operator of a one-person business in Wisconsin, even though she switched to a different Internet provider because frontier's service was frequently unusable. From the report: Candace Lestina runs the Pardeeville Area Shopper, a weekly newspaper and family business that she took over when her mother retired. Before retiring, her mother had entered a three-year contract with frontier to provide Internet service to the one-room office on North Main Street in Pardeeville. Six months into the contract, Candace Lestina decided to switch to the newly available Charter offering "for better service and a cheaper bill," according to a story yesterday by News 3 Now in Wisconsin. The frontier Internet service "was dropping all the time," Lestina told the news station. This was a big problem for Lestina, who runs the paper on her own in Pardeeville, a town of about 2,000 people. "I actually am everything. I make the paper, I distribute the paper," she said. Because of frontier's bad service, "I would have times where I need to send my paper -- I have very strict deadlines with my printer -- and my Internet's out."

Lestina figured she'd have to pay a cancellation fee when she switched to Charter's faster cable Internet but nothing near the $4,300 that frontier later sent her a bill for, the News 3 Now report said. Charter offered to pay $500 toward the early termination penalty, but the fee is still so large that it could "put her out of business," the news report said. [...] Lestina said the early termination fee wasn't fully spelled out in her contract. "Nothing is ever described of what those cancellation fees actually are, which is that you will pay your entire bill for the rest of the contract," she said. Lestina said she pleaded her case to frontier representatives, without success, even though frontier had failed to provide a consistent Internet connection. "They did not really care that I was having such severe problems with the service. That does not bother them," she said. Instead of waiving or reducing the cancellation fee, frontier threatened to send the matter to a collections agency, Lestina said.

frontier Demands $4,300 Cancellation Fee Despite Horribly Slow Internet

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  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @09:40PM (#58167626) Homepage Journal
    Didn't I just read about these guys in an article recently... Oh, yeah, so I did. [vice.com]

    Basically, frontier is letting their copper rot on the ground [mn.gov], but still charging everyone full freight.

  • Court (Score:5, Informative)

    by jpaine619 ( 4874633 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @09:41PM (#58167628)
    Failure to deliver a useable service should render the contract null & void. Contracts must be equitable.. I get something (internet) and you get something (money).. They don't have to be fair, but they MUST be equitable.
    • Re:Court (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 22, 2019 @09:53PM (#58167674) Homepage Journal

      Real business-grade internet access comes with a service level agreement. That's clearly not what she got. If she wanted a guaranteed level of service, she should have paid for it.

      With that said, charging someone $4,300 to cancel a service that didn't work worth a shit is predatory. If she can't get relief from her local government, then it is shit.

    • We don't know what the contract said. We also don't know enough about the kind of service.

      Nevertheless the contract should have had SLAs specified and both customer steps to initiate support cases (thus documenting them) and provider actions and response times to remedy them. If she didn't hold up her end by properly notifying the provider and maintaining her own call logs then it's hard to prove. This is doubly so if there's customer-provided equipment like a router or even a very limited number of comp

      • We don't know what the contract said.

        But we do know that if the contract does not specify the penalty, then she will win in court on the matter of not paying the penalty.

        It is that right there, with a full stop. If she has a case regarding the penalty being specified, then we wouldnt be privy to her situation. She may have a case regarding the terrible service obviating her of the penalty, but we can be absolutely fucking sure that the penalty is stated in the contract.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          But we do know that if the contract does not specify the penalty, then she will win in court on the matter of not paying the penalty.

          You include that "if" as if it didn't, when it did.
          She stated the contract said she would have to pay the remaining monthly price in full. The dollar amount of the monthly charge doesn't need to be in the contract when she has it in the invoices/bills.

          She also stated canceling service 6 months into a 36 (3 year) contract.
          $4300/30 is $143/month

          While 143/mo is high for non-business class service, that is still in the same ballpark as most of the entrenched providers these days.
          Pretty sure my local cable co c

    • frontier is banking on the fact it's going to cost you a LOT LOT LOT less in paying the termination fees as opposed to your time and money taking them to court.
      • Court doesn't always cost a lot.. That's what Small Claims Courts are for. Wisconsin's $10K limit for small claims is well above $4,300.. It appears that WI does permit lawyers in SCC (opposite of my state which totally bans them from small claims), but one can represent one's self... It's certainly a much less formal setting than normal court.

