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The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Telocity Wants Its Gateways Back 180

An Anonymous Coward writes: "Well, if you used to be a Telocity customer, perhaps like me you were unfortunate enough to be dropped when Northpoint exited existance, you probably still have a gateway laying around. Well, I hope you didn't start hacking it for a cheap web server or something because it seems Telocity, now DirectTV DSL (which is another story in and of itself I suppose) wants their boxes back..." Our AC describes the experience of cognitive dissonance as applied to ISP customers, and includes a quick word of advice.

"Friday afternoon I arrived home to find a box on my doorstep from Telocity. A little note inside informed me that they want their gateway back and... wait for it... if I failed to return it to them, they would charge me $499, as per their service agreement!

Now, I'm not claiming to be perfect, but I do like to think I would have noticed a clause saying I owe them $500 for anything! I tend to read contracts pretty carefully. Now, the last contact I had with these people was about three months ago. I've since gotten Verizon DSL (which is pretty lousy by the way, but at least it's available and I'm pretty sure not going bankrupt any time soon), I wonder if their mad? Kinda out of the blue to ask for the thing back.

At least they have me a pre-paid shipping package and Airborne was nice enough to come pick up the package this morning.

I called Telocity and had them make a note on my account stating that it was shipped back today and they noted the airbill number. I'm not going to risk them saying they never got it back, you know? I don't usually have a "spare" $500 laying around that I don't mind parting with!

I was getting set to start doing some hacking too, I figure that thing could have made a cheap web server or router or something. Would have been fun figuring out anyway. I'm sure I'm not the first person with that idea, I just hope no one did so because apparently those gateways were never ours to keep. Heads up folks!"

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Telocity Wants Its Gateways Back

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The real Unitron is a 2764 BIOS chip in my first 8088 motherboard that said 'Unitron BIOS' when the machine booted up.

    Better check that 8-level DIP switch to make sure you've told the system the number of floppy drives you've got. And if you have a CGA card or a Hercules (or, gasp, a MDA like I did for a long, long time)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nice MBA 101. Did you learn it at community college? There is no secondary market because: 1) DirectTV is making their own gateway product 2) The gateway is useless without the corresponding DSLAM They just want their stuff back so they can write it off for accounting purposes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Moderation Totals:Flamebait=2, Interesting=1, Total=3. Looks like 2 out of 3 moderators are more interested in silencing criticism of the editors than following the moderator guidelines. Too bad, you lose. Thanks for playing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    First, the AC who submitted this story is none other than Anne Tomlinson. Second, the people making the demands are Rob and Jeff, not Telocity. And third, it involves a Cisco router, not a DSL gateway. The story was obviously a parable folks.
  • it is their stuff, and they want it back.
    now what are you slashbots going to be bitching about? that your right to hack/free spech/etc is being violate?

    PULL-EASE!!

  • Damn right. I did the same thing with the car I leased that I recently returned. I took a sledgehammer and dented the shit out of it and then ripped out all the wiring I could find, slashed all the seats, and cut the tires. Man, that teaches them to lease stuff to me and expect it back.
  • I have a much better story to tell.... At one point last year I got fairly fed up with my service provider, so much so that I contacted Telocity and setup an account with them. They enabled DSL service to my home and shipped me one of their gateway devices. Sound normal? At this point, the story got interesting: I never used the Telocity service. That is, I never connected via their line, never performed that last act that would have really made me a user of their service. In the meantime, I had straightened out my problems with my local provider, so I went back to using their service. Telocity called me, asking about my unused service; I said that I hadn't used it. What did they do? They send me another gateway device. Who am I to argue? A few weeks later I called Telocity and canceled my account. I carefully explained that I had been shipped two of the gateways and asked that they provide me with two RMAs and airbills so that I could ship both of them back. Instead, I was sent one airbill and one RMA. I shipped one getway back; end of story? Not quite. Telocity finallly realized their mistake months later and sent me one of the standard scary letters, explaining that I would owe them the cost of the device and that I had 10 days from the date of the letter to return it - across country. I returned the 2nd gateway, called Telocity on the day they received the returned device to confirm that it was in their possession, and asked about the status of my account. "Oh... we might have billed you... but don't worry, I'll make sure your account is credited if we did." That was late August, 2000. Would you believe that it took until last month for my account to be straightened out? That I spoke directly to Telocity 4 times, pointing out that my account had been canceled without use? In December they sent me a letter explaining that they could not use the credit card # that I had provided; the card had been renewed and the old information I had given them, including expiration date, was no longer valid. In January, I spoke to an agent on the phone: he said he would take care of the problem. In March, I spoke to another agent and explained the whole problem again: he put me on hold, talked to his supervisor, and then explained that he could see my call history and knew that I had cancelled my account (as far as he knew) on August 21st. By that point I was getting bills... yes, actual monthly bills for a service that I never used and had cancelled over 6 months before. I had to speak to another agent in June, once again asking them to credit my account for the amount they thought I owed. Hopefully in a few days or so I won't be getting another letter from Teloocity.
    Is there any wonder they went out of business?
  • You do realize there are some places in the Eastern Time Zone that do not switch for Daylight Savings. Some parts of Indiana for one.
  • Now, I'm not claiming to be perfect, but I do like to think I would have noticed a clause saying I owe them $500 for anything! I tend to read contracts pretty carefully.

    So, you read contracts carefully, but you don't do anything like keep a copy for future reference or anything silly like that? Sorry, but I'm not going to get all up in arms over an evil corporation making requests of you that you "don't really remember" in your contract with them. Send the box back and shut the fuck up.

  • I've been a telocity customer for over half a year now. While my initial install was horrific. Bad wiring in my building combined with an incompetent installer left me calling tech support for a month and a half before they would send someone out to re-check the install. However once a new (competent) installer was sent out I was fixed immediately as he found my problem instantly and spent a lot of time wondering what the other installer was doing. After that my gateway hasn't gone down once and I'm running a few hundred days uptime on the gateway.

    BTW the $500 charge thing is listed pretty clearly a lot of places if you bothered to read any of their documentation.
  • Umm... sorry, but it DOES have to be spelled out, very explicitly, that the box remains theirs.
    It was explicitly spelled out in my agreement. they have every right to ask for it back in that situation. If you were "switched over" from another service, and they sent you a telocity DSL modem (people who are "switched over" might not be), then I imagine they notified you somewhere that it was still theirs.
  • OK, so I'm getting the idea how to start a DSL service - buy some black boxes with flashing LEDs (does Radio Shack still sell those 'Goofy Light' kits?) send them out as DSL modems, wait a month, go broke and wait 6 months till the customers throw the black box away... THEN tell the customers to send the modem back or send $500. That's about $495 profit. I like it!!!
  • yeah freaked the hell out of me since at the time I was using my computer, and all of a sudden smoke is coming out the top of my desk.
  • Speakeasy is almost too good to be true. They provide actual service, installed roughly when promised. They bill me accurately. They have people to answer the phone who, after a longer-than-I-would-like delay, actually know what they are talking about.

