Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wild Blue Internet: Buyer beware

I’m posting this because I’m hoping it will come up in a google search that will be found by someone who’s looking into acquiring internet access through Wild Blue Internet Company. It should, with the name of the company in the title post. So, for those regular readers of this blog, I apologize for bringing all this up again. I just need to say it once more.
I’m a new WB customer, and have had the service for one month. Prior to this, I had dial-up and I think I was one of the last holdouts. Does anyone use dial-up anymore? It took about two weeks to finally get my internet running up to speed, after the installer was out here four separate times. I thought he worked for and represented Wild Blue, but he works for himself.
The dish is pointed well and we are receiving a perfect signal most of the time.
I called the company this past Monday, after the internet connection had been particularly slow for a couple of days, only to discover that I had been put on something they called “Time Out”. This is a 30-day punishment for those who go over their allotted threshold of downloads and uploads. I have the Valu Pak and wasn’t aware of a threshold, even though I read page after page of their contract. It was in a separate tab at the bottom of their main page that was so small, I didn’t even know it was there. It's under the Fair Trade Policy. The highest amount of information I can download is 7,500 mbps. The most I can upload is 2,300 mbps.
The company states that they’ll send customers an e-mail when they are getting close to their limit. I received nothing, and when I told one of the customer service reps this, they told me that “everyone says that” and they assured me they had sent it. I assured them that I had yet to receive it. Regardless, I think the consequences for going over a limit are a bit harsh, especially when I‘m a new customer who isn‘t very happy with them to begin with, and I hadn‘t been warned about the impending overage. But they have no incentive to keep their customers happy.
The Time Out gives you a connection, but it’s just so slow that, during peak hours (which is when I am home), it’s only good for checking mail and sometimes, we’re not even able to do that. The bad thing is that this lasts for 30 days. And if you go over the threshold again within that 30 day period, it begins again. On that day.
I am still being billed for the full amount, even though my service is almost non-existent. If I want out of the contract, I have to buy out, like it’s a cell phone contract. Ridiculous. I’ve heard two costs of buying out: one is $32 per month and the other is $50. This information came from two different people with whom I've spoken. Every time I’ve called, the technicians were working on some part of their computer system, or their phones were cutting off losing calls. It was something different every day. If you call, get the number of the person you’re talking to before you do anything else. And rest assured, you’ll be calling them back. This happened every single time I’ve called them.
I know that this blog doesn’t get tons of comments, but according to my stat counter, plenty of people are downloading the page on a daily basis. So I know it’s being read. And if this will warn just a few people, I’ll feel better.
I choose to live in the country and I’m not planning on moving just to have decent internet access. And Wild Blue and HughesNet are about the only game in town around here. Don’t tell me to get a phone access card through Sprint or Verizon. My Verizon cell usually works in the house, but I lose a lot of calls, too. So I’m pretty sure the internet connection would be the same way.
So what I’m saying is that if you have stumbled onto this blog because you googled Wild Blue Internet and found this, just beware. Sometimes I feel like I must have eaten a big bowl of stupid for breakfast because I didn’t research this company enough. I thought I had, but oh, well.
To all my friends in the blogging world, I'd love to visit your beautiful sites, but I can't just now. I try when I'm on breaks at work, but until I get out from under this rock, I'll see you when I can. And I will continue to take pictures and post when I am able and I will be content with all that I do have.

~ Country Girl


Andi (RrlScrapGal) said...

Got any lawyer friends?

Sue the a**oles then have the court transcripts posted on the web...aka Chronicles of vs Wild Blue...
what a scene.

Jeannelle said...

Wow. What a bum deal. Is there any chance you could report this company to your state attorney general's office, or the Better Business Bureau? The "time out" thing sounds almost underhanded.....the way they still charge you for miniscule service!!? Can that be legal?

Yes, its very good that you are posting a warning to others about it! My admiration grows for our little rural phone company......somehow, they manage to provide their customers with dependable internet service.

I hope your situation will soon improve!!

Anonymous said...

