After having his heart stomped upon by the likes of AT&T, Consumerist reader Daniel really had high hopes for his relationship with Frontier Communications. So when he began having service issues, specifically the modem repeatedly being knocked offline, he decided to write what he describes as “as an alternative to the usual droll, boring, whiny, ranting, cranky, miserable, name-calling, livid, inane customer communications” and resulted in an epic “Dear Maggie” letter to Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter.
The entire letter, with all of its heart-rending, woe-is-me, tongue-in-cheek prose, is at the bottom of this post.
We generally advise against such lengthy e-mails (and Daniel probably could have cut a couple of hundred words from his epistle), but the message did seem to get through to Ms. Wilderotter, who replied directly to Daniel, copying a couple of other Frontier employees. This allowed Daniel to reply with the less flowery specifics of his case and maybe save the relationship.
“Got a call this morning from the person in charge of my state,” he tells Consumerist. “This afternoon, I had a lead tech out here to get a resolution. The problems seem to be solved, and Executive E-mail Carpet Bombs really do work. Especially the creative ones.”
Without further ado, here is the letter in full:
We’ve been close for some time. A move on short notice to lovely Indiana put me and my consulting business in your territory. So, as a child of the ’80s, I did what anyone of my generation would do. I called the local telephone company and arranged for phone and internet services.
You know I’ve always loved you for your internet. That’s the reason we’re together, after all. I don’t really need a landline, but it does make life easier.
My installation date came and went, your call center reps and your tech both were pleasant and knowledgeable. Your call center reps were even based in America! Yet another reason that I love you so, Dear Maggie.
Your computers, however, apparently do not understand distance. Your call center rep assured me that I would be able to get the highest available speed of DSL without any problem, based on my address. On this basis, I chose a package. A rather reasonably priced package, for the phone and internet which it contained.
When the tech arrived, he did some work, and made some calls. It turns out that, based on my location, I’m not eligible for the faster speeds. In fact, the tech wasn’t even necessary. You sent your emissary to me to profess your love for me, but his presence wasn’t required. I had dial tone, I had standard DSL, we were at a turning point in our relationship where I went ecstatic to content with you.
I understand that factors other than distance affect various types of DSL differently. One bad connection made ten years ago can keep an entire neighborhood at dial-up speeds, or make their modems blink evermore. This I know. I’ve loved others like you, and I know your type and the problems that come with. I accepted the lower speeds.
Then, Dear Maggie, then I got my first bill. On my first bill was an installation charge. I was prepared to pay a month’s service, plus a prorated month, plus a fifty dollar installation charge that had been disclosed to me (never mind that your emissary’s presence wasn’t required, and you could as easily have sent me a self-install kit love letter, we didn’t know that at the time and we believed that a personal profession of your adoration from a tech was the best way to move our relationship forward, because he could do things for me on your loving behalf that a letter could not.) I was not prepared for the extra hundred dollars charged for the visit to personally send your love.
I called your secretary (a woman, who admitted to being locally here in Indiana when she answered the phone, which made my heart glad with joy), and while she could not connect our call to allow us to whisper sweet nothings, she was kind enough to remove the portion of the installation fee charged for the visit of your messenger. One does not expect to pay for flowers when they are received, one expects the bouquet will have been settled up in advance. One certainly does not expect to receive a bill for those flowers a month later.
Your secretary resolved my concerns about the bill, and again my heart was light. Maggie, my darling, in you I had faith and trust. Being with you wasn’t at all like the time I spent with Randall Stephenson, nor David Hauser, nor Paul Sunu, nor Peter Nixon. With them, I knew I was being used, my love was unrequited. With them, I knew that it could only last a short time. With you, Maggie, I felt we could have the relationship my great-grandparents had, with one number for life and one TelCo for life. My contracting work has made me travel, to be sure, but I’m settled now and I thought that I could settle down with you here in lovely western Indiana. Perhaps I misjudged your intentions, Dear Maggie.
It seems that you tried to buy my love, with a three hundred dollar Apple gift card. Several calls I made upon your representatives, to ensure that I was fulfilling your terms to receive this payment in return for my undying loyalty to you, Dear Peggy (I hope you take no affront to a pet name, ’tis derived from the same Margaret and ’tis something not many others call you). Then, after I had committed to marry you, Peggy, the very thing with which you tried to buy my love was whisked from under me. No one mentioned I personally had to be “qualified” to receive this token. Were it an engagement ring, Maggie, I would own the Apple gift card free and clear – precedent has shown that. But alas, ’twas not to be. I was not acceptable to commit to, in your mind, and so I was not entitled to the token of your affection which should have been mine. That engagement gift card would have been quite a blessing, but I understand that there are people who take relationships less seriously than I, and you, innocent Maggie, must be wary of them and screen them out. I was screened out of receiving a token of your affection along with the riff-raff, and I accepted that. Your service to me, and your commitment to me, was enough.
Until today, Darling Peggy. A few days ago, I called your secretary to make a payment in return for your commitment. When I made that payment, I was told I could have better service from you, faster internet, and that a visit from your emissary would cost me naught. I jumped, nay, I threw myself upon that offer. Yes! Yes! Yes! But of course I accept your affections and your service, Dear Maggie!
Alas, again it was not to be. Your emissary arrived with the two hour window in which I expected him. (When courting, of course you can’t come yourself with a message, you must send a strong man who can convey your message and keep you safe. This is understood.) He completed the job, and lo, faster internet was upon me!
Not two hours after he left, by my sundial, I was greeted by a blinking DSL light of death. Neither modem swaps nor phone calls to your secretary could solve it. One of your staff was kind enough to close out the work order for me, and make work the service you promised me, but “work” is such a generous word. For ten to twenty minutes at a time, you give me the connectivity you promised me. For the next ten to twenty minutes at a time, I find that the engagement modem which your emissary provided me shows the Constant Blinking DSL Light Of Death. Can your staff solve it, Dear Peggy? But of course not. No one can solve it.
You, My Maggie, have left me with a business to run and no way to log in to my clients’ systems. You, My Maggie, have left me with lost billable time. Courting women like you costs money, this I know, but courting you should not require losing billable hours.
This, My Maggie, is why I am leaving you for another who is willing to commit. My new love has service level agreements promising a two hour resolution. You, My Maggie, could not even return my phone calls in two hours, or have someone do it on your behalf. My new love has guaranteed speeds, where you have speed of “up to” a certain amount. In that vein, My Maggie, you promised me a bosom of “up to” a certain size and then turned upon me when it was not what I had been led to believe. You, My Maggie, have provided service unto me which simply does not work, and which works even less after your emissary attempted to improve it. You, My Maggie, bill me for phantom installs and expect that I should pay more for the pleasure of being with you than for the pleasure of a common street internet provider.
I’m leaving you, My Maggie. I’m leaving you for guaranteed speeds. I’m leaving you for guaranteed tech arrivals and guaranteed fixes. I’m leaving you for a classier lover – business class, from my local cable company.
Dearest Maggie, I thought we had an understanding. I was wary of you when you began to woo me, but onwards I trod in the hopes of permanence. You have let me down, Dearest Maggie, and I cannot live with that. We agreed upon the terms of our courtship, and they were simple. For consideration paid which we shall not discuss, you would provide services which we shall not discuss in a public forum. You offered even more consideration, should I commit to you for two years – two short years, longer than the average American marrage – and you then denied me the consideration when I committed to you.
I gave you all I had, and promised to stay with you. Why, My Maggie, why have you forsaken me?