    Their failure must be inevitable ;-)

  • Yeah, I agree. What the hell is the matter with these people?

    "Your Rights Online"? Seriously they can't think their rights are being violated. Is there a right to steal?
  • Warning, this may be offtopic. Please don't moderate me down, just ignore this remark; I'm just trying to clarify something for the masses that looks like FUD. I did 60 seconds of research on google and wanted to clear the air.
    You said:

    "I don't know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots." - George Bush

    Hold on a moment, here is the ACTUAL quote:

    "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots," Bush said during an August 27, 1988 press conference, according to an American Atheists spokesman.

    So first off, this is the elder Bush, not the current President, whom many folks would assume the quote is attributed to.

    Secondly, this is an alleged remark made during a press conference 13 years ago that nobody has any recollection of, other than the President of American Atheists. The former President Bush apparently denies it, and nobody can substantiate that the comment was even made.

    I'm no Bush apologist (I voted Libertarian for lack of better options), but the way you present that quote in your sig is bound to incite someone to rail againt George W. Bush for it.

  • I've been off Telocity for 4 months now and still have this thing sitting next to my desk in it's original package. I had to jump though hoops to get them to "cancel" my service since they never did truely contact me about a new provider. I had to send them an email about leaving, I had to then call them back 3 times, I then had to wait and I continue to wait for the airbill. I'm not worried about them charging me $500 becuase the only credit card number I gave them is now closed.
  • Sure this will stop them from charging you, but it won't stop them from reporting you to a credit bureau!!! I'm sure the last thing any of you want is to mess up your credit rating. Having a poor credit rating can affect a lot of things down the road, such as your ability to buy a car, a house, etc. And even if you still qualify for these loans, your interest rates will likely be much, much higher as a result of the lower credit rating.

    Think twice before just canceling your credit card and not dealing with the actual problem.
    ---
  • The information the beureaus put out is so inaccurate that there is little point in bothering.

    While I do agree that the bureaus do often make mistakes with your report, I do not agree that it is not worth "bothering" with. Like it or not, credit reports are used to determine if you should get a loan, get a phone, get a specific service, get an appartment, etc. If you don't bother with keeping your credit report clean, nobody else will.

    And if you really want to stay on top of things, you should request a copy of your credit report on a (semi)-annual basis and check for errors. If you find them, then you should have them fixed right then. Yes it is a PITA, but it is much easier to do it this way than to have to deal with it when you are sitting in front of the loan officer that tells you "sorry, your credit sucks, we can't give you that loan you want."
    ---

  • Rats...I guess that means that I have to give back all my Christmas presents, too...
  • I have AT&T @Home, I had a modem start emitting sparks and their tech. reps were still not sure if my connectivity problems might be modem related.

    A full log of my adventures is at my website at http://www.hockley.net/att [hockley.net].

  • I'm a former ReFlex customer [seattlep-i.com] and I have one of their little boxes, a Tut Systems LR100T [tutsys.com] but it's not really DSL, it's proprietary. I don't really have much use for it, but then again it might be worth something to someone.

    Also, the apartment complexes where they installed the services have (I understand) a pretty setup in a rack somewhere on the property. Anyone know what happened to that?

    There's a nice little thread a FuckedCompany [fuckedcompany.com]
  • I got on Telocity in September 2000, and I received excellent service. I had no problem signing on, I received my modem within 2 weeks of requesting the service, and they gave me a great price with no contract.

    Then, in about March, after having less than 30 minutes downtime from Sept-Feb, they started having routine DNS problems. About twice every week between then and May, I had difficulty connecting. Plus, my maximum transfer rate dropped from ~150kbps to ~110kbps. I called them about this, spent forever waiting, and finally they said they could do nothing about it, that the problem belonged to BellSouth (long distance folks here). That was uncool, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

    Well, I canceled service in early June. It is taking me forever to return my gateway. It took them about 3 weeks to send me my return airbill; I called them before I got it to ask if they were gonna send me one, and they said yes, it would be sent to me within the next couple weeks. Well, it turns out that they had already sent the thing, but they sent it to the wrong address--this happened after I told them 3 times on 3 different occassions where they should send it. Now I've been trying to call them to tell them it's not gonna be sent there on time because I did not receive it at the correct address, but I've spent over 30 minutes on the phone twice and have never talked to anybody. Nevermind that I spent >30 minutes waiting on the phone to tell them I wanted to cancel service, and that they would not prorate my bill for the month of June.

    This is stinky service, to say the least. Has anybody else had these problems or noticed the gradual downfall of service? I would've sworn by Telocity's service the first 4 months, but ever since, they have been nothing but a hassle. Any Telocity/Directtv folks out there that can explain this?

    w|f
  • Yeah, the IRS can get a bit fussy. The cost is amortized over 5? years unless it is sold or scrapped. Abandoned is a bit dubious.
    It would be interesting to get the reaction to an offer of something reasonable, say 2 or 5 dollars, to buy it outright.
  • I had telocity for 6 months in 2000.

    Aside from paying for the gateway shipping cost $25 bucks to ship it to me. They never charged me for service during that whole time. And the service worked fine.

    I moved, I cancelled, got the shipping box to send it back 3 weeks later, and sent their damn gateway back. And I still never got charged. Even now, I'll killed that old credit card that it was on, so they could never charge me. So yeah, I guess I lucked out. ;-)

    And thankfully they don't take any info like Socials ecurity numbers, so they can't tack anything on my credit report.

  • If you look at the structure of a TCP/IP packet, you will see two things that can identify you. Your IP address AND your hardware (MAC) address.

    Rubbish!

    MAC addresses are in things like Ethernet frames. There are no MAC addresses in TCP packets or other IP packets.

    As soon as a packet goes through a router it will not have the MAC address of the original computer attached to it, unless it's using some sort of ethernet-over-IP tunnel or something similar.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is done with cars, in the U.K. there is a huge airfield just filled with second hand cars bought by the car companies. When I say a big airfield, there are literally cars for miles around.
  • There are a couple on Ebay. You can always buy the replacement there [ebay.com].
  • Are Telocity/DirecTVDSL still using the same boxes for existing new customers? If so, they are probably going to send them out to new customers. I've gotten cable boxes that obviously weren't brand new, so what's the difference?