        I could not determine if this is the type of a lawsuit that could be brought in small claims though. There are only certain types permitted, but it certainly woul

        • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
          Her only option is costly mandatory arbitration. Small claims are prohibited by pretty much every contract these days.
          • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

            Minor details of a contract, such as mandatory arbitration, aren't relevant if there's already a material breach. In this case, it's declaring that the contract is worthless in its entirety.

            Also, some locations are stating those clauses are unenforceable, whether it interferes with the right to use the court system, whether it's a one-sided clause, or for any other reason.

            • by Cyberax ( 705495 )

              Minor details of a contract, such as mandatory arbitration, aren't relevant if there's already a material breach. In this case, it's declaring that the contract is worthless in its entirety.

              Nope. Off to arbitration that can declare the contract void.

              Also, some locations are stating those clauses are unenforceable, whether it interferes with the right to use the court system, whether it's a one-sided clause, or for any other reason.

              Nope. Thanks to conservatives on the Supreme Court the arbitration is binding and mandatory across all of the states. It even overrides the right to a class-action trial (not kidding at all - https://www.lawandtheworkplace... [lawandtheworkplace.com] ). "One-sided"? That's the whole idea.

              • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

                Said supreme court case mentions that you are incorrect, giving 15 U. S. C. Â1226(a)(2) as an example of a valid law that overrides mandatory arbitration via the saving clause. Other laws may also exist, but need not be listed here.

                For reference, that supreme court case relates to the mandatory arbitration clause in combination with the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. Â 157), and mentions that the NLRA didn't have a clause that prohibits mandatory arbitration.

                Since that case, the Supreme c

                • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
                  This is very limited, though. The court absolutely upheld that questions about the scope of work and/or quality of provided services are governed by the arbitration clause. And if the contract is a typical telecom contract then there's little she can do with complaints.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Canceling is really the wrong move here.

      So don't cancel, tell'em to step up and keep their part of the contract... and then stop paying until they do.

      IANAL but you might even try charging them for the replacement service you needed because they didn't provide.

    • She could argue that since she was not getting the service specified by the contract, she could cancel without penalty.
    • I agree, but it does seem like she needed to do significant troubleshooting with them and somehow dispute the contract rather than just cancelling. Of course, the way things usually are they just tell you to turn your PC off and on again, and force you into private arbitration that will always rule in their favor, so maybe cancelling was the only realistic solution.
      • by Zebai ( 979227 )

        I agree, but it does seem like she needed to do significant troubleshooting with them and somehow dispute the contract rather than just cancelling.

        This. I see so many stories of people complaining about their services complaining about contracts and such however they almost always fail to mention the details. Any service, I don't care who its from or how good they are could have technical issues sometimes these issues are not apparent especially in intermittent service situations and it takes time to track such things down time they likely never gave their provider or in many cases i hear, even reported it to their provider. Just calling up and s

    • it would cost more to litigate than to pay. This is not by accident. Companies will often set fees to just that threshold.

      It works both ways too. If you rack up a bunch of credit card debt with different cards but it's not enough to be worth suing over then your CC company will debt swap with other companies until it's enough and come after you. I saw this a lot in 2009.
  • They need every penny they can pinch whether they earned it or not.

  • by james_gnz ( 663440 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @09:49PM (#58167650)
    In many jurisdictions based on common law, this would be unenforceable on the basis that it is a "penalty clause"--a contractual clause seeking "damages" out of all proportion to any actual damages. This may be worth looking into.
    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @11:57PM (#58168050)
      I don't mean to defend frontier here (they're in my work area and they completely suck). But it's not unusual for a business line+DSL to cost upwards of $100/mo. A 5-year contract would then be worth $6000+, and early cancellation could constitute damages in the $4k range.

