thorn of many Mainers' sides for a long time - especially those in rural areas where Fairpoint holds a monopoly on the delivery of phone/internet services. Suffice to say, I think it's time for me to choose a new provider.
My history with the company is long and arduous. I was there at the beginning of their expansion in northern New England as a prior customer of Verizon who sold them the lines. Issues began immediately. I shared the normal complaints with most people: lack of online billing options, poor customer service, etc. I think, in the back of my mind I felt bad for the company. As a small telecommunications business, they took on more than they could handle with a new customer base in northern New England that was nearly six times the size of their prior base. Deep down, I was hoping that being a long term customer might pay off and actually mean something to a desperate company losing customers fast.
My biggest issue arose when I moved to the apartment I live in now. They failed to connect me to the internet. Several times. They would tell me to expect them between 9am and 6pm - as if I had to stay home all day to receive them. They'd come in and "fix" the problem, and then move on leaving me to discover later that they did no such thing. I'd have to reschedule over and over again. The visiting technician would tell me to call their internet support and work through my computer to get it online - internet support would tell me that it was a problem with the connection and that I should have a technician visit me. Neither of the two were even allowed to talk to each other to work out what was wrong.
While not as big an issue, I've recently pulled the last straw. I made a late payment and called customer service to inquire about setting up automatic payments to avoid the same mistake.* I was told months before that I could do it online and at the time I tried for about two weeks to access a site that never worked. This time, the customer service rep told me she'd mail me forms to fill out and mail back in. (What is this, 1990?) Today I received the forms.
Wow. Talk about unprofessional. A hand written envelope. A photocopied 8x11 page with no letterhead other than a smudged and pixelated logo. What a sketchy business. Fairpoint is a multimillion dollar company. I'm more likely to give my financial information to a phishing attempt claiming I can have half the "tressure" from an "African prinse" in exile if only I wire them $50. I called Fairpoint, and they confirm that it's their form. They offered to email me the same thing to make sure I had the right one.
I'm not going to touch this form and I'm not going to touch Fairpoint anymore. I'm taking suggestions from readers on good land line phone service providers in Maine. Please no snarky comments about me not using cellphones. Bonus points for a company that offers automatic bill-pay with online sign-up.
I just called and apparently Oxford Networks doesn't serve my address. I'm fairly certain they have a major office building across the river in Lewiston. How is it that a company that stretches from "Bangor to Boston" can't offer me land line service in Auburn - one of three urban areas in Maine.
*Other than rent, all my other bills are paid automatically and I have to say it was one of the best financial decisions I ever made.