    Besides, there is a clause in the service agreement stating that the box is their equipment and the user will be charged $500 if it is not returned. Again, not any different than what the cable companies do. Why are people getting so mad about this?

  • by ksheff ( 2406 )

    They aren't giving it to you. There is a clause in their terms of service that states that the gateway is theirs and they will charge you $500 if it's not returned when your service is terminated. Unfortunately, hardly anyone reads these agreements. If they did, this wouldn't be a shock.

  • One of the good bits in that service agreement is the HTML comment near the top by (I infer) the chap whose job it was to take the lawyer-generated Word document and turn it into HTML sufficiently terse as not to waste great gobs-o-flash with the wretched HTML conversion Word does. Not that it's terribly clever, but it's amusing to see something of that sort flashed into DSL routers everywhere atop a lengthy wodge of legalese.

    (the same comment was in the service agreement on my telocity modem; I came across it while looking for the proper URL to avoid actually clicking an "I Agree" button)

    Goes thusly:

    <!--
    This document was cleaned by hand, with much tender loving care, by MojoFreem.
    I would like to thank the following, for giving me the courage to clean this dirty HTML,
    wrongfully generated with numerous style "issues" using \/\/0r|) by the Evil Empire.

    * hairless cats
    * midgets
    * Lorne Greene (he rocks!)
    * Everyone named Corky
    * Short Yellow Bus drivers
    * The beings of Omicron Persiai VIII
    * All those fat people on "Sweatin to the oldies"
    * That guy who does that thing in that place
    * People who smell like cabbage
    * Donkeys

    "I'm amazed that you managed to write so legibly on your own butt." - Lisa, Simpsons
    "That's my Smith & Wesson. If you're gonna play with it, be careful, 'cuz it's loaded." - Grandpa, Simpsons
    "Where am I now?" - Professor, Futurama
    "Rectum? Damn near killed em!" - MojoFreem, Telocity
    -->

  • Interesting. I got a 5.25 floppy version of Windows 3.1 on eBay a little while back with Unitron on the box and the front cover of the manual. I guess they were the OEM in this case. Haven't installed it on anything yet so I don't know if it's on the splash screen or not yet. Gotta get around to that.

    If you see unitron without an email address appended as a bidder or seller name on eBay, by the way, that's not me, somebody beat me to it by the time I got interested in auctions. Apparently an abandoned account, no reply to my e-mail.

    In my case it's short for University Electronics.

  • I suspect that most of the ACs are in the continental US which would mean GMT would be 5 or more hours off from the AC's local time and that would probably lead to even more AC whining.
  • There is some down side to being an AC. F'rinstance, you can't go to your preferences page and check which time zone you want used when times get plugged into the mix. So you get the default and they don't have to remember to reset the time on the server twice a year (and put up with a hundred whiney posts if they're a second or two late doing it, though I can't imagine what else they could possibly rather be doing at 1 or 2 am on a Saturday night then messing with the server).
  • places who charged you for the modem/gateway over the course of your first contract period. But it sounds as if they are well within their rights to ask for their equipment back. I've been on 2 cable providers and 2 DSL providers over the last 3 years, and they've all amortized the cost of the equipment into my term contract.
  • I never SIGNED a contract (has anyone ever had to sign a DSL contract?) And what obligation do I have to a company that I had a year contract with which they in turn canceled. If I had ever seen a contract perhaps I would read it and see what it said about their ability to cancel service at will. I am not terribly inclined to adhere to a contract that was canceled.


    Well, I can't even actually remember if I ever got a modem from Telocity, I'd have to look through my DSL modem pile.

  • You never paid for that box, so you don't get to keep it.

    I am a telocity customer and I don't recall ever being confused about the ownership of the gateway. I think the company made it rather clear that the equipment would have to be returned upon termination of service.

    I know this sucks for you guys, but it doesn't take much effort to know the facts. It wasn't even in fine print...

    -k
  • Why were they going to charge me $300 for something that's essentially garbage?

    Because it's worth $300 to them if you *don't* send it back. Ten dollars of packing material and a prepaid label (which they probably don't have to pay for if you don't return it) is a small investment if one out of 10 dosn't bother to return it.
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    If someone just gives something to you, then you own it. Unless some other agreement has been made.
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    Right, but as recent legal procedings have shown, a license you don't have to read (or arn't even aware of) isn't legaly binding.

    Many people were given service without signing anything. Just because the TOS is up there now dosn't mean that it always was (duh)
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    Except they never claimed that they were loaning it to many of the people. They just handed it to them. If no agreement has been spelled out, then the customer most certanly would own the equipment.
  • I think you might be missing the gist of the complaint. How long after the company stops providing the service do you need to wait before you can safely dispose of the doorstop? The poster said he had not had contact for three months. Is that long enough? Six months? Ten years? I think the gist of the objection was the delay involved, not that they wanted the hardware back.
  • Although their Web page is .asp, they specifically allow the customer to use Unix. Kudos!

    To receive the Service, you must also utilize a personal computer meeting the following System Requirements:

    various versions of Windows...
    Mac...
    UNIX

    Workstation running any UNIX operating system TCP/IP connectivity Ethernet port Ethernet software with DHCP capability MS Internet Explorer 4.x/ Netscape Navigator 4.X or later

  • Holy shite man, all you had to say was "they don't want customers reusing their equipment with competitors' services". I knew what you meant after the first paragraph. An MBA must really teach you to bloat up what is otherwise straightforward.
  • My apartment has countless devices in it that are patented, but none of the patent holders have any claim to them.

    Once a patent holder/licensee sells a device protected by patent, they surrender control of that unit to the purchaser.
  • in order to make a few extra bucks on the off chance that you were a geek and tooled with it.
  • As a Telocity (now DirectTV) customer, I have had zero problems with them. The contract makes it perfectly clear that they are providing you with a modem for use with their service without a rental fee (you did have to pay shipping and handling though...strange). I consider the modem a loaner without any monthly fee. And, I expect that I have to give it back if and when I terminate my contract with them.

    When you lease a car, tv or whatever or borrow it from a neighbor, you are expected to return it when allotted time is up. Or, you are expected to pay for it if you want to keep it. Possession is not 9/10s of the law when a contract exists between the parties (oral or written).

  • Well considering they claim that certain features of their DSL modem are patented (or are they patent pending), one can understand why they want their stuff back.

    At the very least, it is proprietary hardware and they have the right to protect that.

    RD
  • Ummmm....first, when you sign up, they tell the terms...in my case, it as $49.95/mo with the first two months at 1/2 price. They also tell you that they will be shipping you the modem and that they will charge you 24.95 for shipping and handling.

