Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck

Earthlink Pulling A Bait-n-Switch? 186

Posted by timothy
from the get-it-in-writing-next-time dept.
Matt LaPrairie writes: "Many of Earthlink's DSL customers signed up during their $39.95 per month promotion. This contract required a 6 month commitment on the part of the customer and they were told that the price would stay the same for the lifetime of the account. Well, Earthlink has raised its price to $49.95 for new customers (which is fine), but Earthlink is now charging everyone $49.95 - even those who signed up for the $39.95 "lifetime" promotion. They didn't even wait until the six month contract was up, much less honoring their promise of keeping the $39.95 price for the life of the account. The full story, including emails from customers and an Earthlink sales employee, can be found here: http://www.earthlinksucks.net/dslscam2.htm." While this site talks about a "quoted" price, does anyone have this claim in writing, or a screenshot of an ad with this price? Even if Earthlink has a good escape clause regarding the 39.95 price, this kind of situation seems a good justification for "-sucks" sites.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Earthlink Pulling A Bait-n-Switch?

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The phone company raised their charge for DSL lines...EarthLink makes _no_ profit from the price increase. All DSL companies will be raising their rates shortly. I should know, I work here.
  • Before AOL was AOL it used to be called Quantum Link (division of Quantum Computer Services) and served the Commodore computer user market. In 1986 they offered a "lifetime membership" for $150. So I signed up. As long as you stayed under 6 hours usage/month it was free forever. Q-Link lasted until 1994 at which time the lifetime membership was honored into AOL under the same rules. When AOL went to flat rate a few years back, they "upgraded" my account too and started charging fees. I demanded my old plan back and got it. Thus AOL is still hourly for me beyone 6 hours per month, but since I hardly use it. It's free forever for me! Woo hoo! Besides, they owe me anyway, all the cash from those lifetime signups was used to fund the start of AOL (for Mac users only) back then.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't be so sure - to get in on Bellsouth's DSL as an alternate provider you have to buy quite a bit of expensive new equipment (understandable - it's new tech), get a relatively expensive line back to the CO (somewhat understandable - but they'll overcharge you), *and* pay bellsouth $35 a month per line *you* service - when they're selling the same service for $40 - fair pricing anyone? Yes - I know they are a company and have make money/recoup losses, but upgrades are *operating expenses* not losses - but all BS see's is a chance to gouge their customers more...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    when i started a server at home they sent me a email saying they would cancel my account if i didnt shut it down...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Clam!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sympatico?
    Sheesh...its like using AOL!!!
    Is that your reference point for your statement?
    If you need service, try some smaller guys like vif or aei.ca.
    There are quite a few in Montreal which offer DSL for even better rates than Sympatico and from the feedback I got, most people are very happy with the service.
    I'm with AEI and ended up using my own Alcatel external. Sympatico only rents their modems for $10 a month, "Were doing it for your own good, wedont wnt you to buy one and get stuck with it when a 'new and faster' modem comes along" bullshit.

    And their tech guys are awesome....
    I have a friend who had problems with dropping connections (ended up being a split wire outside) and the techie spent over 90mins with him. The few questions I ever had were dealt qwith quickly and professionally (if you show them that you understand TCP, DNS, gateway address and other terms, they kick it in overdrive....Sympatico talks down to ALL their users and spends countless time on "Is your computer plugged into the wall!?!?!" crap.
    Im paying 29$ (thats about 20$ US) a month for AEI and dont have any problems.
    I cant believe that some people pay $50 for DSL. I converted in Canadian currency and felt nauseous and pity...

    z
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I find this quite amazing, I got an email from my Cable Provider [telewest.co.uk] last week indicating the price of my cable modem (512k/128k, no limits) was dropping $10, it used to be $45 (£33) and has now dropped to $35 (£25).

    Considering it was $70 this time last year and now $35, it's not too bad, and actually cheaper than some of the cable services in the US because of the price increases over there.

    It seems the DSL services in the states are now the same price as BT's ADSL service, which takes the piss. My American friends used laugh at BT's (former) monopoly power, however it seems they've equally being shafted these days. What's the point of a competitive market place when all the providers are carteled?

    I get my TV, phones, broadband from Cable these days, BT can kiss my arse, their recent descent into chaos garners no sympathy, and it seems they're finally working out that electing another "Sir Idiot" to the board doesn't actually achieve anything. Fuck `em.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I work here too, and you're full of it. DSL providers are raising prices because they can't afford not to - notice how many of them have gone bankrupt recently (Flashcom, Bazillion, Northpoint, et al). Earthlink is trying very hard to become profitable. Even with the increased prices, we're not yet, but not because of anything the LECs are doing differently.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2001 @05:20PM (#196392)
    Although EL was founded by a Scientologist (sky dayton), Earthlink is a public company owned by its stockholders.

    The wide majority of EL employees are not Scientologists.

    Reed Slatkin has been accused of defauding mostly other Scientologists.

    I would never put secret databases and monitoring behind the CO$, but until I see some kind of real evidence that EL itself is a party to this, it's just a rumour.

  • Please forgive me if I have no wish to be "Rogered" for my Internet access.

    Would you rather have your service provided by a bunch of Cox?

    --

  • As you'll see on the site, Earthlink is already very aware of the existence of the site, and hasn't taken any action yet, aside from refusing to host it themselves.

    --

  • uhh, or you could call Earthlink's customer service department and cancel your account. Why bother cancelling the credit card?

    --

  • Can you find that quote printed somewhere?

    --

  • The rest of that is: "We are believers in the Golden Rule. In all our dealings we will strive to be friendly and courteous, as well as fair and compassionate. "

    The rest of the CV&Bs are here [earthlink.net].

    --

  • So, your main argument against DSL is that it's not available to everybody. This seems to piss off a lot of people for some reason. Limited availablity doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the technology, it just means not everyone can get it. Not everyone can get it means don't bitch at the companies offering it if your phone line doesn't qualify!

    Keep in mind that many of the things you're complaining about - poor support, price gouging, complaints about what you're using the line for, networking multiple computers - are entirely dependent on the ISP you choose, and there are a LOT of ISPs to choose from, with different policies. If you don't like it, choose a different ISP.

    Here's a rant [brad-x.com] against @Home that might interest you.

    --

  • Earthlink has recently begun offering static IP addresses on residential ADSL service for an additional $10 per month. It's only available in certain areas right now, and only through Covad. Earthlink's static IP service still uses PPPoE, but you get assigned the same IP address every time you connect. Ask the sales rep about it when you sign up; they'll let you know if it's available and make sure you get what you need.

