What I Learned from Reading Nearly 500 Complaints to the FCC, What We Can Do

“Consumer has a disabled son at home. He needs his service to get information to and from the teachers for his son. Consumer called proactively to let them know he wouldn’t be able to pay on the 17th until he got his stimulus check from the government. Due to COVID-19 he is unemployed and is so frustrated with the service from Boost. Consumer needs his service to be restored as he needs the service for his disabled son.”-FCC complaint

Americans are hurting.  And Broadband companies are hurting them.  I read nearly 500 complaints to the FCC around folks getting internet or phone cut off, despite a promise by the largest providers to “Keep America Connected” and not shut off internet of cell phones during the pandemic.

 I will share complaints below, but one message was brutally clear.  We can’t trust Broadband providers to provide access, and we can’t offload the responsibility to get access onto every individual family.  We need a system that guarantees Internet for All, and a government that enforces it.

Please sign and share our petition to the FCC demanding no strings attached internet for every family that needs it, we have 27,000 signatures and want to reach 100,000.

“Your Call is Important” Now Go on Hold for Hours

Have you ever called customer service for a cable company?  Now imagine, you have some weird issue.  You had a debt but you went bankrupt and they discharged it, but it still shows up.  Someone you don’t know took out service in your name years ago at a place you never lived.  You made arrangements to pay when your social security check came in, but they cut you off and want a bunch new charges. 

Or imagine, you are just a family struggling right now and you need some tender mercy from an internet provider.  You are a broke mother/father/grandmother/other, who has lost their job, are struggling with food, wonders how to pay rent, may have had COVID yourself, and your child needs internet for school.  Imagine being home during COVID without internet or phone or cable.

But a customer service representative hangs up on you, gives you the runaround, puts you on hold, gives you bad information, says they will call back, or berates you. 

It’s a pandemic and you just want your child to go to school, or to be able to talk to your doctor, or the outside world.  One caller had spent 13 hours with customer service.  I am sure others have spent more.

The digital schoolhouse’s door is blocked by cable providers and we need them to do better.  So please join us in pushing for Free, no strings attached internet for every family that needs it.  That is the least we owe them.

You can see all the complaints filed during the first few weeks of the pandemic in this Daily Dot article.  We should have a world where no family needs to write to the FCC to get their kid to school.

Ticket: # 3943608 – Suddenlink Availability Complaint Date: 4/23/2020 3:09:45 PM Company Complaining About: Sudden Link _____________________________________________________________________________ Description Why are these companies shutting people internet off. They told me they weren’t and then turned around and did it anyway. . They have got to be held accountable. Sincerely, Everyone

3898447 – Phone and Internet Availability Complaint Date: 3/25/2020 11:12:31 AM Company Complaining About: Tracfone _____________________________________________________________________________ Description I am contacting you because my phone company and my Internet company are both on the list they signed to keep americans connected, and they both said they are shutting me off!!!! Isn’t that against the pledge?? I literally can’t work or leave my house because of my medical issues and my husband is getting one to two days a week and has been!!!! What do I do??? My kids will fail school and I will be unable to keep in touch with my doctors!!!! Please any help, any at all!!!!!

3900931 – Frontier Availability Complaint Date: 3/26/2020 3:03:55 PM Company Complaining About: Frontier Communications _____________________________________________________________________________ Description I , Account On march 25, @1:40 pm. Paid $170.61 my frontier bill that had been passed due at the time only for $121.40. Bill date 1/06/2019. I wasn’t able to pay the said $121.40 so my service was turned off.. I received a bill that included a month My service wasn’t even on yet I paid this bill. Like others I was told we couldn’t work due to the corona virus spread. I have my grand kid whom is in the 5th grade here and he needed to have access to the Internet. At the time of paying my bill I was told my service would be restored in 24hours. I still called to see the time it would be restored, I was then told that my service was disconnected and I had to get a new account the agent then took my personal information and gave me a order . And that my service would be restored and if I couldn’t use the modem I already had I would receive a phone call with a date for them to come out. March 26 @8:41am I called again and was given the run around when I just spent all the money I had for food for my grandson to have Internet schooling.I was told a entirely different story by agent who information under location for Lafayette In 844-320-4445 ex1121078, stating that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t told was I was told I owe them and I had to pay again for a new account. Which wasn’t fair. He then stated why I had to pay a deposit and everybody has issues. When he was given my order number He left the call for whatever reason, and returned saying he would call me back after this issue was figured out. after I was told already I should be fine. I have accepted to call them several times.. 11:47am. 12:36pm. I was put in hold and told the very same thing again that this agent would call me back. Its now2:20pm. Please help me with this issue. I received and pay my account because I needed to do what was best for my grandson .