    Then, they following it all up with a barrage of e-mails (if you have an e-mail account) or send you written notification (I got both).

    Now, when you get your credit card bill, you have the opportunity to dispute the charges. If you don't, then there is an implied contract as you accept the charge and paid for it.

    As for you them sending you something that you didn't request...that's BS...as you know you need the device to use their service and have already authorized the charges.

    Sorry...you don't own it.
  • I'll stick with just one item in your response rather than getting into an unnecessary flame war.

    It --IS-- possible that the first time I used my browser to view the Online Status of the Gateway it may have made me click an "I AGREE" button. I've been wondering about that, but I don't remember seeing one, and even if I had I normally do at least skim over the sub-section titles. I think I would have remembered something about ownership of the Gateway. But I won't deny them ownership of their precious little Gateway, as long as they keep feeding me this DSL! RAAA!

    Yes...you had to click on a button to accept the terms of their contract when you first started to use the gateway. That's the contract. Question is, how many people actually read those things in their entirety? Probably not many.

    Personally, I've received a fair amount of information from them. It mostly came via e-mail to another account I already possessed. All of my configuration info came via e-mail. Sales info came via mail. But, if you didn't have an e-mail account to send to, I suspect they'd send it to you via snail mail.

    And, like you, I was suprised to find a $24.95 overcharge and called them on it. Why was I suprised...mainly because I forgot about the S&H and wanted to make sure I was getting my 2 months at 1/2 price. Stupid me.

    Anyway, I wish you luck with their service. Like I've said before, my experience has been a relatively good one.

  • If he didn't have a contract, then why in the world would he give them his credit card number in the first place. Generally, you give your payment (cash, credit, whatever) when you agree to the terms of the sale or service.

    Maybe he's interested in some swamp land in Florida or some prime wetlands in the middle of the Sahara desert. Anybody of someone willing to sell it to him him?
  • How about a little dirtball who thinks its okay to sign up for a service, dissect the device, figure out how to hack it, use it for purposes other than agreed to and then whine when they ask for it back. It doesn't need to be a major corporation...now does it?

    And, it is "proprietary" hardware not just their fscking "property". The software/firmware is proprietary to their device and is not in other similar devices on the market. They spent a lot of effort and money to develop the device and they are entitled to protect it and ask for it back when the contract is breached or terminated.
  • I submitted this story to ./ over a week ago with no success, but it did get posted at K5 [kuro5hin.org].

    It seems like the bottom line is that we probably should send the gateways back to Telocity.

    However, I'm thinking that mine doesn't necessarily have to work when I send it back.


    ---
    Interested in the Colorado Lottery?
  • I submitted the K5 article a while back when I received my letter from Telocity.

    I have not sent back MY gateway, but may do so, even though:

    1-I never signed a contract with Telocity (was switched over from Flashcom)
    2-Telocity cancelled my service (due to Northpoint going out of business) after only 58 days of service at my residence.
    3-Telocity has waited for 3-4 months before asking for their equipment back.

    But I'll probably send it back to them anyway...Not worth the hassle or worry of them charging $499.00 to my "account"
    ---
    Interested in the Colorado Lottery?
  • Telocity/Directvdsl has a online click through sign-up agreement, which includes the terms of returning the gateway. Thus a contract is established, like it or not.

    What good is this supposed Click-Through sign-up agreement when people like me were never forced to see it, much less click through it?

    Not that I care too much. I love the service I'm getting from Telocity and as such don't plan to get rid of it anytime soon!

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • If he didn't have a contract, then why in the world would he give them his credit card number in the first place.

    The verbal agreement, simply stated, was that I would give my CC# and get Telocity service.

    As someone else mentioned, yes, I knew I would be recieving the Telocity Gateway. It was never discussed whether or not I would own it. Personally, as I said before, I do not care. It's hooked up to my line on one end and hooked up to my router on the other.

    The DSL is awesome, and for what little verbal exchange was made between me and the sales person on the phone, both obligations have been met.

    They provide me with service, and I pay them $49 per month.

    EXACTING details such as who owns the Gateway were never discussed, though as someone else did mention I WAS told I would be charged $24 for shipping of the Gateway, which I considered more than fair.

    I do also remember being told I would receive something in the mail concerning further details, but alas it's now one month later and nothing of the sort has arrived.

    As long as the service remains good and as long as they don't do something funky (like overcharge me) then I believe I will be more than happy to continue paying them the $49 per month.

    With that in mind, who owns the Gateway doesn't matter. If I ever discontinue service, they can have the bloody thing back. I can't think of any use I would have for it, to be honest.

    I was simply pointing out that the aforementioned "contract", which apparently exists since so many people have claimed to have seen it, should be shown more obviously to the end user.

    Since I've never signed any agreement... I'm pointing out that someone out there who was bold enough might could try to dispute paying the $500 if it came down to it. Who would bother, though?

    It --IS-- possible that the first time I used my browser to view the Online Status of the Gateway it may have made me click an "I AGREE" button. I've been wondering about that, but I don't remember seeing one, and even if I had I normally do at least skim over the sub-section titles. I think I would have remembered something about ownership of the Gateway. But I won't deny them ownership of their precious little Gateway, as long as they keep feeding me this DSL! RAAA!

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • I believe this was the line of thinking when Motorola announced that they'de be burning up the Iridium satellite system by de-orbiting them.

    I don't think so. I believe it was part of the agreement that gave them the orbital space that they de-orbit if they went out of business. That's because there's a huge (and growing) problem of space junk. 66 extra dead birds were not going to be allowed.

    This de-orbiting requirement is common across all civilian satellites. It's just that no one ever came close to abandoning 66 satellites before, so it made the news.
  • all that a contract gives you is a right to sue -- nothing less, nothing more. if you want to face telocity, or directv, or whomever in court over a crappy would-be router you should fight them all the way.

    A contract doesn't give you a right to sue. All you need to sue is enough money to pay the filing fees. A contract would give them grounds for a suit, perhaps.

    Anyway, the situation described is not so black and white - comply or be sued. The situation as described is that of receiving a fraudulent bill. And yes, you can be sued for refusing to pay a fraudulent bill. You can be sued for anything. But there are plenty of intermediate steps before going to court.

    The first thing you should do if you receive a fraudulent bill is contact the billing party. It could be an honest mistake. Even if it's not, when you call up and say "I got this bill, it says X, and X isn't true, I have Y right here and I checked it" you put the ball back in their court. If they can't back up their claim, but they still want to pursue it, they are in the weak position, not you. They are the ones that have to pay the filing fees, and the lawyers fees, and have you served, all before you even need to worry about it again. I've gotten dozens of incorrect bills , and I haven't paid one of them, and guess what? I haven't been sued. Not once.