    --

  • According to this recent AP story [siliconvalley.com] he's "only" in debt for $100m, with the action for a claimed "phony investment scam" worth $35m. I guess that's what you're talking about...
  • First the spam problems, then the takeover of several ISPs (including Netcom's dialups and Mindspring's users), and now this.

    Sheesh, no wonders why JustThe.Net [justthe.net] is offering an amnesty program (one year contract with two extra months free). It's just straight home-grown service, run by antispammers. (DISCLAIMER: I am *NOT* a JustThe.Net employee or affiliate)



    --
    WolfSkunks for a better Linux Kernel
    $Stalag99{"URL"}="http://stalag99.keenspace.com";

  • running a proxy does not use any more of thier IPs, so they probably dont care. its not like they could do anything about it anyway since many large company sell "dsl routers" and the like. the bad press would destroy them in such a competitive market...
  • And get rid of all the extensions on your line, and make sure there aren't 200 feet of phone line spooled under your desk.

    The actual limit is something like 53k due to phone line max voltage regulations. The equipment is perfectly capable of doing 56k, but the telcos wouldn't like it.

    Also, the 56k protocol will renegotiate the speed as line conditions improve/worsen, but your 'official' connect speed will not be updated to reflect this, I don't believe there is any feedback mechanism for this.

    If you're constantly getting low connect speeds on 56k, rest assured it's not the ISPs fault, it's the phone line, there's nothing they can do for you.

  • by hawk (1151)
    Yikes. I've watched modem speeds go up, and once wrote a central monitoring/MIS system that used 300 baud modemsw (just a couple of years before they became affordable)>


    At 1200, I could read the text, and would wait impatiently.
    At 2400, I could barely keep up--and only if I had scrooling by pixel rather than line (otherwiseit kept jumping).


    but 256? At that speed, you can just watch the 1's & 0's and manually convert to ASCII . . .


    :)
    hawk

  • >Maybe ISPs shouldn't advertise 56k service if they know full well that
    >the technology precludes it.


    If that were the case, maybe. It's not the technology; the phone system and the modems *are* capable of the 56k connection. In fact, this is the connection they use for 52k. It's the FCC that prohibits them from pumping data that fast.


    If the other companies would start advertising 52K rather than 56k*, they could do it. Doing it alone would be suicidal, and getting together so that they could all do it simultaneeously would violate antitrust law . . .


    hawk

  • nah, not bad at all--at that speed, you just connect a telegraph key rather than a modem :)


    hawk

  • When I heard that Earthlink was standing up to the RIAA's demands to shut down Gnutella servers, and saw their pro-privacy advertising, I really thought they would serve as a good example to other ISPs. Certainly I had heard worrying stories about how Eartlink was run by Scientologists (an organisation not known for its liberal attitude towards free speech on the Internet), but didn't want to base my opinions on rumours.

    It is unfortunate to see that Earthlink are now tarnishing an image which could have forced other ISPs to clean up their freedom of communication credentials.

    --

  • ...like they want to charge more money if you use the connection for more than one computer...

    Just out of curiosity, how the hell would they know if you were running a proxy server? Or is it just done on the honor system?
  • For some reason, /. insists on inserting spaces randomly into comments

    proper link [latimes.com]

  • I started with Southwind which got sucked up by Onemain which got sucked up by Earthlink. :-( I haven't had problems so far but fortunately I use a non Earthlink email account. A friend of mine who uses his old email says email's been shit since the Earthlink merger.
  • by swb (14022) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @07:41PM (#196411)
    Fully buzzword compliant, but missing the point entirely.

    DSL requires copper pairs from the DSL CPE to the DSLAM at the CO. Works great in "older" neighborhoods whose COs, known in Telco parlance as "wirecenters" really are that, wire centers. A building that has thousands of copper pairs running into it from the entire surrounding geographic area. The wire center makes a great place to put DSLAMs, since it has switching equipment, air conditioning, and more than likely an ATM OC-3 or OC-12 back to the regional central office.

    Many new housing developments (new as in the past 5-10 years) are part of entirely new, far-flung semi-rural suburbs whose explosive growth coupled with developments in technology have made the traditional, high-density wire centers impractical. Instead copper is pulled from houses to a neighborhood concentrator and backhauled via fiber to either the "original" wire center or a new wire center.

    In these cases DSL doesn't work because there's no place to put the DSLAMs. The neighborhood concentrators are in small metal boxes or in vaults where there's inadequate power, environmental controls or upstream connectivity for DSLAMs. However, some ILECs like Qwest have been talking about "extending DSL" by placing more DSLAMs in the field near the customers instead of relying solely on copper to the wirecenter. It's expensive because you need a mini-building or a hardened DSLAM, upstream connectivity, etc etc.

    Your second line about use of frame-relay is pure BS. Many CLECs like Covad lease an essentially dry voice pair from the ILEC, but to the best of my knowledge they are not running channelized DS1 signalling and frame-relay encoding on these, they run DSL. Whether leasing a pair from the phone company is cost effective is debatable, but running DSLAMs in a zillion wire centers more than likely isn't.

    DSL customer service sucks because the DSL business, at least from the ILEC perspective, is a huge capital investment and a major growth effort which saps people, management and cash resources quicker than they can be replaced. ISPs have *always* had shitty tech support, and that the most critical part of their customer connectivity is being handled by a third party (ILEC or CLEC DSL vendor) only makes it worse. That there's no competition doesn't help, but they have such a huge customer backlog that the whiners in the crowd who don't like it really don't matter.
  • I believe the claim is that the prices were raised before the contract expired.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • The table nesting is definitely off by one.

  • Because sometimes a rainy day lasts for more than just a day.
  • More like never heard of DHCP with a 3 minute lease time.

    ---
  • I'll agree with the first reply here -- SpeakEasy has been a reasonably good DSL ISP. Not that they're perfect, but as far as Telecom companies go, they're OK.

    I did have problems getting my connection set up initially; Covad kept complaining about all sorts of things. The one thing SpeakEasy did that I really appreciated is that they were in constant contact with me during the installation process... like 3 emails a week for a month telling me what was going on. Getting DSL in general is a painful process (welcome to the Bleeding Edge!), but they certainly do all they can to help.

    --Mid

  • First, let me say, I fully recognize that a company promising one thing and then changing the deal like this (possibly in violation of contract) is bad, evil, and they should get what they deserve (if, in fact, they actually did this). That's not what I'm about to talk about though.