      Her experience with frontier's service is consistent with mine. They bought out Verizon in the area where I manage an office building. Our tenants complained frequently about Verizon's spotty service, enough so that I went into negotiations with Time Warner specifically to bring cable Internet to our building. frontier took over Verizon's service in our area about a half year before TWC was scheduled to trench lines to our building. I told the tenants to hope for the best (it would be pretty hard to suck worse than Verizon), and be sure to have some sort of backup Internet, even if that meant getting a mobile hotspot on their cell phone.

      Well, frontier managed to suck worse than Verizon. All the tenants complained of more spotty DSL Internet connections, and about half complained that even their phone service was impacted. When TWC finally came in, nearly everyone switched, including one tenant who had just signed a 3-year contract with Verizon before the frontier switchover. Our tenants hated frontier so much that most of them ignored my advice to maintain at least one regular phone line instead of switching entirely to TWC's VoIP service. (A decision that came back to bite them when TWC suffered an Internet outage, which of course took all the VoIP lines down as well.)
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        I don't mean to defend frontier here (they're in my work area and they completely suck). But it's not unusual for a business line+DSL to cost upwards of $100/mo. A 5-year contract would then be worth $6000+, and early cancellation could constitute damages in the $4k range.

        Where do you work where the reasonable damages for early cancellation could be that high? Reasonable damages for early cancellation are limited to the cost of installing the service minus the profit already made from prior use of the serv

      • A 5-year contract would then be worth $6000+, and early cancellation could constitute damages in the $4k range.

        Fucking rubbish.

        A contract involves obligations both ways.

        If I signed a 5 year lease on a property and one week after the roof fell in I wouldn't owe one bent penny from that point.

  • Sadly her mother naively signed the contract. The cancellation fee details are probably buried in legalese.
    Get a couple TV stations to do a human interest story in their news. Really bad press.
    File a complaint with whoever regulates the service.
    Then call a lawyer, and sue for breach of contract, for failure to provide the contracted service.
    Escalate, and escalate.
    Make collecting that fee too expensive.
    Time consuming, but burning an asshole can be satisfying.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Really bad press"

      I assure you that frontier gives exactly zero shits about that.

  • Read the contract (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @10:00PM (#58167710)

    I once got an ISP to wave the early termination penalty by threatening to force them to invoke the "misuse of services" cancellation. The contract was poorly written and only had an early termination penalty (in the amount of all payments due for the remainder of the multiyear contract) in the event that I cancelled, the only penalty for misuse was "immediate termination of services". Our own legal counsel agreed -- if they terminated our service, we didn't have to pay.

    So I called my sales rep to cancel and he said we' d have to pay the early termination penalty. So I told him that we had a client who was ready to use the connection to send spam (which was one of the activities they prohibited), and of course the sales rep said that they'd have to terminate our service and we'd still have to pay the penalty. So I asked him to run it past his own legal department and get back to me - this ISP already had an issue with their customers sending spam.

    They let us terminate early without penalty. I never did service with that vendor again, so I don't know if they updated their contracts. They are long gone now, having been acquired (and that company acquired too).

    • Heroic. (no sarcasm)

    • One is stuck with bad contract terms because there are usually only about 2 viable carriers in the average town, and they both fuck you over the hot coals because they can: you have no choice if you want Internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 22, 2019 @10:52PM (#58167884)

    Every time some idiot yammers about how the free hand of the market will correct things, remember stories like this. Without regulation, every company will put abusive contracts in place that will force you to pay a fortune to end a contract in order to make it as difficult as possible for you to be able to choose.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In a free market, there would be other providers to choose from. Communications firms have had regulatory capture for a century, and thus little competition.

    • Every time some idiot yammers about how the free hand of the market will correct things, remember stories like this. Without regulation, every company will put abusive contracts in place that will force you to pay a fortune to end a contract in order to make it as difficult as possible for you to be able to choose.

      The free market would work but it's anything but a free market. It's so rigged in favor of the wealthy and the large corporations that we need regulation in order to prevent rampant abuse. In many places, the ISP has a monopoly and therefore little to no incentive to provide a quality service. In other places it might be a duopoly where both companies are neck and neck for being the shittiest ISP out there. Where there is a monopoly and duopoly, competition has been restricted by the government. The governm

  • Object Lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @11:03PM (#58167908)

    Internet, meet capitalism.