    Now maybe the bill isn't fraudulent. This pitiful excuse for an article doesn't even give us enough to make an educated guess on that subject really, but the source definately claims it is fraudulent, so let's take him at his word for a moment.

    Do you really think one should pay a fraudulent bill reflexively, without even attempting to challenge it? At this time I'd like to bill you $500 for reading this post. The contract you signed for your internet service said that you would pay this bill. Really it did. Don't dispute the bill, don't doublecheck your contract, just mail me the check like a nice little sheep, k?


    "That old saw about the early bird just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."
  • by Arker ( 91948 )

    Just because you read it on K5 that means it's true? Now, I like K5 and all, but that doesn't follow.

    Anyhow, whether it's true or not, it's a damn shoddy attempt at a slashdot story, which was the point I was making. The editors (at least some of them) are becoming increasingly hard to distinguish from the phirst post weenies.

    The K5 article is here [kuro5hin.org] btw, and provides a hell of a lot more information than Timothy provided here.


    "That old saw about the early bird just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."
  • If the features were pantented then theoretically they should not care, as the details of how to make a similar device should be registered with the USPTO...

  • take the cover off and put something gross in it,


    Treatment, not tyranny. End the drug war and free our American POWs.
  • Actually, when you activate your Telocity Gateway, you have to agree to the terms of service -- there's a click-through screen before you actually sign up for the service, etc., etc.

    How many times do you actually sign for anything these days? When was the last time you bought something on the internet? You just gave them your credit card number, right?

    Also, re-read my original post:

    I've been a Telocity customer for a few years now... I *distinctly* remember the clause about paying for the modem if you don't return it.

    That clause has always been there. It only makes sense: they're loaning you the modem -- you never paid for it. The user is never given any illusion of ownership of the modem. Heck, that's one of the reasons why I chose Telocity -- so I didn't have to pay extra for a modem. What do I need a DSL modem for after I've terminated the service?

  • Go re-read my original post more carefully.

    I've been a Telocity customer for a few years now... I *distinctly* remember the clause about paying for the modem if you don't return it.

    The clause has always been there. Why would a company give you a DSL modem for free and then let you keep it? The fact is that the modem is a loaner.

  • I got automatically switched to Telocity when my previous ISP, PhoenixDSL, was bought out. Since I had IDSL, I didn't get Telocity's fancy gateway, they told me to continue to use my old 3com IDSL box (which I owned). I was with Telocity for 2 weeks when Northpoint died, and Telocity told me there was no other IDSL providor at my location (actually, there was, but none that would sell the service for 49.95/mth). I have since switched to a Rhythmns business idsl line through a different ISP, but kept getting my credit card billed by Telocity (of course, I disputed each charge with my credit card company, so I didn't have to pay them). Also, Telocity keeps contacting me wanting their gateway back (remember, my idsl line didn't get their gateway, so I don't have it to give back to them). I have since canceled the credit card I used with them to keep from getting a supprise charge, and hadn't heard from them for three months now.
  • Telocity/Directvdsl has a online click through sign-up agreement, which includes the terms of returning the gateway. Thus a contract is established, like it or not.

    Second, what purpose does it serve to retain their equipment? Force them to raise rates for remaining customers? Force another DSL isp into bankruptcy?

    I prefer having the option of a decent alternate ISP, whom doesn't impose the requirement of wasteful PPPoE protocol stack, allows servers, and gives out public static IP addresses.

    Right now, I will admit, I am in the last stages of signing up with telocity/directvdsl. Modem will arrive this coming monday. In the past I have set up friends with a Telocity account, and I am glad that steered them away from AT&T/RR. I've been tortured for last 2.5 years, by M1/RR/AT&T cable modem service, (50+ outages lasting over a day, News, DNS, Routing loops, Oversubscribing, RF problems, etc.) plus mostly low brow tech support. (The most recent outage affecting 50,000+ customers, lasted for over a week, starting June 17. The suspected problem, routing loops/misconfigured network, 30 to 40% packet loss during peak hours, 4 to 5% middle(4am) of the night.).

    I am pleased, that their still exists at least ONE decent national DSL provider. Note: The incubant Bell South's DSL service, forced PPPoE usage, no server policies is a non-starter.

    So, think twice before ripping off your ex-ISP. They aren't the only one hurt by your actions, you may be encouraging the remaining broadband ISP's to provide even less service. The grass isn't always greener, on the otherside of the fence.

  • Okay, so Telocity LOANED the modem to you. And now they want it back! WTF is the problem with that?!

    I work for a big ISP and we do this too. When customers RENT equipment from us, they have to give it back if they disconnect. If they BUY it from us, then they can do whatever the fsck they want with it. Customers who disconnect also can buy it, if they want to (most don't).

    Your Rights Online indeed! At least with Napster nobody loses the original when you download copies.

  • I never SIGNED a contract (has anyone ever had to sign a DSL contract?)

    Yes, actually. When I signed up for my DSL back in early 2000, the ISP (a third-party ISP using Southwestern Bell for the link) faxed me a contract, and had me sign it and fax it back. So as of a few months ago, the old but functional Alcatel 1000 should be completely mine. And I even have a tested working spare that I got a couple of months ago for $50 from a thrift store. (there was a bit of paperwork in the box indicating it was used by a customer of another third-party ISP that uses SWB)

    As for piles of modems, some people last year did get sent modems two to five times by SWB, and sometimes SWB forgot they sent one of the extras and never asked for it back...

  • Read the contract. You should save these things, you know. Did you have the $500 clause? And did they violate the contract when they failed to provide you with service any more? What does the contract say about termination by them?

    I love these corporate shell games. I had an ISP go under after prepaying for a year of service, losing about half of that. Someone else bought the domain, customer list, data, etc. and allowed us the privalege of paying for the same service over again, at an even higher rate! KEEEEEEEEWWWWL! All the benefits and none of the liabilities of the old co.

    IANAL, and all that....

  • Please explain to me why "needed" is not in your opinion synonymous with "necessary". If I need something, it is needed by me, and if it is a skill which anyone needs in real life then it is "a needed skill in real life." Is it wrong to say I need a skill? Why don't you object to the idiom "real life" instead, since what is real is not life (there is, after all, no "false life") but rather the "use" (since there is a false use, being that use which is theoretical and contrary to how methodology is applied actually.)
    ~
  • OK, so it's true huh? Well in that case, this AC really should have pursued the issue regarding the contract clause. It certainly would have made a better story.

    the AC mentions that he now has Verizon DSL. FYI: the gateway Verizon provides becomes the property of the customer, (per my contract, anyway). My contract was signed almost two years ago so new contracts may be different.

