Another Poor Example

The lengths companies will go to in order to mislead is baffling. My local phone company, Cincinnati Bell by name, is the latest culprit. Two years ago they heavily promoted a program to lock in your current rate for life. I thought this was an unusual offer, but I signed up. I was assured the only way my rate would change would be if I changed any of my current services in any way. I was advised that this guarantee did not apply to taxes or federal fees, but all else was covered.

I recently received a mail piece saying the monthly rate was going up $20. When I called to question them, my response from a supervisor in residential services was that the price lock only applied to part of my telephone services. In this case, the internet portion was not covered and was increasing. It apparently had been on a promotion price when I locked it in, and the promotion was expiring. Seems that little detail was not explained or has since changed. In fact, I was assured that all my services, internet included, would indeed be locked in when I signed up for it. Hmm.

Now you are going to love this. If I decide to discontinue the internet or take a new promotion rate, that will be a change in my original services, so the price lock will be voided on everything. Here’s the rub. According to the company, internet was never part of the original agreement. (I suppose if it was, it would be locked in, right?) Yet, if I change my internet plan (which is apparently not part of the original deal), that will still nullify the entire agreement, including all my other services. No one at the company is able to explain this conundrum to me.

Of course, I am not going to small claims court or do anything overly dramatic. However, I will not not just shrug my shoulders and take it, Although my immediate decision is not yet made, I will clerly let others know about how Cincinnati Bell chose to, in my mind, blatantly misrepresent or back away from this offer . Given their catch-22 conditions, there could never be a price for life guarantee, but that is precisely the way they portrayed and marketed it.

I suppose if I call it fraud, they might accuse me of libel. So I will just add them to the list of poorly-led companies, who apparently do not believe in standing behind their word or the value they offer. Instead they resort to illusion to persuade customers to buy from them. May not be the complicated algorithms which the financial institutions used to package bad mortgages, but the “let’s pull the wool over the customers’ eyes” message is all too familiar. I hope they are proud of themselves, because I cannot imagine anyone else is!

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