    If I think back a few years, there were lots of 'unlimited access dialup' providers, back when there was no cable/dsl to speak of. These providers usually charged $20-$30/month.
    Then one day, these providers started changing the terms of agreement going from 'unlimited' to '300 hours a month' and then steadily adding restrictions. Why? Simple. It was only economical for them to offer unlimited access as long as they were growing like mad and the users were not internet savvy. What they were selling was not based on paying for actual resource use. The growth of these 'unlimited' providers also managed to drive a lot of ISP's who actually charged a reasonable per-hour fee for using their services out of business...

    Now we look at Cable. Cable makes sense...$50/month is CHEAP for the kind of speed you get... try purchasing *real* bandwidth sometime, you know, the kind where you don't get a TOS that says 'no servers' and you can get your old IP networks routed in. In most places, that's still very expensive by comparison.. even though the T1 you bought is SLOWER than your Cable. Now.. sometimes, Cable got really slow. Lots of times people blamed this on high use in a segment.... but in all the cases where I have reliable knowledge, the real problem was upstream bandwidth from a certain point in the network. I saw a cable company (in the same small town) bring in 512Kbps Frame-Relay to thier regional network and then deploy cable modems to everyone blabbing about the multi-megabit speeds. Surprise.. it was *really really slow*.

    Now DSL. DSL, as a technology, is great. I've done homebrewed DSL connections between offices in a small town (actually, between an ISP and a related company a few blocks away) and it's great.

    DSL is nothing more and nothing less than a point-to-point technology. The problem with DSL is how the supporting networks are managed (or not managed).

    Regardless of what technology we bring in... we should keep two things in mind.

    Any internet access technology will suck unless managed properly.
    It costs money to run these services, no matter how you slice it. Current services have sold at a loss for quite some time.

  • Though what you say is absolutely true.... let's analyze.

    So you mean, the company cannot stay in business because it's stock is down? What ever happened to PROFITS?

    Oh. Right. I forgot. It's acceptable for a company that will never be profitable to use the stock market to get funds and drive lots of small, profitable companies out of business only to go bankrupt later on in life, having never actually made more than it spent.

  • I was paying $49.95 when they lowered it to $39.95. I convinced them to lower it and have been paying the lower cost. I will wait and see if they raise it for this next month. I only have about 10 more days to wait.

    ----------
  • I was a DSL customer for three years, '95 through '98, before I moved and switched to a cable service. DSL doesn't have to be like you describe:

    I mean, most DSL services that I see advertised today, with rates comparable to what I have paid for the past five years for Cox@Home, pale in comparison. You get a 16k per second upload rate and a 40k per second download rate.

    Nope. I had 64kbps uplink, 1.544Mbps downlink. They've since raised the uplink to 128kbps. And yes, I got those rates -- downloads frequently approached 200kBps.
    You have to be within 2-3 miles of the distribution node to qualify, which basically screws over any suburban areas.

    Nope. About 90% of the city I was in at the time could get DSL.
    You get substantially lower support from the service provider, because it seems like most of them are just smaller redistributors for larger corporations.

    My DSL provider was the local phone company itself -- hardly a "smaller redistributors".

    In short, you're generalizing and have no breadth of experience to back it up.
  • According to the linked story, "They didn't even have the courtesy to wait until the six month period was complete before raising the prices."
  • Maybe ISPs shouldn't advertise 56k service if they know full well that the technology precludes it.

    If you sell me a service as having performance x, and then try to tell me I shouldn't complain when I instead get only 85% of x, you're half-right and half-wrong. I shouldn't be complaining about the technology, just the knowing false advertising.
  • So fraud is okay when everyone else is doing it. Gotcha.
  • I am paying for 56K and I usually connect at 48 or 33.6!

    DISCLAIMER: I work for a national dialup ISP doing technical support.

    Yet another uninformed modem user, I deal with you people all day long.

    You will never get a true 56k connection on analog dialup. I do believe the actual upper limit is around 52k, in which 48k is quite good and definately nothing to complain about, 33.6k can happen during storms, telco outtages, bad phone lines, distance between you and the dialup server on the telephone network, the phase of the moon and the price of tea (or AOL now apparantly) in China.

    If you're getting 33.6k connections consistantly then get your lines checked by your telco and throw away your lucent winmodem and get a real one.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Maybe ISPs shouldn't advertise 56k service if they know full well that the technology precludes it.

    Sure, and the Modem companies shouldn't advertise that the modems are 56k because nobody ever gets that speed, so maybe they'll say 52k, and when no one gets that because line quality varies they'll still complain, not only that, it's only downstream, you only ever get 33.6k top speed upstream, no matter what you connect at, the horror!

    And when you're the only ISP advertising your ISP at a blazing 33.6k you'll have fun explaining to the shareholders why all your customers changed to AOL or MSN who advertise 56k.

    Theoretically you can get 56k connections, if you live right beside the ISPs PoP.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Typically, slow connects are usually a modem or wiring issue, such as interference from RF, quality of wiring, distance from the telco, etc...remember, anything using sound to transmit data, you're opening a pandora's box for problems.

    Try different modem init strings, modem updates, etc.

    Visit 56k=v.Unreliable [808hi.com]. Pretty deceint site for modem troubleshooting.

  • No one is going to produce anything that said 39.95 was for a lifetime and to anyone who actually believed a 6 month contact was forever ? Well sometimes you just have to stop and think before you believe.

    The "lifetime" mentioned was not that of humans, but of some summer moths. That was somewhere in the fine print, I am sure of it.
    --

  • Ooops. Sorry, a couple of the guys in PHX told me you still worked there. SOrry for the misunderstanding. =.)
  • by Demonishi (47024) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @05:52PM (#196429) Homepage
    Here we go, this might get long. I am a former Earthlink/Mindspring employee. Matt still works for Earthlink, as noted on earthlinksucks.net. He's a good guy. One of the greatest techs over in the PHX office.

    But ever since day one, EarthLink has experienced issues. I was there before the DSL department was officially created. I started off as a Dialup Customer Service in the SJE (San Jose, CA) office. Later on, my department was chosen (oh yay, at least I thought in the beginning) to become the first DSL Customer Service location. We were given a crash course in the products and services and how to contact/talk to vendors (At this time, it was still Mindspring so the only vendors were Covad and BellSouth). We got a lot of pissed off customers, believe you me. We still did when I finally left.

    Customers set unreasonable expectations for us, as usual. But later on, the merger happened and everything and I do mean, everything.. went downhill.

    First off, lets go over Earthlink's systems. They use Vantive. Vantive is the most ram hogging note taking database system I have EVER SEEN. You have to start up everything else before starting up vantive, because it's hardcoded into the program to take 80% of the available ram.