    Capitalism, meet internet.

    What did you expect, Libertarian paradise?

    • Re:Object Lesson (Score:5, Informative)

      by green1 ( 322787 ) on Saturday February 23, 2019 @12:04AM (#58168068)
      The internet hasn't met capitalism. The infrastructure is heavily regulated by the government with a view to limiting the number of competing providers. You can argue about whether or not that's a good thing, but you can't say that is a free market. Limiting the number of providers will always result in lower quality, and higher priced, service.
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        My government keeps encouraging competitors to come in and compete, even offers grants to help. None have showed up because building the infrastructure is expensive and they'd never make their money back.

        • None have showed up because building the infrastructure is expensive and they'd never make their money back.

          Taking this statement as true, are we still supposed to believe that the existing providers are terrible?

          Pick one. You dont get to have both.

          • by dryeo ( 100693 )

            I'm in Canada, which I thought was about the worst in the world, though it seems another thing that America (along with Japan) leads in is worse internet. We're close though and our telecom's are pretty shitty.
            Sticking to the article, contracts are now illegal to have termination fees besides paying off equipment, so I have to pay $300 over two years (or quicker if I cancel) for a shitty internet hub thingy on top of the $85 a month for an LTE connection, my only choice.
            I was on dial up until just over a ye

          • by Euler ( 31942 )

            option 3: natural monopoly (for the incumbent provider)

      • A free market, without any government regulation, would drift relentlessly towards a monopoly situation. Power begets power.

      • by Euler ( 31942 )

        I don't know about the whole internet, but the last mile is typically a regulated utility.

        It is not a free market because it happens to be a monopoly and they are regulated for that reason to protect the voters / taxpayers / general good will to society. It isn't because either party is specifically evil, but because the monopoly is naturally forming and requires action to limit the negative impact while still allowing it to exist at all to provide its service to the community. That doesn't promise the re

        • by green1 ( 322787 )
          In my original comment, I said that we could debate the merits of the system, but that doesn't make it pure capitalism.

          In reality, I think the issue is that it's "semi-regulated". This is due to regulatory capture by the telcos. I agree that the last mile is a natural monopoly, and it makes sense to be so. After all, how many sets of wires do you really want going to every house? But in regulating out the competition, you also need to replace those competitive pressures with something. So either you go all
      • The internet hasn't met capitalism. The infrastructure is heavily regulated by the government with a view to limiting the number of competing providers. You can argue about whether or not that's a good thing, but you can't say that is a free market. Limiting the number of providers will always result in lower quality, and higher priced, service.

        Psssst..... that's what they call capitalism these days.

      • The internet hasn't met capitalism. The infrastructure is heavily regulated by the government with a view to limiting the number of competing providers. You can argue about whether or not that's a good thing, but you can't say that is a free market. Limiting the number of providers will always result in lower quality, and higher priced, service.

        No, it's not heavily regulated by government. Actually, lobbyists come in and advocate for laws restricting competition thereby protecting the frontiers, Charters, etc. It's a rigged game.

        • by green1 ( 322787 )
          Hint, a law restricting competition, IS regulation. It's not pro-consumer regulation, but that doesn't make it less regulatory.

          The problem is that the laws remove competition, without adding any other balancing force. If you're going to get rid of the competition, you need to do something else to replace the forces that competition would otherwise provide, such as also regulating pricing and service levels. If you regulate only half the equation, you're bound to have the situation that we're all familiar wi
    • Yeah, exactly. The weird part is where everyone is suddenly on the side of a deplorable nobody from flyover territory. What the hell? When did we start sympathizing with racists having to pay cancellation fees?
    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday February 23, 2019 @06:12AM (#58168658)
      The AT&T breakup dealt with the long distance phone monopoly (MCI was using microwave transmitters to send voice over the long distance leg, turning a long distance call into two local calls plus their microwave hop; hence their name - Microwave Communications Inc). It didn't touch the government-granted local phone monopolies. Each region still had just one phone company which owned the lines and provided service. The AT&T breakup just made it so most long-distance calls went between two different phone companies, instead of within a single company.

