The Mystery Of the 8-Hour RCN Hold Time

Last Friday we posted that a customer in D.C. was on hold with RCN’s tech support for over 7 hours. (And no, she didn’t sit next to the phone that entire time—she periodically checked in to see whether she’d been disconnected, but always heard the same hold music and message.) We received several comments—one from the Senior Director of Operations at RCN—saying that her call had likely been dropped from the system. But Meredith says someone finally did answer her call. Here’s her story and the RCN Director’s version.

Meredith writes:

An end! 8 hours, 07 minutes, 40 seconds. I heard a female voice click onto the line (had it on high volume, but not on speaker) and before I could stumble across the room to reach it, they hung up. Photo of the screen attached. (I damaged the screen on my phone–the number listed is RCN’s tech line, 1-866-832-4726)

As a sidenote, this was sent to me as part of the customer bill of rights by the DC Office of Cable Television:

5. Consumers have the right to speak with a customer service representative by telephone within a reasonable amount of time or in person and receive courteous, professional and knowledgeable assistance from such representative.

Compare that with what Jason at RCN had to say yesterday:

I’m the Sr. Director of Operations here at RCN. I can assure you by no means would this be intentional. I had the engineers check the call queue and at this time we don’t even have any calls in queue. Most likely what happened was (although) very unfortunate was this customers call caused some sort of technical glitch and the call was lost in limbo on the support tree. I whole heartedly apologize for the inconveniance but assure you this was not by design but rather a technical glitch if indeed this is a valid claim. I hope to reach this customer and based on her call originating number we can certainly track down where the call ended up. Should you need to reach me, we are always tracking the pulse of the RCN forum at DSL Reports.

But your best bet is to hang up and call back as I’m sure you will get an answer.

We want to believe Jason’s account, but we’re curious about that female voice that Meredith heard before her call was disconnected. Since she didn’t disconnect the call herself, it seems likely that either:

1. RCN disconnected the call
2. Her phone company disconnected the call

We don’t know what would prompt a carrier to break into a call and disconnect it, but if the call was truly lost on the RCN side of things, then Meredith should have never heard a live voice or been disconnected by RCN. So what happened here? Theories?