    Then there is the inhouse accounting system. If you are a customer, may your account never become corrupted. It has really bad corrupting abilities. I begin to wonder if there's something in a hidden preferences section "Corrupt accounts when you 3 or more changes". If your account becomes corrupt, it can take 3 months or longer to get it fixed. Customer suffers because no one can put a priority on it, we have to let the account team take care of it. It's a hard to read system, espically billing.

    We have access to vendors databases but that's not Earthlinks fault that those databases suck, or how much the telco's suck. One of them can be so inacruate.. very much so, that we see a date set for an appointment and it truely isn't set for that date, but we have no way to verify because 90% of the people who deal with the customers are not allowed to contact that specific vendor, so they are unaware.

    The only thing from Mindspring that was taken into Earthlink was the CV&B's. Everything else was discarded, including what spirit there was with the employee's. After things went downhill, employee's started leaving because the spirit was shot down so badly.

    Later on, a internal memo was posted from someone very high up in the company talking about how the stock was going downhill and the internally happenings and how he felt about them. There was a specific section that pissed off most of the employees. "If you do not have the power to cause changes, I don't want to know you or work with you". That cause a great war within. It took him 3 months to retract that statement, even then, it was only a minor appology.

    Earthlink customers started calling when they heard rumors that they were going to reduce their price to 39.95, started calling and asking if they were able to recieve it. Now it had not been implemented at that point yet. We were told to tell them that "in time everyone will be switched over to 39.95" .. when it was rolled out it was given as a disclaimer of "for new customers only" so those in which we told "yes" we actually had to sit there and tell them "Oh, we lied. teehee! Your loss, our gain!"

    Those are only some of the things that have happened. Covad is going downhill rapidly and is in the hole more than some telcos. There will be no one to pick up the pieces from that one.

    There is more ugliness coming. I have it in good word. I congratulate those employees who stay there. I really do. I couldn't do it. I went completely bonkers after 1 year there.. and that was an extremely eventful year at that.

  • The lifetime promotion expired. Okay, this is like "Unlimited" dial up accounts where the ISP defines "unlimited" as X number of hours a month, right?
  • Bait and Switch is more accurately seen in credit card spam, where they 'offer' a platinum card with great rates but have (in the fine print usually) a clause saying if you aren't fully approved for the platinum card they will instead issue you a normal card. At the time I was receiving these offers in college, I wasn't even old enough to receive the platinum card in the first place (also in the fine print, required the applicant to be 25).

    The computer situation mentioned above isn't bait & switch, per se. It's a simple con. If you actually could buy a good $100 PC upon approval, but will otherwise receive an inferior PC, that'd be bait (the good one) and switch (most people get the crap).

    ~Anguirel (lit. Living Star-Iron)
    "Veni; Vidi; Vi C++"
  • Ya, sympatico is evil, I don't know about you, but my IP address changes every few minutes . I called up tech support, and they told me that's normal, so I asked him how I stream video, because the connection is getting screwed. He said you just click the link! hahahah! So, I asked him.. when the IP changes, it's hanging up on me right? He goes, Yup... I go, wow.. that sucks.. my cable modem never does that to me :)

    He Just kinda.. hummed and hawed.

    DSL sucks. Cable for life.
  • That's not entirely true. I've gotten 56k analog connections before. (Of course, I had control of the hardware on both ends.)

    And I always get 56k connections from my courier -- the analog part is only 6 inches long before it goes into a netopia. It will still link at 56k with 200ft of cord on it, but it drops to 53k after a few minutes.

    If you're outside the USoA, you can certainly get 56k analog connections -- over distances of miles. (All of /. isn't in the US.)
  • Actually, the frame-relay part is to manage traffic flow between the customer and the ISP. And yes, that's the the foundation for the 11th level of hell (currently under construction.)

    If you work for an ISP that sells Covad service (for example), you know first hand how much of a pain this is. Frame is the encapsulation between the CPE and DSLAM [note: the DSLAM doesn't have to be in a "CO".] From the DSLAM, there's a PVC or DLCI that maps that DSL ports traffic back to the ISP. It's an unbeleivable nightmare -- sometimes I'm amazed by how little Covad screws this up.

    (In CopperMountain terminology, this is a "cross connect". I don't know what Nokia calls it.)
  • From the configuration of an actual Covad router (Netopia 3100):

    • ISDN Line Configuration

      Circuit Type... ISDN, Leased
      Data Rate (kbps)... 144 (2B+D)

      Data Link Encapsulation... Frame Relay
      PPP over Frame Relay Enabled: Off
    (The formating is crap as there's no <PRE>.)
  • I have had no problems with Earthlink over the past year or so. I have never had busy signals and have never had to call tech support or customer service. The other good thing is that it works with Linux :-)
  • Don't bother to visit the site if you use Netscape. Somebody doesn't know how to use tables properly.
  • Netcom...

    Netcom's stuff was changed, as far as I understand, because the equipment was outdated at best, and just a total mess.

    As far as a 2 week downtime, that's bad. I wasn't around back then, so I'm not sure.
  • Exactly. The price went up at the end of the contract, to $50/month.

    Personally, I've always paid $50/mo for my DSL. So I'm not complaining.
  • I do believe what he was trying to say is the same as you, which is ELN is raising rates to be able to pay the raised prices to the LEC, who are desperately trying to stay in business.
  • I had signed up for $39.95/month service about 3 months ago. After I read this story, I checked my bill and sure enough they had chaged me $49.95 for this month. I emailed customer service, and got this reply:

    Hello GeorgePBurdell,

    Thank you for contacting Earthlink Customer Service.

    We apologize for the inconvenience.

    According to our information, this was an error in the billing of your account. We have credited back the charges and we are doing everything
    within our power to prevent this from happening again.

    If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.

    Thank you,
    ECS Representative
    EarthLink Customer Service
  • Why the hell did this get modded up?
  • What speed DSL? What kind of DSL? Over your existing phone line or do they also have to pay for an additional loop?

    I pay USD 39/month for 768K down / 384K up ADSL over an existing phone line. I own the equipment (installation was free and equipment was paid for within one year of service).

    I even am able to host web servers, quake servers, whatever, on the service, and not worry aboot the IP changing, even though they use DHCP.
  • OK with mozilla 0.9, tho.

    --
  • From the following, looks like they have to send at least a management droid of some sort: "The Illinois Supreme Court rules provide that a CORPORATION may not appear as a plaintiff without an attorney, but may appear as a defendant through an officer, director, manager or supervisor if the amount claimed does not exceed $1,500. Corporate officers should consult with their lawyers regarding interpretation of this rule."

