McLeod USA's vaguely threatening customer retention

2005-10-25 12:15

So, we have a T1, through a local company called McLeod USA. We got involved with them many years ago, when they were related in some way to a smaller local competitor, and when Qwest was at their worst.

So, our contract’s up November 1st. I call in and tell them to disconnect the circuit, which I’ve just replaced.

Several days later, I get a call from their customer retention department. I miss the call. I call back. The person who called is unavailable. No one but her can possibly do anything at all. She calls back, again. I miss her. I call her back. She explains she is going to fax out circuit disconnection paperwork. It may take, she says, up to 30-45 business days to disconnect the circuit.

Yes, they intend to continue billing me for 6-9 full weeks after two days after three days after I asked them to shut the circuit down. I told them I thought I’d write about this, and she very snottily informed me that she would let their legal department know I was planning to publish something about them.

Now, can that be anything but a threat?

Lemme tell you the full story. Originally we were going to get a fractional T1, split 50/50 between an 8-line upstream feed and an 8 line modem bank. We were assured we could downgrade to 8 lines if we didn’t need all of this. The sales rep who pitched this to us then left the company. Two or three months later, after he’d tried to sell us service at his new company, they’d finally admitted that they could provide no such service; we could have modem lines, but there was no way to split part of the circuit off. So we said “fine, scale back to 8 lines”. No, the minimum is 12. (Edited to add: Actually, I think it’s worse than this; I think we didn’t even get the service successfully enabled at first, because we were waiting on their call back to tell us when they could turn the line up.)

After months of wrangling, we got them to retroactively reduce the service to 12 lines, but the net result was that we had to have a separate full T1 anyway, and the dialup service was way too expensive. We ended up paying $500/month for those lines, instead of $450/month for the phone lines and our upstream feed.

So, when the contract period came up, we called in. I actually delayed until I was sure of the new system, because with Qwest, disconnection is delayed at most 30 days. Not 30 business days, which is a slimy way to tack another 10 days onto the period, just 30 days. Generally less; Qwest is surprisingly close to ethical in this regard.

So, McLeod is one of those companies where, if they’re gonna lose your business anyway, they’re happy to piss you off to try to get away with additional billing. And make threatening noises if you say you’ll talk about it.

Peter Seebach



  1. I hate McLeod too, they outsource, but just so you know they dont just tack on 10 extra days. They have to go through the main companies, like Qwest, SBC, Ameritech and they dont do anything for resellers (McLeod) on weekends, so it has to be in business days. Bottom line: Mcleod sucks and its best to get phone services directly through the source rather than a little wannabe company. Their managment, (former) CEO Chris Davis and Paul Bunting are shady characters.

    — Fuck Mcleod · 2007-08-01 03:00 · #