    --CTH

    --
  • Did they pay you to store their equipment after canceling your service? If they had asked for the box back within a week of canceling the service, that would be a very different matter. How long should you have been expected to store and protect it for them? A week? A month? A year? A decade? Do you think that commercial storage space is free?

    And what is your time worth? After they reneged on their obligation to provide you with DSL service, did they pay you for your time and inconvenience of finding another provider, staying home from work during the install, distributing your new e-mail address to your contacts, etc.? I don't know about you, but a $500 box hardly would be compensation to me for that headache.

  • So it's their customer's duty to provide safe, free storage for however long it takes Telocity to decide that they want the gateways back? If you will store my sh*t for as long as I want for free, paying me if you can't return it, I'll be over with the first load in a few hours!

    Any reasonable person would assume that Telocity had abandoned the hardware when they canceled service and did not require/request return of the box in a timely manner. Some of these people have stored the box longer than they had service!

  • You are a childish little fuck, aren't you? Pretty stupid, too. Why don't you just go back to playing your Nintendo and having mom drive you to soccer practice?
  • Telstra hasn't shut down (hehe), however they recently added a 3Gb limit to their 'Freedom' (a.k.a. "unlimited") plans. /. has done some articles.

    My friend Louis deserves the credit for this link to A UTS student's personal page [uts.edu.au] where he liberates the hardware that they may want back someday. *smile*

    There's more of a revenge angle here, as opposed to utilising it as a web server.
  • Same here - I just called them, asked for service, they showed up, dropped the modem on my desk and left. Case closed. No contract, nothing. So I wonder who REALLY owns the modem :)

    Try this on for DSL strangeness. I have SDSL - works great has for years (I got DSL EARLY) Anyway, last week, my uploads pretty much dropped to 1bps - constant timeouts, etc. Anyway, my ISP was gonna get me a new modem but hasn't come out yet. WEll we have this hellacious thunderstorm come through this morning, lightening hit right near by shaking the entire house - DSLWAN light starts blinking (no connection) and poof, it comes back online a minute or two later - I run a DSLReports test - works fine!

    Now before all you wiseasses say "You should have power cycled your modem!" Been there done that MANY times over last week. Guess a good surge now and then can straighten things out! Talk about flakey!

  • Sure this will stop them from charging you, but it won't stop them from reporting you to a credit bureau!!! I'm sure the last thing any of you want is to mess up your credit rating

    The information the beureaus put out is so inaccurate that there is little point in bothering. You have a 1 in ten chance of having you credit rating screwed through no fault of your own.

    I find it amazing how many 'guberment is evil' types let Equifax run their lives.

    A much better solution is to never give a credit card number for a recurring account. I had to cancel my Citibank card after Bell South Wireless Data (now Cingular) billed $350 in fraudulent charges.

  • It is strange how some people seem to take the side of the company regardless of the circumstances or the law. I seriously doubt that telocity can enforce a claim for $500 in a court. Depending on the circumstances the following arguments may be relevant:
    • The gateway is almost certainly not worth $500
    • The company does not appear to have given actual notice or even constructive notice of the return requirement
    • The company unilaterally terminated the service contract
    • The company waited to long to request the return of the gateway
    The other somewhat odd argument concerns billing of credit cards. If the company does attempt to bill for the gateways the chances are that there will be a large number of complaints, each of which costs the merchant approx $50 and if the number of complaints rises above about 3% is likely to lead to the termination of the merchant agreement.

    I don't see any reason to keep the gateway, but if it had already been lost, thrown out, turned into a linux box etc. I would certainly not be planning to pay $500 as a result.

    Best plan of attack is to send a registered letter to the CEO of Telocity at his home address (from the SEC documents) setting out the circumstances. Don't forget to mention that you will bring suit against him personally should the company trouble you again.

  • That's because the circumstances of the law defend the company. Ever hear of an AUP or TOS?

    More opinionated nonsense that is wrong:

    Neither is my cable box, but the company that is renting it to me says it is. They are the only ones who matter.

    No bubba, we live in a society of laws and those bind Telocity and for that matter the cable company. The courts are the ones that matter, not your cable company!

    Under the terms of service Telocity demanded a $99 up front fee. My bet is that anyone who had their service terminated peremptorily could probably get away with hanging onto their gateway until Telocity returned the $99 startup fee and the balance of any pre-paid use fees.

    Looking over the alleged contract I note that it has a whole rack of clauses that are likely to invalidate it in several jurisdictions. It also lacks a severability clause. Like corporate lawyer school 101.

    The contract does not contain any language that permits Telocity to terminate service. Thus Telocity are themselves in breach of the contract.

    The point about notice still stands. It does not appear to me that Telocity achieved constructive notice or actual notice of the alleged terms of service.

    People have rights, if more corporate lawyers understood that simple fact perhaps they would not draft ridiculous contracts and maybe juries would not return equally ridiculous damages awards in return given the chance.

  • "It's not like that is a needed skill in real life"
    This is incorrect grammar. It should read, "It's not like that is a necessary skill in real life..."
  • The box is their property: they loaned it to you for you to use while you had a contract with them. Now that the contract has been terminated they have a right to get it back. I don't think that this has to be spelled out explicitly in the contract

    Umm... sorry, but it DOES have to be spelled out, very explicitly, that the box remains theirs. Many services come with free goodies/hardware/whatever, and the consumer does not by default have to assume that everything sent to them belongs to the service provider. That's kinda what the contract is for in the first place - to itemize who owns what.

  • I hear that. I was a Telocity customer (worst mistake of my life). When I terminated, they tried to charge me a $300 disconnect fee. Took me about 4 months to finally get that cleared off my credit card.

    Then, just as I got the disconnect fee taken care of, out comes a $500 modem fee. They never asked for the modem back, no letter, nothing. This was now 4 months after I canceled.

    It took some work, but I managed to find the modem and send it back. However, they claimed to have not received it, go figure. Finally, after yet another month, I was able to talk to someone on the phone who had a clue. I told him that they had in fact received it, I told him who signed for it when it arrived. He apologized and refunded me an extra $50 for my troubles.

