Sometimes we feel sorry for CSRs who have to try to sell you stuff you don’t want or need when you’re contacting them to correct a billing mistake. It’s just so sad. Reader ajlei contacted Earthlink’s chat support to cancel an anti-virus service that wasn’t supposed to be included on her bill, after canceling, the chat support rep kept asking her if she wanted a more expensive version of the service. When she said no, the chat rep asked her again, in bold this time… because asking in bold will make customers want more expensive versions of services they just canceled?
I had a billing issue with Earthlink DSL: they were charging me a $2.95/month fee (pittance, but it’s really the principle of the matter) for something called ‘PCC Pro’ which seems to be some antivirus/spyware etc. program which I never opted for upon signing up.
For what it’s worth, when signing up, as any good Consumerist would, I asked what, if any extra charges, extra packages, extra anything would be cropping up, and I was told ‘none’. However, the page for the PCC Pro says it’s a free 30 day trial, $2.95/month after that, so maybe it’s added automatically upon signing up, but I told the rep when signing up that I didn’t want anything extra (and believe me, he asked if I wanted just about every extra they have to offer).
Anyway, I called about canceling the PCC Pro in June and they said they would remedy the situation. However, my July bill reflected the same issue so I decided to try their live chat to solve the problem. ‘Krystal Z’ seemed capable of helping me with my billing issue. She told me she’d be issuing me a credit for the last two months (more than fair) and just as I was about to close the window, she started to ask about my computer problems:
Krystal Z: Does your computer ever run slowly when you have a couple of programs running?
ajlei: Nope, my computer works fine
Krystal Z: Okay.
Krystal Z: As you might be aware that Security threat is increasing day by day for all the Internet users. So, a security program is advisable to have on your computer. We have a very good service called Norton 360 which has the Anti Virus, Firewall and tools to improve the computer performance and speed up the computer.
Krystal Z: This service will make sure that the computer is free from viruses, spyware, spam, registry errors cookies, etc.
Krystal Z: Norton security provides advanced protection for everything you care about on your PC. All-in-One Security features includes: 1. PC Security & PC Tune-Up 2. Advanced Phishing and Spyware Protection 3. Blocks Hackers and Unknown Threats 4. Online Identity Protection 5. Automated Backup and Restore * If you subscribed to all of these sites individually, you would pay more than $12 per month, but with EarthLink’s Norton 360 Online Bundle, we offer all of these for just $6.95 a month. * We are currently offering a free 30 day trial of this package, which will continue at a low monthly rate of $6.95 with no commitment!
ajlei: Thanks, but I already have virus protection on my computer
Krystal Z: We are currently offering a free 30 day trial of this package, which will continue at a low monthly rate of $6.95 with no commitment! (It should be noted that this second mention of their security package was bolded in the chat, as if to intimidate me into signing up for something more expensive than the similar service that she just un-signed me up for.)
ajlei: No thank you
Krystal Z: Okay. Not a problem.
At this point, I thought she was done. But, she kept going:
Krystal Z: How many computers do you have?
ajlei: um.. why?
Krystal Z: If you have more than one computer in your home, EarthLink’s Home Networking service lets you have all your computers linked to your high speed connection wirelessly, allowing them all to be online at the same time.
ajlei: Yep, I have all of my computers hooked up already.
Krystal Z: Okay.
Krystal Z: Is there anything else I can help you with?
ajlei: That’s all, thanks
Krystal Z: Okay.
Krystal Z: Take Care!
Krystal Z: Bye!
I know everything came out fine in the end (well, I’ll wait til next month’s bill before I swear on it) but it just amused me how after I deactivated the virus protection, she tried to get me to sign up for a more expensive alternative, and then started asking about things unrelated to billing. The wireless question was one I was asked at initial sign-up, at which point I assured the rep that I was fully capable of setting up wireless in my household, no I did not need a wireless router, or wireless cards for my computer, or a tech to come install it.
Earthlink is great price-wise, and my only other option is Comcast, so I’m fine with them, but they might want to take some Give It a Rest 101.
Thanks for listening!