    --
  • Yup, I had the same problem with two hours charged for simultaneous access - they told me that they had a problem on their side, and refunded me the money. Of course, it took me 3 emails before they even paid attention to me.

    -jerdenn
  • My friend just got an Earthlink connection and, yes it costs $49.95/mo. as it is a new account. However, the "free set-up" was free because they did nothing to set it up. Earthlink did not even provide a NIC card. It is more like "no set-up" than "free set-up".

    BTW it is PPPoE and he is getting 256bps downstream at peak hours and up to 110KB/s during off-peak. Beats dialup, but still a bit pricey.

  • DOH! That would be really pricey, wouldn't it?
  • There has to be a clear, untapped, all-copper path between the CO (central office) and CPE (customer premise equipment). You can't have fiber in there, or any kind of piece that requires analog/digital conversion.

    When he talks about frame relay, he is talking about the transport layer (I think - haven't looked at the OSI stack in over a year), which basically IS frame relay. We're not talking about the physical layer, but the protocol they use to encapsulate what is going over the line, which is of concern to the gear that authenticates (if it does authenticate) and assigns IP addresses (the RedBack, Shasta, or whatever is used).

  • Your second line about use of frame-relay is pure BS. Many CLECs like Covad lease an essentially dry voice pair from the ILEC, but to the best of my knowledge they are not running channelized DS1 signalling and frame-relay encoding on these, they run DSL. Whether leasing a pair from the phone company is cost effective is debatable, but running DSLAMs in a zillion wire centers more than likely isn't.
    In some cases, the ISP has its own gear (RedBack or Shasta or whatever) in its own data center. I know this because I have seen it with my own eyes and dealt with it on occasion when the boxes broke. I also provisioned some circuits once when the engineer in charge was away, and that IS frame relay. As I understand it, DSL is nothing more than frame relay encapsulated by X.25 - in other words, frame relay over HAM radio, but you're using wires instead of antennas. IPv4 is encapsulated within the frame relay segment, but the line card your DSL terminates in doesn't care about IPv4.

    Now, some of our customers are provisioned on the gear in our DC, and some are provisioned on RedBacks run by the telcos. If they are provisioned onto telco gear, then yeah, we just shoot them a DS3 or whatever is appropriate. But at the core, the gentleman's statement that DSL is based on frame relay is absolutely correct.

  • by Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @04:52PM (#196457)
    I Stop Interent [istop.com] doesn't suck.

    Here in Ottawa there are multiple DSL resellers, plus the cable company. IStop has good tech support, let you run servers, and has the best local prices.

    Example? I'm in a highrise condo and am paying $29 Canadian (That's just under $20 US) for 1.2M/128k line. For an extra $12 Canadian ($8 US) I could move up to a 3M/800k line with a static IP.

    Looking for a great DSL provider? Move to Ottawa and get IStop.

    (Biased customer rant ends)

  • the link itself reveals its bias, earthlinksucks. what does earthlink have to say about this?

    Probably a lawsuit or WTO proceeding over "domain squatting," since we poor little consumers might be confused by the name earthlinksucks and think it was actually Earthlink.
    --
    Ooh, moderator points! Five more idjits go to Minus One Hell!
    Delenda est Windoze

  • I can't speak to the rest of it, but PacBell (an SBC subsidiary) is currently offering free self-install for those who agree to a 1 year contract.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • This doesn't surprise me one bit. Remeber back in the old days, when we'd call AT&T "The Death Star"? Well, I suggest that this moniker be passed along to Clam^H^H^H^HEarthlink.

    Here's an abbrivated version of my trials with Earthlink: For years, I was a netcom customer. A very happy customer. Then Netcom was bought by Mindspring, and I was a less happy customer. Then Mindspring was assimilated by Earthlink, and I became a very angry customer. I am now an Earthlink subscriber, not by choice, and I am leaving them just as soon as I can find a good DSL provider in my area. But I digress. Since Earthlink took over, the quality of service has plummeted. I get busy signals when I never did before, I am paying for 56K and I usually connect at 48 or 33.6! When I complain, I'm told that it must be a problem with my modem or my wiring, and when I reply that there was no problem until Earthlink took over, they DON'T REPLY! Recently, Earthlink "phased out" a bunch of Netcom dialups, and changed a bunch of DNS servers, and we Netcom subscribers couldn't login, and I wasn't able to get Email for two weeks. They did this without any advance warning, although they did see fit to send us Emails encouraging us to get our friends to switch to Earthlink.

    Earthlink does suck, and why shouldn't they? They are the 800 pound gorilla of ISPs, and they really have no incentive to improve their service.

  • Actually, that's the reason why many people are going with earthlink.

    Around here, Verizon is the local phone co. and they offer residencial DSL for 39$ per/mo. With Earthlink, you can get a package which includes a static IP for only $10 more. Or, at least, it was just 10$ more... Things may have changed.

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @04:04PM (#196480) Journal
    I'd just like to say that Earthlink has the single best internet service around, bar none. While I can see how people are angry, based on my experiences, I can say that either:

    The contract did not state the price would not change. Customers are mistaken.

    or

    Earthlink made a mistake along the line of command and will quickly fix the problem.

    As I said, I'm just an ex-customer, but I think someone needs to defend earthlink since they are probably the only decent national ISP left.

    ---=-=-=-=-=-=---

  • by tcc (140386) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @02:22PM (#196483) Homepage Journal
    I really am starting to feel that DSL companies are doing everything to lose their users... It's like here in Quebec/Canada, Sympatico, they are REALLY fast at installing your setup and activating your account... but they SUCK terribly when you change address... and I won't mention the ping pong race when you call for anykind of support other than setting your email account ;)

    It's too bad, I don't know a single large DSL provider that doesn't have a web site running against it's suckish service.

    I can understand that an unexpected big growth sometimes screws up the planning, but if it's the case, why are they still advertising on just about EVERY media available to grow their userbase and give such a bad name to a great technology? sheesh..

  • Are we just tilting at everyone, or is there a DSL provider where the general consensus is that it "doesn't suck"?

    Remember, any monkey can set up a -sucks.com domain name. And any large business has problems keeping the left hand aware of what the right hand is doing. That doesn't mean you should necessarily avoid that particular ISP at all costs becuase they're obviously out to screw over their customers as much as possible.
  • DSL may be hit in the USA, but elsewhere ISPs even screw over dialup customers.