    So for about 5 months of fighting their bs charges, I eventually got $50. I would have rather just not had to fight...
  • My DSL equipment belongs to me, even though I didn't pay a cent for it: the contract with my provider gave me a discount equal to the purchase price for signing up for a year.
  • But if you actually own the device, you can use it and modify it. So, basically, you have a limited license to the patented invention.
  • Well, if there is no express or implied purchase contract for the box, you don't own it. So, it would seem sensible for them to be able to get it back eventually.
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Sunday July 08, 2001 @09:49AM (#100565) Journal
    does it have a patent. I find it VERY HARD to accept that a solid state electronic device IS OK, when snoking....If this was my device I'd drop it in a metal box and let it run 7*24 until if vaporized, then I'd sue the hell out of them for supplying a faulty device. On the other hand maybe is it a GWB special, and it burns crude oil or diesel to save on electricity :)
  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @06:41AM (#100566)
    They should be able to provide it, showing your signature on the contract.

  • by iconnor ( 131903 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @07:08AM (#100567)
    This is quite common. If someone leaves a piece of "valuable" property at your place under your care. You are obliged to take reasonable care of it. You should be able to charge rent for the sq ft it occupies in your apartment. In some cases, you might be safe to guard it and insure it. You might even consider adding on some dog food and insurance costs to the storage bill.
  • by ctpater ( 235176 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @06:38AM (#100568)
    I started using Telocity in about August of 2000. And at that time they did have a clause in the agreement saying that upon termination of service by the customer within a year of opening the service, the customer is obliged to return the box or pay $500.

    Also, it wasn't clear from the post whether Telocity wants ALL their gateways back, regardless of whether you are a current customer of now DirectTV, or whether you've since switched to some other ISP. Which, upon reading the heading initially, sent me into a panick. But then I realized that it only applied to people who are no longer subscribed. So, a clarification for the anwary may be in order. Max

  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @02:52PM (#100569) Homepage Journal
    You are an ignorant fuckwad -- but then, that's why you posted as Anonymous Coward at 0 and my non-anonymous post was modded up to 5. Moron.

    It's not the user's responsibility to spend his time, money, and phone bill trying to track down where to send a DSL gateway that was left at his house after Telocity yanked his service! Maybe your time is valueless, but other people's time is not. If I had signed up for DSL through Telocity and they yanked it, keeping their friggin' gateway would not even come close to paying for my time and aggravation to find another broadband provider.

    And just because you are too much of a dumb-fuck to be able to find a use for a gateway (which you ignorantly refer to as a "modem"), does not mean that everyone is.

    Now, pretend you're a man and post with your name rather than Anonymous Coward.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @07:10AM (#100570) Homepage
    The box is their property: they loaned it to you for you to use while you had a contract with them. Now that the contract has been terminated they have a right to get it back. I don't think that this has to be spelled out explicitly in the contract.

    However, it seems to me that you have grounds to sue them in your local small claims court for breach of contract. You can seize the box as compensation.
  • by cluening ( 6626 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @07:02AM (#100571) Homepage
    Attack of the poorly written writeups!

    "...Telobity customer..."
    "...Telovity, now DirectTV DSL..."
    "...from Telocity."
    Which is it?

    And one of my favorites,
    "...I wonder if their mad?"
    No, not theirs, but mine. My mad. My mad at people who can't write/proofread!

    (Sorry, I sometimes hit my quota of bad writeups I can read on /. without going ballistic. Go ahead, moderate me down so nobody has to learn to write correctly. It's not like that is a needed skill in real life...)
  • by awb131 ( 159522 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @07:00AM (#100572)
    Oh, that's nothing.

    I called Telocity in February 2000 about getting DSL to my apartment. Signed up, gave them a credit card number, they were supposed to get back to me in a few days about a service appointment.

    I called them back several times and each time they were unsure as to why I hadn't been contacted. Nobody came by, no gateway unit sent, not a peep out of them. In late May I called them and told them to forget it.

    In August, I received this same letter, demanding the immediate return of the gateway unit I had never received! I called them up, waited about an hour on hold, explained the situation -- I am not and never have been a Telocity customer, you never even called me back, etc. I never sent them anything and they never charged me.

    I considered sending them a consulting bill for the 3-4 hours I wasted on the phone throughout the ordeal.

    I came to the conclusion that apart from leaving a bunch of people without their DSL service, Telocity and Rhythms are bad companies that deserved to tank or get bought out. But they're still better than Ameritech. I'm now a Speakeasy.net customer, and dealing with them has been a joy so far.

  • Just curious. My cable provider upgraded it's adapters several times in the first year of service threatening huge charges if the old hardware wasn't returned. When I went to the office to turn it in and asked what was happening to my old adapter they said "Oh, it will be destroyed."

    Why were they going to charge me $300 for something that's essentially garbage?
  • by CodeMonky ( 10675 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @06:55AM (#100574) Homepage
    When I cancelled they told me they would be sending me a box to return the gateway, no problem. A month passed, I called to ask where the box to ship it back was since I didn't want to be charged for this piece of crap modem. THey said well you just cancelled and it take 6 to 8 weeks to get the box out to you. So I was like no big deal. Well its been three months still no box. But I've been holding on to the modem in the event they send me a box and try and get $300 out of me or something.

    On a side note, the first modem I had from them started to billow smoke at one point, I called them up and told them it had started to smoke and that they needed to send me a new one. To which the woman replied "Was it just a few puffs of smoke or was it continuous, because sometimes the modems will let off a few puffs of smoke and they are still ok." Sorry, but my equipement smoking shouldn't be 'normal'. From then on I never left there modem on when I left to go to work out of fear of it burning down my house.
  • by LL ( 20038 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @07:34AM (#100575)
    Some posters have asked why companies would want to have their boxes back. My suspicion is that like all good potential monopolists, they want to destroy the secondary market. To help explain the economics, bear with me as I go through some MBAthink.

    Basically the real value of any capital good is the price that the *next* buyer is willing to pay, ie the resale value. It doesn't matter if the house you bought at auction cost you $1M if the next person (given a free choice) is only willing to pay $500K. This disconnect between (sunk) cost and (future) value has been the downfall of many speculators (cough*dot con shares*cough).

    Now for a good/service/title to accurately priced, there must be enough instances around so that potential future buyers can evaluate their utility and alternative factors of consumption. Thus for something like land, it could be zoned for residential, business, recreation, mixed, etc and different people would value each according to their needs. The secondary commercial leasing market allows much more flexilibility than just risking a big lump sum on a potentially unsuitable structure.

    Another reason the secondary market arises when primary purchasors want liquidity, ie they find that they wish to redeploy capital (e.g. second mortgage for startup business). So even if you bought that house but can't make much use of it due to excessing work hours, you can lease it out. The biggest example is the share market which was originally a mechanism for the investment banks / underwriters to offload risk of being caught with an investment that was going downhill (after of course getting the best profits for themselves due to insider information, etc). Secondary markets are important in the sense that if they are large enough, they actually give very good price signals (cf efficient market hypothesis, random walks, etc).