      Yeah they allowed local phone competition, but all the competitors had to use the monopoly phone company's phone lines. The monopoly company exploited this to drag service and repair requests for competing companies out for days, even weeks. And the customer would get mad at the competitor they were using, instead of at the monopoly phone company who owned the lines. I had to deal with this BS when setting up T1 service at a business. The service was with Speakeasy, but they leased the line from Verizon since Verizon was the monopoly phone provider in the area. The line had problems every time it rained. Speakeasy would take my service request immediately and submit a repair ticket with Verizon. Verizon would drag it out for a week, and when they tested the line a week later (when it was no longer raining), miracle of miracles! The line would test just fine and they would close the ticket. This went on for years until while upgrading service I just happened to get a call from Speakeasy and the Verizon service rep wiring the new line while it was raining. I immediately asked him to test it, and sure enough it was drowning in static. That got them to finally admit the line was faulty and send someone out to find the problem and fix it.

      That's what's going on here. frontier is the government-anointed monopoly service provider for the area. Because they own the lines, when their service quality sucks because of poor line quality, every DSL provider's service sucks equally because they're all using frontier's lines. So frontier has no incentive to repair or upgrade their lines. It doesn't impact the competitiveness of their business, and fixing things would just cost them more money The government agency regulating their monopoly (your state's public utilities commission) is supposed to make them behave, but they're largely ineffectual.

      The way the local phone service should be done is like gas or electric service. You don't want a rat's nest of lines like India [alamy.com], so you do want only one company installing lines. That monopoly company installs and maintains the gas and power lines, but they're prohibited from selling gas or electricity. Instead, you can buy your gas and electricity from dozens/hundreds of companies selling those products. They all pay a transmission fee to the monopoly company, all of them paying the same fee. The fee is regulated by the PUC who looks into the monopoly company's financials each year to guarantee they're making only a certain percentage profit.

      The failure of government regulators to set up phone service this way makes this squarely a failure of government regulation. If you were willing to have the rat's nest of lines and followed the Libertarian model allowing competing phone services, any company not maintaining and upgrading their lines would be committing economic suicide, and would die off. Only the companies which maintained their lines would survive.
  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @11:10PM (#58167930)

    My own experience is that favorable results are usually forthcoming right after telling a difficult vendor/provider that the next phone call will be to the state attorney general's office.

  • Didn't read (Score:5, Informative)

    by hedge00 ( 1395807 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @11:24PM (#58167966)

    There is no doubt that the contract stated exactly what the penalty for cancellation would be. The lady didn't read it.

    It's not complicated to get out of a contract when the service is unreliable. You just have to consistently take the time to report your problem. The ISP sends a truck out to the house at their expense. The problem persists, so you call in and complain and get another truck . Repeat a few more times, get a few more trucks. Eventually the problem will be fixed or it will become apparent to the ISP that they're paying more for trucks than you're paying them for service. Then you've got good grounds for cancellation with the penalties waive. You can even ask the tech to leave a note on your file that the problem is unfixable; they're the authority on the matter.

    If you sever your service before you've allowed the ISP what they consider sufficient opportunity to fix the problem, then they'll stick you every time.

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      And when the ISP laughs and points out the contract says "up to" and 'service will vary on location", we're not sending a truck.

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        The "up to" clause refers to throughput, there is still a reasonable expectation that the service will remain working even if it's slow.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          While I agree, it may take lawyers, along with their fees to make that argument stick.
          From what has been stated up the page about frontier, their business model seems to depend on not fixing infrastructure.