    Some 2,000 Irish dialup users of Esat Fusion's "No Limits" ISP service (unmetered evening and off-peak access) get cut off next week for "abusing the spirit of the service" by remaining connected for hours at a time (what was that service called? O yes, "No Limits" :-).

    This has spawned a new campaign, Ireland OffLine [irelandoffline.com], pressing for better connectivity, flat rates, and -- yes -- DSL :-)

    ///Peter

  • I'm not gonna try and defend ELN, but you really need to either get your facts straight, or take a trip to dictionary.com and look up the word retroactive.

    Sheesh, and this post got a +1 from someone?
  • Seeing that most of the comments in this story have been very negative towards Earthlink, could this finally be a chance for small mom and pop ISPs to take over some market share? I'm sure that the service of both Earthlink and AOL would be enough to drive a sizable amount of people away from them...
  • by muldrake (171275) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @04:11PM (#196492) Homepage Journal
    What do you expect from an ISP run by members of the criminally convicted cult of Scientology?

    Just yesterday, the FBI raided Scientologist co-founder of Earthlink Reed E. Slatkin over his role in the biggest Ponzi scam of all time, detailed at the http://slatkinfraud.com [slatkinfraud.com] site.

    Not to mention their vicious actions against free speech on the Internet [freehenson.da.ru].

    That's not to mention the somewhat questionable affidavit of former Scientology agent Robert J. Cipriano [xenu.net]. Now according to Earthlink they stood up for privacy against the FBI. By the rule of thumb that anything a Scientologist says is the complete opposite of the truth, they just did that becuase they prefer to do all the spying themselves.

    From the Cipriano affidavit [uni-wuerzburg.de]:

    37. On or about March 26th 1998, Mr. Moxon and I talked about my re-entering the work force. Mr. Moxon suggested Earthlink Network, Inc., in Pasadena. Earthlink Network is a Church Of Scientology company. Mr. Moxon contacted Mr. Sky Dayton, Chairman of Earthlink, who referred him to Mr. George Williams, Director of Dial-Up Sales. An interview was arranged, and I was hired March 27th 1998, even though they were not hiring at that time. Earthlink created a new sales management position for a girl named Jennifer so they could move her up creating an opening for me in the sales department. On March 28th 1998, I sent an email to Mr. Moxon thanking him for the introduction (See Exhibit 11 & 12).While at Earthlink Network in Pasadena, California, I had access to the Internet Service Provider's internal operations.

    38. I was befriended the first day of my employment at Earthlink by a Mr. Michael Hamra, another sales associate. I quickly started a friendship with Mr. Hamra and spent countless hours talking about various things including how Earthlink started with investments, by Kirstie Alley, Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other wealthy Scientologists, into Sky Dayton's idea of an internet service provider. Mr. Hamra told me how Sky Dayton had a coffee shop before starting Earthlink and that he, because of being a Scientologist and his friendships with celebrity Scientologists, he was able to build a multi-million dollar company that could, "Watch over the entire internet from within the internet."

    39. Additionally, Mr. Hamra told me he was one of the founding group of Scientologist who ran Earthlink out of a Glendale one room office where he made sales calls from a bathroom in the office. Mr. Hamra said, "The Church of Scientology now had a database of information on every subscriber which included names, credit card info., credit reports, telephone info., computer info., who had referred them to Earthlink and who were their previous ISP providers." Mr. Hamra told me about the "other Earthlink building" which was next door on New York Avenue in Pasadena. Mr. Hamra told me that the other building was high security and is where Earthlink and the Church of Scientology did all the monitoring of the internet. Mr. Hamra was always very interested in my testimony in Berry v. Cipriano. It became clear to me that he was reporting what I was saying to other in Scientology.

    40. I received many incoming sales calls while at Earthlink from individuals who would ask, "Are you a bunch of Scientologists?" We were trained to never admit that we were involved with the Church Of Scientology.

  • There are a boatload of 675s on ebay, you might one to pick one up. In my area Qwest is requiring 678s for new installations, they won't let you use your old 675 if you move. So there are quite a few up for grabs now. Maybe I'll get a couple of them and make my own DSL line and get some REAL bandwidth :)


    Enigma
  • funny enough, I have heard that the management of the company has changed substantially since those days. Alot of folks didn't want to follow that system for whatever reason, and there have been power plays in the company to force it to more traditional practices.

    I guess more traditional practices include customer ripoffs.

    I note, for example, this 23 May 2001 Press Release [earthlink.com], where Earthlink announced

    "EARTHLINK NAMES COCA-COLA EXECUTIVE TO HEAD ITS MARKETING EFFORTS
    New executive vice president of marketing brings a wealth of experience to EarthLink"

    The LA Times had this story [latimes.com] about the ouster of one of the founders, under controversial circumstances.

    I figure it is bloody in there.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • by Wavicle (181176) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @06:46PM (#196498)
    What?!

    Fitst of all, DSL requires a copper carrier. Fibre won't do.

    Of course DSL requires a copper pair... That's what DSL is... Do you complain that wireless ethernet is limited because it excludes wires? If you happen to have Fiber to the Curb, DSL isn't the service you go seeking. DSL is a broadband copper pair high speed data solution. When you say "modern developments", are you implying places where the entire housing development is behind a digital loop carrier? There are solutions for that. DLCs aren't something the architects of DSL "just forgot about".

    Second, probably the msot common method of dhoking off bandwidth to DSL customers is by providing them a seperate frame-relay circut, managed by the company providing the ISP portion of the DSL service

    What is this frame relay circuit thing you are talking about? Are you talking about the pvc? I'm pretty well versed with DSL, and I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe you're talking about the connection to the DSLAM? The subscriber management box? You know worst case an ISP must have a single high speed WAN connection to each CO, not each customer (it generally isn't that bad, but no matter). Even cable has a single point where data must be transferred to and carried by some other wide area transport.

    Oh, and a single ATU-C line card handles about 8 ADSL connections.

  • Yeah I was one of those 'acquired' by Earthlink. My latest fight with them? They claim that I was using 23 hours of simultaneous login. Ok but I have one PC with a modem and no one knows my username or password. I sent them an email and the dumbass rep told me that maybe I should consider buying another account if I didn't wanna pay for the extra login time. I got it straightened out via a phone call ( after I asked the rep on their Live chat *what* number I was calling from on the second log in and he had no clue). I'm gonna pay for June but this week I'm getting another ISP. They suck.