    Now how does this apply to the consumer services model? Basically the problem (from the business point of view) of computers (hardware) is that they can be used for anything and everything (software). Unfortunately the issue with any new technology is convincing users that they have a need for that junk ... err ... status symbol (cough*Palm*cough). Thus to convince people to adopt (google bridging the chasm), they tend to create loss leaders or subsidised on-ramps (cf bundled plans for mobile phones) to convince the potential users that the price is really affordable. Now as any hacker with half a clue realises, any electronic device with an unsecure interface (cough*cuecat*cough), can be refactored into something more practical and thus useful. So the combination of refactorable loss-leaders and a savvy user population tends to create parasitic markets where you cannabalise sales from one segment into a lower-margin one. Hence the desire to eliminate competition for themselves by offering closed devices, dumbing the user base (by hiding stuff or increasing complexity), as well as the standard retail devices of deliberately having a short shelf-life and guaranteed obsolescence.

    Now the incentives for destroying the secondary market is that people don't have a chance to properly value/price the alternative uses and that liquidity is removed increasing barriers to competitors, allowing the corporation to get away with a higher priced primary market (and the all important profits, options and return to shareholders). This can be seen most clearly in things like the technical textbook market where the Doctrine of First Sale means that publishers prefer coming out with new editions (and incompatibilities ... err erata) rather than allowing students to resell their textbooks to other hardup students. IBM was the classic case of a monopolist that deliberately leased their gear to prevent a secondary market (google Amdahl/IBM marketing practices). If you read any standard MBA handbook, you realise the mind-boggling sales tactics at work which is naturally anthema to any self-respecting engineer who wants to look under the hood before buying ... alas engineers are not a majority of the sheeple population.

    Now applying this impromptu MBA lesson shows that from a business point of view, it is easier to sell future goods/services if you can eliminate the infrastructure for any competitors (the so-called deep entry moat). Hence convincing the customer that *the firm* owns the gear (despite using the retail system) and thus can exercise control over recall (naturally at their convenience). Obviously with electronic stuff this is a problem because people think of it as a manufactured *good* (aka appliance) rather than on-going *service* (maintenance). Hence the serious pricing problems since when you outright buy a good, you usually do so if the price (present value) is less than the value of all the future services you expect out of it. This disconnect is going to cause a lot of sustainability problems in the long-term as the accounting rules for capital items and software don't really reflect the real cost of services (software stability, interoperability quality, service level), just like inefficient market for medical pricing results in invisibile costs such as long waiting lists.

    At least with open source you know exactly what you are getting up-front, the right that your contribution will be reflected and amplified in future iterations and refinements of the software. This is not the case with commercial providers that vary the terms of usage at their whim (see the Sexual Practices of Licenses at http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=01/06/21/18102 58&cid=66).

    LL
  • by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @08:18AM (#100576) Homepage
    First, I must say that I AM a Telocity customer. I have been using Telocity for just over a month now as DSL just became available in my area.

    I called Telocity one week before the date that Bell-South claimed to have DSL ready, and by either luck (for me) or quick the quick action of Telocity, they had my DSL Gateway to me the very day DSL was supposed to be available. I plugged it in, turned it on, connected it to my router, and wham. It just worked.

    It was a very pleasant experience, my connection is pretty quick and I have absolutely NO COMPLAINTS about the DSL service at all (knock on wood).

    But it's been over one month since I signed up and you know what? I haven't signed anything!

    I haven't so much as received a letter from them, much less signed anything. I've signed no such "terms of agreement."

    A friend of mine asked "So, do you get to keep this thing if you drop their service?" So I specifically dug around for some terms on the Telocity web-site (note: one month ago the Telocity web-site WAS Telocity, and just in recent weeks changed to DirectTV DSL). I found no such statements. The fact is when I called to get the service, it was never expressed to me, neither verbally nor in writing, that when I cease to be a Telocity customer that they will get their Gateway back.

    Does that mean I didn't suspect they would want it back? Nah, I figured they probably would. It probably wouldn't do me a lot of good anyway, since if I switch DSL providers they'll likely provide me with one. Besides, I already have a couple of pretty good routers.

    The point is though, if someone really wanted to fight the $500 charge, I see sufficient cause for them to do so. The fact is quite clear. Those terms were never expressed to the customer, and some customers have never signed any single document.

    Just one last thing -- When I called to get DSL service, it took less than 5 minutes on the phone and I gave my Credit Card Number to be billed monthly. The conversation was short and simple and mostly involved me giving my street address, phone number, CC#, and listening to the sales person try to convince me to go for the $59 package instead of the $49.


    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • by nehril ( 115874 ) on Sunday July 08, 2001 @06:51AM (#100577)
    Reports from the field indicate that companies who rent you expensive equipment want it back at the end of the contract. Evil middle managers are even daring to send you a postage paid BOX to ship it back in, requiring no EFFORT on the customer's part to fulfill the CONTRACT. The devils!!

    It is your right and DESTINY to keep rented equipment after the contract, and convert it into whatever you want (taco would convert his into a "sweet little mp3 server", like he does everything else). Fight the power!! Write your congressman! Donate to the EFF!!!

  • For those of you who haven't bothered to check, sending the Telocity gateway back when the service is over is right in their service agreement:

    http://www.directvdsl.com/products/agreement.asp [directvdsl.com]

    If you say you couldn't find it on their web site, then you must not have been looking hard; I found it in under 30 seconds.

    I've been a Telocity customer for a few years now, and I've been mostly pleased with their service. I *distinctly* remember the clause about paying for the modem if you don't return it. Read your contracts more clearly. There have been a few blips now and then, but all in all:

    - they support linux (I got a RedHat engineer on the phone from tech support when I had problems DHCPing to my Telocity Gateway)
    - they allow NAT (doesn't cost extra)
    - they allow you to run servers (sshd, etc.)
    - in some places (like Louisville, KY), you get a fixed IP

    How can you argue with that?
  • If Telocity had asked for the gateways back at the time that they unilaterally stopped service, that would be one thing. But to leave this hardware in customer hands all this time would lead most customers to believe that Telocity did not want the gateways back.

    If I had been a Telocity customer, I would demand that Telocity pay storage fees on the hardware that they abandoned at my home for the last few months. The contract you signed may have said you would return it, but it didn't say that you would store and protect it for free for weeks or months after they cut off your service.

If computers take over (which seems to be their natural tendency), it will serve us right. -- Alistair Cooke

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