(This one's mostly just for Century Link, unless you like reading about when complicated business and technical systems have little unexpected flies in the ointment.)
Ok, right off, I will admit that I am complicit in this.
But only a little.
So here's the deal. I recently did some cost-savings and canceled DirecTV and our landline (and a few other things) but I retained my CenturyLink DSL. It's been reliable and it was either that or go back to Comcast for just internet service.
Because my landline phone number was my account number, the account number changed when I dropped the landline. I wrote down the new one and then promptly misplaced it. (There's my complicity.)
I'm on paperless billing, so I got the new bill in email. I went to my bank's website and was about to pay the bill and realized it wasn't showing the bill. I went in to look at the setup and it came to mind that the account number had changed.
Back to the email and nope, only a partial account number. Ok, fine, I'll go back to the CenturyLink site since the signin isn't my phone number (brilliant move - at AT&T my account's still under an my old cell phone number for my wife's phone after we canceled mine which is just silly). But sign in to CenturyLink and up pops a warning that the online account is connected to an inactive billing account (the old phone number). You'd think it would be connected to the new one, but no, that's too easy.
So their site advertises 24/7 ability to chat with an account representative. Only it's never ever ever worked. It brings up a window that offers a phone number or an email address. And you call the phone number and it puts you on hold, plays a recording and then says there isn't anyone available and hangs up.
Finally I called Technical Support because it was listed as 24/7. I went through the phone tree, tried to get to billing and then it told me they were closed and it hung up on me again. (It's funny how Technical Support plays a sound effect from Windows 95 when it first connects.)
So, tried again, but this time, pretended there was a problem with my internet. Got a nice guy, possibly in another country, explained my issue to him and he helped me find my account number. He kept trying to get me to say there was something wrong with my internet. I don't think it was because he didn't understand me, I think he was either bored or disappointed he wasn't going to get to do any troubleshooting.
So in the end I was able to get the new billing account number and link it to my existing online account (by sending a secret code to the email address on the new billing account - the same email address on my online account) and get them all connected.
But why wasn't the new billing account just automatically connected to the online account? Seems like a big miss. (I'm not blaming the person who helped me disconnect my phone, this seems like something that should just happen automatically.)
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