  • While non-RBOC DSL companies do have it tough, they are no longer paying out anywhere close to 75% of DSL revenue to lease the loop. This was largely true when the RBOCs would not allow them to add non-RBOC DSL service on a copper pair already providing RBOC telephony service. At that point the Covads of the world had to lease an entire new pair and put just data over it. This was both more expensive and much slower as it required the testing (and sometimes pulling) of a new pair. In the last year the FCC has ruled that RBOCs must allow competitive DSL providers to add DSL service to existing pairs already providing voice service. The regulated tariff (and true incremental cost) for this is much cheaper, less than $10 per month. So at this point the loop lease is much more reasonable. This doesn't mean it's easy to be a competitor to the RBOCs as they appear to make it as difficult as possible to share their facilities, but the 75% problem has gone away. What really should be done is to split the RBOCs up further. Create a regulated facilities company that owns and maintains the physical copper pairs and today's switches. The deregulated RBOC and competitors would provide services over those facilities, and over time the switches would be replaced by deregulated IP services. That way no one who controls the scarce facilities would have any preference for which company provides the service.
  • Understandbly most consumers are going to be upset when prices go up, for any service. Perhaps we are forgetting the nature of the game here. Nothpoint Verizon tried to stay in this game at a reduced rate and did anyone read their customer's comments when they just got the plug pulled? Most of them that got service restored elsewhere were down for at least 2 weeks. This price increase was to maintain a substainable service.

    I don't know how someone could sign a 6 month contract and then feel like they were lied to when either side attempts to renegotiate that contract at the end of 6 months.

    The prices of internet access are going up, advertising revenues are going down, and at this point everyone except the telephone company monopolies are paying out 75% of DSL revenues just to lease the loops.

    No one is going to produce anything that said 39.95 was for a lifetime and to anyone who actually believed a 6 month contact was forever ? Well sometimes you just have to stop and think before you believe.

    R_V_Winkle
  • by R_V_Winkle (186128) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @03:12PM (#196504)
    Before this place becomes overwhelmed by claims that EarthLink is charging this increase retroactively. This price increase will only affect new sign-ups and customers whose original contract has expiried.

    Something nobody has caught here yet as far as I have seen is that there is absolutely no charge for setup or equipment under the new contract. Where for a time there was a 100$ fee for equipment and provisioning under the 39.95$ deal.

    A quick check of the math reveals this is basically the same deal (+/- 20$ a year) for new customers. For existing customers it is unfortunate but as revenues from advertising decrease and prices for bandwidth go up the market reflects those changes and prices reflect the market.

    Not a scam just a sound business model. Besides this isn't exactly fair coverage as the decision to go to 49.95 a month was also made by SBC, Verizon, and others almost simultaneous to EarthLink's decision. Not all of them are offering free set-up at this time either.

    R_V_Winkle
  • They're changing the price after the fact

    People argeed to use earthlink for 6 months in order to get a special price, and then earthlink decided that to change the price

    How you would react if ATT sent you a bill saying that they decided to put the price of their service for the past six months retroactively?

  • You have more respect for the American consumer than the legal system does. I used to work for a Major Chain of Retail Stores, which operated under a consent decree regarding B & S.

    Not only would an outright refusal to sell the item be illegal, but merely speaking badly of it ("Sure, you can buy it, but it's a piece of crap. Let me show you a real computer") or even simply being unenthusiastic would have been over the legal line.

    We were legally obligated to sell the item just as hard as, in fact harder than, anything else. Only if the customer asked about moving up could we do so -- the initiative had to come from the other side, because apparently everybody in the legal system knows that the typical American consumer is a complete idiot, with no defenses against fast-talking salesmen whatsoever, as helpless as a baby harp seal.

    Of course, once the customer did express a doubt, or ask what made the other models different, then we could fix them with our Mesmer stares and have our way with them. :)

  • Yeah, that's where I go to get worms and electrical parts (and doesn't everybody laugh when I get mixed up and run current through a nightcrawler!)
  • by david duncan scott (206421) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @03:15PM (#196514)
    If the situation is as described, this isn't "bait and switch". B & S is advertising one thing (say a $100 PC), and then refusing to sell it, instead talking the customer into something else more profitable.

    What is described here is, if accurate, either breach of contract or simple fraud. These customers weren't sold up the line, but rather down the river.

  • by nick_davison (217681) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @03:40PM (#196517)
    To be fair to Earthlink, I've had almost the exact opposite experience.

    I had a load of problems connecting to them [and everyone else]. Earthlink actually caught this in their logs - before I ever complained to them and took to phoning me up regularly to see if they could help. I've never yet met an ISP who's actually taken such a pro-active role in tech support before and they really impressed me with it.

    It turns out that my problem _was_ with my PC. I was running an external creative modem blaster (teach me to buy external modems so they'll also work wit that linux box I've never got around to using), connected to a Dell, with ME. Eventually I got so frustrated that the modem had "a little accident" and got replaced with an internal. The problems completely cleared.

    The moral of all of this is - if an ISP has technical problems at their end, they'll almost certainly know about it as EVERYONE will be contacting them. In most cases, unless you're hearing every user of the ISP complaining, it's probably either your phone line or with your PC's set up. Considering the ranges of equipment that people use, the cheap phone cables and all the rest of it, it's not suprising there are so many problems - especially with Windows that seems to degrade itself constantly.

    Maybe my experiences with Earthlink are unique - or unique to their Southern California offices - but their saying it's probably at your end is probably perfectly true. It's as frustrating as hell, but doesn't actually mean they're not living up to their end.

  • Plus it's slashdotted and that isn't helping much with my attempts at access.
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @02:48PM (#196529) Homepage
    Maybe a cheque from Reed Slatkin, co-founder of Earthlink, failed to clear?

    He's only in the hole for $600 million in a massive pyramid scam.

    Favourite cult involved, film at 11.
  • by hillct (230132) on Saturday May 26, 2001 @03:59PM (#196530) Homepage Journal
    There definately is something to that; that DSL companies as a whole aren't doing much to try to keep their customers. There are two issues that come to mind here. I'm not sure if either explain the behavior of ISPs that provide DSL service, rather than the Telcos that provide their end of the service.

    DSL is an overly expensive stop-gap technology rolled out to bring broad-band to the masses upon demanr, rather than waiting until a more appropriate technology is produced. DSL relies on two ancient technologies, from a Telco perspective. Fitst of all, DSL requires a copper carrier. Fibre won't do. This is why a lot of modern developments can't utilize DSL service, leaving their residents at the mercy of Cable providers, which represent thr 3rd or 4th most evil set om monopolies out there.

    Second, probably the msot common method of dhoking off bandwidth to DSL customers is by providing them a seperate frame-relay circut, managed by the company providing the ISP portion of the DSL service. This is why DSL isn't truly cost effective. There is the cost of the frame-relay circut and the cost of an upgraded line card (which is what the other end of your phone line is connected to) that allows for the splitting out of the data portion of the DSL service, to be routed through the frame-relay circut.