    • Ha, the joke is on you buddy. frontier ain't got no trucks.
  • by jamesborr ( 876769 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @11:24PM (#58167968)
    Note, I call this entity Citizens as that is the bulk of past and future business, although they did buy the remnants of the old Rochester Telephone business (which had been renamed frontier Communications), but not before the interesting parts had been spun off including their internet and cell phone components -- leaving just the old local land line business -- the buggy whip part of the communications space. After acquiring frontier, they assumed the newly acquired entity's name as their own. Needless to say, "new" frontier brought their mostly rural landline business to the party, and have been acquiring additional tradional land line businesses frequently in rural areas -- mostly because no other communications company want anything to do with this part of the space. After all, running new copper POTS based lines, in mostly rural areas with mostly an older, poorer clientele just seems so 70's... Additionally, young people are largely mobile focused and more affluent folks are looking for faster, more reliable cable or fiber based internet services. Lastly, as people got rid of their 2nd POTS lines decades ago when dial-up internet went the way of the dodo, and gave up the only related POTS landline for a mobile phone number or maybe a cable provided VOIP line, the old POTS infrastructure is used less and less, which means no "investment" in this antiquated technology base (kind of like the abandoned railway lines with the old telegraph signaling wire, with the old cute glass insulators -- and none of which is in use anymore). So therefore, frontier is now in the business of riding the buggy whip part of the communications business into the ground -- and DSL might as well be ISDN -- too slow, not reliable (literally running on 50+ year old copper). They have no presence in the mobile/cell part of the market, they are not a cable company nor have they made any significant investments in fiber. So they are truly "dead man walking", and if someone "attempts" to force then to make the necessary investments to bring their "plant" up to date, without a significant increase in rates (or government subsidies), they will just go bankrupt.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Friday February 22, 2019 @11:47PM (#58168024)

    "I transferred the fee using my frontier Internet connection.
    What? You didn't get it?
    Maybe you should look into that; your service seems pretty unreliable."

  • Have a look at the rules around cancelling a service [accc.gov.au]. Specifically, the bit that says:

    If you have a major problem with a service or a minor problem that can't be fixed within a reasonable time you have the right to cancel a service contract, when it is: ... unfit for the purpose you asked for.

    There are reasons why I could not see myself moving to the USA. Shonky services, with no laws to limit the damage they can cause, are a significant part of those reasons...

    • by davecb ( 6526 )
      "unfit for the purpose" and "not suitable for the purpose sold" are phrases found in statutes of fraud in many places, including Canada and Michigan. Other states may vary, but any which have a statute of fraud will provide the customer the option of laying charges or filing suit against the vendor.
  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Saturday February 23, 2019 @02:09AM (#58168276)

    the fee is still so large that it could "put her out of business," the news report said

    Since Candace Lestina essentially "inherited" the business, and the crappy service, that sounds like the service is actually in the business's name, not an individuals. So -- fold.

    The Pardeeville Area Shopper declares bankruptcy from early termination fee -- but first it sells all its assets off to a new company. Company B licences/rents those same assets back to the original company to use. The bankruptcy of course means that arrangement ends. Assets are now the property of Company B. Employees (being one person) get laid off. frontier is left holding the empty shell of the previous company, Ms Lestina moves on to the new company and starts up again under the new name.

    • Run that idea past a lawyer before trying it out. The courts aren't stupid, and there's likely to be laws against effectively looting a company after getting an unpayable bill and before declaring bankruptcy.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Saturday February 23, 2019 @05:51AM (#58168616) Homepage

    If they failed to reasonably provide their provision of the contract, notify them as per the contract (or in any reasonable manner) and say so. Say that you don't consider the contract fulfilled, and will be terminating based on their failure to fulfil it.

    Give them a reasonable time, etc. Keep telling them. Keep telling them it's not adequate.

    Then... cancel the contract. If the contract was never fulfilled, then it's as if it never existed, thus any "agreed" cancellation fee never was agreed at all. They didn't hold up their side, so you don't need to hold up yours at that point.

    However, you have to have notified them (just because the contract says a certain way doesn't mean it *has* to be that way, but it's best to play their game... imagine if you went to court and had to explain how you did things... "Not only did I go through their cancellation forms online, your honour, but I also wrote them a registered-delivery letter which I have proof they received, got no reply, joined into a web-chat which I have provided a transcript of, telephoned them for 45 minutes which I have the phone bill here to prove, and still I was unable to cancel the contract".