Ticket: # 3903984 – Straighttalk terminating phone services during global pandemic with predjuice Date: 3/28/2020 11:02:18 PM City/State/Zip: Aiken, South Carolina 29805 Company Complaining About: Straight Talk _____________________________________________________________________________ Description After 2 years of faithful service Straighttalk has turned their backs on their consumers. After 9 calls and speaking to different csr it ended me nowhere. I told the company due to the coronavirus pandemic my job has permanently closed down, I live alone and was sick with phenomena I needed an extension until unemployment became available. I basically begged for help yet I was told that I needed to apply for government assistance. Shame on You! Over 500 cell phone companies are participating in program Keeping America Connected a pledge specifically designed by the FCC for the Coronavirus pandemic. Your parent company Tracfone has signed the pledge and is a prepaid company among others who are keeping customers service connected why are you so cold blooded to ignore the fact millions of your customers are suffering without a way to contact their families, handle business, and ect. How could you be so greedy to turn your back on us yet you lie on an automated recording saying your doing everything you can to help during this time of crisis instead your doing the opposite. I understand you really don’t care about your consumers or their well-being and I plan to petition and make sure the favor is returned. I know this crisis has effected your business, and since you have chosen to leave your consumers high and dry, hopefully when congress starts to apply business loans and lifelines you will be left out and disqualified with others who are shamefully terminating peoples phone services. We as a country should not have to pay to bail your business out of trouble when the 1st opportunity you stuck the knife deep in our backs. Make this right please. Don’t be so evil, greedy, and self serving by going back and restoring all the customers service you have terminated since this country was placed in a state of emergency. Do what is ethical, humane, and just plain right

_____________________________________________________________________________ Ticket: # 3907337 – Verizon Availability Complaint Date: 3/31/2020 2:43:43 PM Company Complaining About: Verizon _____________________________________________________________________________ Description Are you sure Verizon is part of “Keep America connected” I read a public statement that any service suspensions have been cancelled for the duration. They turned my service off the other night after working hours when my account is current. But yet again they said I was behind which shouldn’t matter anyway right? I had to pay again that night so they could access school. There’s more but also when I was preparing for the worst I shut all automatic payments off and changes my passwords in case we need every cent. The day it’s announcements go out? I got ahold of some who wouldn’t give me there name. I said my kids have school and my account is paid in fact I’ve been paying for a package I shouldn’t be on and you changed my home phone number without telling me or my Authorization so you all owe me money actually. and I just read that you weren’t doing this any way. I was told I was called about it being scheduled ladt week I asked Home phone or cell? They got rude and said your home VERIZON number that we provided. I sent a screenshot of my account and I said well you see that number you gave me WAS my home number until you changed it out of the blue and never told me. So no! I didn’t AND even if I was behind it shouldn’t have been turned off unless the fcc lies. I was told to pay or wait. I paid so my kids could log on w there friends because to them that is there world and what matters. There world is already so different. I am now overdrawn and they will not refund me even I sending in my banking proof. I still have an ongoing dispute over 438.00 from MARCH 2019. I wonder how many people couldn’t pay to have it turned on how many kids were absent from HOMESCHOOL absent From home school during a lock down. They still have yet to refund me. I sent 14 emails to different email addresses only one did not come back no longer in use. They ask us to please be patient and understanding while they are understaffed. How about don’t turn off service after bussiness hours if you are under staffed the same day you promise publicity not to. It being turned off after hours shows intent. Cowards. I had 3 muti billion dollar mega corperations pull back handed greedy crap on me. That how they make money is millions of people get screwed over a bill of the last couple hundred dollars and they get away with it by transferring you over and over and shuffling you around until you give up or now they know most ppl have other things that they end up stressed and would rather not deal with them to. I’m fed up with ppl there parents that are no joke trying to figure out how to feed their kids because the majority of those kids food for they day is free breakfast and lunch. That is gone. So were they the other families that had to tell s kids that hasn’t been eating now you can’t log in to class with your friends or watch your favorite show that maybe helps you forget your anxiety for a little. Or the parents haven’t been eating so their kids can. Major corporations that should be offering relief is instead acting as though nothing applies to them because they are untouchable. I’m so sick of human beings using crisis to get away with taking from the ppl they should be helping. I have insomnia and nowhere to be. I’m going to be such a pain in the ass for them. They don’t expect a fight like this over a couple hundred bucks guess what that’s groceries. I need this handled. I already called. The local news because WPXI stephen Crooper’s kids play soccer for school with mine. And he got me a telephone interview. He said several local families not including our school district were cut. I mean Jesus at least refund me. I sent my proof of payment in but this has happened before and I’m still fighting that.

What do you think?

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