    To summarize, DSL makes use of two vary old technologies, a non-cost-effective manner.

    DSL companies are probably realizing that their cost of customer aquisition was too high and to make up the difference, they cut down on the post aquisition technical support. From a business standpoint, there is something to be said for this strategy. For the moment most customers have only one of the two broadband options (DSL/Cable) and even at that, the regional market concentration is extremely high. The corporate think might go like this: "We don't need to spend money retaining customers because once we get them hooked on broadband, where else are they going to go?". Since they spend so liberally on customer aquisition, they need to make cuts in other areas in order to keep their business viable. It really is a bad deal all around. Customers aren't the only ones getting screwed here, Telcos are hurting becaause they don't have a more robust and/or cost effective broadband solution, and the ISPs that got into DSL were conned into it by the lure of a vast untapped market, which it turns out isn't nearly as forgiving as that of dialup network service.

    --CTH

    --
  • /(www\.)?[\w\-\.]+sucks\.(com|net|org)/i
  • So, it probably wasn't 100% earthlink's fault, but around here (Pittsburgh) the standard dsl is 640/90 for $39.95 a month. Verizon offers it, and so does everyone else (tho sometimes at $50/month). Earthlink was running a 1500/384 for $40/month deal, and hey, everyone wants more bandwidth. I signed up, and lo and behold, it's 640/90. They offered me a month of free service for my troubles, but the fact is, there's no 1500/384 to be had. Ah well.
  • I have had DSL through BellSouth (e.g. the telephone company) for about 8 months and I am delighted.

    • I pay $49.95, which is the same rate as cable through @home but I don't have to have cable TV (which I don't have) to get DSL.
    • I get 1.5 MBPS down and 200 KBPS up, and have actually seen these rates many times.
    • I have had one outage. I logged onto my dialup backup account, went to bellsouth.net, and saw on the system info page that a DSLAM in my area had gone down. Several hours later service was back up. I didn't have to try to contact bellsouth since their website told me what the problem was.
    • I live in a suburb 40 miles from New Orleans. It was equipped for DSL a year ago, but the cable modems still haven't arrived.
    • Although bellsouth explicitly does *not* support home networking, I have a home network which I set up myself and have had no problem with it.
    • I *like* PPPoE and the new IP address whenever I restart. Some of my cable modem owning friends have been owned by script kiddies. It's not perfect security but it keeps people from pounding my box 24/7.
    While the theoretical max speed of DSL is noticeably lower than cable my speed never decreases. Most of my friends are on lightly loaded cable loops (so far) but some of the gamers have already noticed bandwidth clogs on upload during peak times. As someone else mentioned it's a lot easier to add DSLAMs and bandwidth than it is to split cable loops. I'll stick with the excellent DSL service I've gotten, thanks.
  • "The initial term of this agreement is six (6) months from the date that the Service is first used ("Activation Date") and will continue on a month-to-month basis thereafter." That means they agree to charge you the "initial" monthly fee of $39.95 a month for six months. Before you interpret the "will continue on a monthly basis" part, maybe you should finish reading the agreement, including the clause that states, "EarthLink reserves the right to change the price of the Service at any time after the initial term upon 30 days notice." For those of you that have a hard time with comprehension, this means they may raise the price on the seventh month. After reading the contract several times, I could not find the word "lifetime" in it anywhere. It appears to me someone just wants to complain about paying $10 a month more. Most DSL providers charge much more than $50 a month, Even if you are paying Earthlink $65 for a static IP, it is still less expensive than most other DSL providers out there, except for the telcos that are making their best effort to run the competition out of business, which is why their competitors have to raise prices in the first place. And the posts in this thread that rant about Earthlink not providing DSL in their area amuse me. Earthlink has no control over that. In the city I live in, Earthlink is available wherever DSL is available. Unfortunately DSL is available in about 15% of the Sacramento metro area because PacBell refuses to upgrade. The story is the same in much of the Bay Area. So, before you blame Earthlink, Speakeasy, XO, Omnisoft, or other DSL providers, do some homework and take a good look at the constant roadblocks PacBell, Verizon (the worst of telcos), Qwest, and Ameritech throw in front of their competitors.
  • So I told them...ahh, never mind.

    Seriously, my story is a bit crazy with them. I was a mindspring dial-up customer for nearly two years. I loved their service, and when DSL came out, I was quite excited. So I signed up for it, and on the mailer, it said $39.95 per month, and I could keep my existing email address to boot.

    What I have no found out is that, while they pretend to be one company, Mindspring and Earthlink are two different entities. They maintain seperate customer databases, seperate support (oh, you are a mindspring customer, hold on), etc.

    Anyhow, what it comes down to is this. For the first five months of DSL I paid absolutely nothing. Why? Because I would log on to the DSL account using my Mindspring username and password, like I was told I could. But apparantely their systems didn't recgonize me as a DSL, because their billing does not start until the first time you log in using your DSL username and password.

    Eventually they caught on, and sent me a bill for 19.95 (my dial up) and 49.95 (DSL). I quickly called them, and after about an hour on the phone, I finally asked for the lady's head supervisor. She asked me to hold on, and when she came back, she informed me that I would be credited $60.00 so that I would only pay $39.95 a month for the next 6 months, and I was on my own after that.

    Regardless, we have a provider who I can get a dedicated connection through (784kb up and down) for 69.95 a month, so I will be switching as soon as possible. It is a shame, because Mindspring was awesome, just too bad they had to fall to Earthlink.

  • The deal I was quoted then was that if I was to buy the DSL modem (I forget how much but around $100 I think) I would get an indroductory price of $39.95 for 6 months and then in would go up to $49.95. Otherwise I could sign up for 12 months and the modem would be free but the price would be $49.95. I skipped the 6 month promotion because it actually would have wound up costing me a little more. I'm sure it's likely that some customers were'nt explained how the promotion worked as well as I was or maybe they were and didn't understand the salesman. Of course if they raise the price before the 6 months then Earthlink is wrong for that. I can understand DSL prices being on the rise for ISP's. The phone companies provide crappy service and everyone who wants DSL has to deal with them. I first had DSL with Pacbell and I would experience annoying timeouts every now and them for a couple minutes. With Earthlink I havn't had any problems and I doubt I'll end up on hold for 3 hours if I have a problem like I was with PacBell tech support.

In specifications, Murphy's Law supersedes Ohm's.

Working...