    You don't *need* to go to court... it's far too petty for that. But you act as if you were gathering evidence for a court. Any court will take steps to side with the party that was being reasonable, expressing their concerns, trying to do things properly, trying to make sure they didn't get into trouble, trying to give the other side a decent chance to rectify.

    And because you operate like that, the right people at the company - when it gets escalated to the very-real threat of a court case (i.e. a summons to court) - they will look at how you have been doing things, realise that they stand no chance, and likely settle.

    Even before that, though, most senior people in a complaints department have an ear for things like that... they can tell the ones who *are* prepared and are keeping every correspondence and will more likely pay to keep those people away while batting away all the "I'LL SUE YOU! GIVE ME MY PRODUCT FOR FREE AND A YEAR'S CREDIT OR I'LL SUE YOU!" idiots.

    If they haven't provided a reasonable interpretation of the product/service they said they would, and haven't rectified that despite being given more than enough chance, then you notify and cancel. They'll say you can't, and all kinds of things. But, fact is, if they haven't reasonably complied with their end of the contract, the contract is null and void. Not only that, if it's *never* been fulfilled, you can most likely get all the money back that you've ever paid them. Even "non-returnable deposits" and things like that.

    No delivery, no contract. No contract, no cancellation charge. No cancellation charge, no debt to them.

    Seek advice if you're not good at these things.

    [[I've never needed to and though I don't do stuff 100% official, I'm sure, I research and I always get a decent outcome and have variously been threatened with court (dozens of times), bailiffs, and all kinds - and yet never once had any of those things even started, and in fact had people pay me "not to take it to court, right?" because they were so far in the wrong they didn't even realise until I presented the evidence to them. Insurance companies, telecommunications providers, landlords, letting agents, banks, ... all kinds of companies have come unstuck when they just go through the "standard procedure" and I actually have a genuine grievance that they don't handle.

    I've had money for an entire contract term forcibly ripped back out of their accounts going back months (have to love UK Direct Debit law... I got a very polite phone call literally two minutes later...), I've had insurance companies mess up so bad they begged for me to not take them to court, I've turned "We're going to take you to court" into "Oh.... sorry... no, that's absolutely our mistake, here's a cheque" (often a few days after I say "No problem, I have copies of

    • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

      I agree with you.

      If there's a problem, I try to fix it the 'standard' way, though the normal customer service channels, etc.

      If it's clear that that will not fix the problem, eg because of bad actors or poor processes, I then usually start again, but at the top of the organisation, eg with a calm note to the MD/CEO's PA saying: "Do they realise that this is going on, and how customers are being treated?" The results can be spectacular (and gratifying).

      I have a little anecdote about a telex I had to send to

  • A friend of mine paid the local cable company to run fiber to his home by getting a business line installed. After the contract was done he went back to a normal home plan but now he had a higher quality line feeding the house.

    Maybe the fee from frontier is to cover the installation cost. Now if the service sucked then they don't deserve anything but if her claims are exaggerated then she's out of luck.
  • In 2007 frontier claimed that my brother had signed up for third party services three months after his death.
  • I'm from Wisconsin and frontier is a garbage DSL provider with ancient infrastructure who charges roughly double for internet because they operate almost exclusively in small towns and rural areas. They have a HORRIBLE reputation for customer support, fixing things, billing, etc and they don't care. Everyone hates them and nobody in their right mind renews a contract with them at this point. They're basically TDS too where they no longer want to be an ISP but they can't just cut off customers so they tend t
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Saturday February 23, 2019 @12:24PM (#58169520)
    We have two choices for internet access (like most Americans). They both suck. Over the years, one will get bad, and the other will improve, so we generally switch ISP's every 3-5 years. Sometimes quicker. We often have a leftover contract. We just let the shitty ISP dangle. The ship it off to collections and ding our credit. I don't really give a shit and just ignore them.

    We need internet access regulated by the Feds asap. The current situation sucks.
  • Lestina said she pleaded her case to frontier representatives, without success

    Chicken appeals to fox to confirm that it's still hungry.

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