It is honestly the most absurd thing I have ever heard. So when Time out is over, you are going to be right back where you started with the download/upload business and you can't get out of the contract so can you increase your package to the better one? Because if you have to buy out and then get other service it will be the same.

Do you have a news station in town who calls out bad business'?

Dispute the charge with your credit card company?

And email management the link to your blog story.

Anonymous said...

This just ticks me off!

Report to the local tv news or a newspaper.

Call the Better Business Bureau.

Report it here:
At that link Wild Blue has 8 complaints and they are just like yours!!

OMGosh you should see the complaints listed there! I'm so ticked for you... :(((

Shimmy Mom said...

Good for you! This post was a brilliant idea. Stick it to the man by warning others!! I agree with christine, there are plenty of other places to complain to as well and I think you should to as many as possible.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Good idea calling the local consumer reporter on the television station.

"Time out" is a ridiculous concept by a ridiculous company.

Robin at Bumblebee

RiverPoet said...

Aye aye aye. That is called "throttling," but I've never heard of a company that puts you on a time out. I know that a lot of them will choke back your speeds, and they do it because they are trying to keep people from running server-based businesses under personal-sized accounts. But what your company is doing? Ridiculous!!!

I agree on reporting it to the BBB, the FTC, and any local news stations you can interest in the story.

Peace - D

Mental P Mama said...

This is one of the most outrageous things I have heard in a while. They really need to be outed, and in a big way. Surely this is illegal.

Mamaw 28 said...

I live out in the country as well, Ben Wheeler, TX. When I first moved here I did lots of looking for internet access. Nobody was out here but Wild Blue & Hughes but I found that neither could do what I needed (VPN & Voice over IP. I work from home and I needed both. We met some people that told us about a little company that did internet over microwave relay. It works great! I don't know if you have any companies in your area that do this but it might be worth looking into. Here is the url for our local company.
I know it won't work where you are but it would give you something to look into.

Country Girl said...

An update to this story is that I've filed a ripoff report (see Christine's comment) and I plan on filing with the BBB.
Mary Ellen's plight was interesting and I contacted her texascellnet company, who returned my e-mail immediately. They said that they didn't know of any service providers in my area, but the manager certainly may. He will be in on Monday.
I googled microwave relay service providers in my area but no luck. We do have something called Bay Broadband, but a friend I work with has that and he's disgusted with the service. They've also been rude and unhelpful.
The Time Out is a throttle, momma. I'm on such a low connection that I can't do anything more than check my mail. But today, for some strange reason, I can get on to my blog and to the ripoff site.

Thanks everyone for your help. Even if I did 'buy out' of this contract, it would cost me over $700 to do so. And that is unconscionable, as far as I'm concerned. I will have to upgrade and keep the service and hope to hell we never go over again.

Leslie: said...

Once when my daughter was still living with me, I went "over" because of her dowloading all sorts of music and staying up all hours of the night doing whatever. But they didn't put me on "time out" (that is SO stupid it reminds me of punishing a child!) but they charged me extra for the overage. Of course I made my daughter pay it.

dlyn said...

Maybe you could use your dialup service while this gets straightened out? That is faster, right? If it were me, I would keep pushing them until you get some kind of satisfaction - you would think they would just let you upgrade to the next biggest plan without all this drama. Idiots!

Egghead said...

These kinds of companies should be put out of business. I agree with the others that you should send a letter of complaint to the company with the link to this post and also the BBB rip off link. Perhaps they will get the message.

Anonymous said...

Not to downplay your fustration, but here is a detailed explanation of the Access policy.

I understand your frustration, but satellite service is not meant for transferring large files. It looks like you get about 2gb of data with your plan which should be more than enough for typical browsing.

It is definitely a horrible thing that you aren't getting the emails, though.

Country Girl said...

Dear satellite internet person,
I am finally able to access my e-mail, often during peak usage times. Maybe my browsing isn't typical. Maybe I would like to do what others do, which is to download a song or two and visit as many blogs as I want. But to put a choke-hold on a consumer for 30 days is unconscionable and should not be permitted to happen. It's why I reported this company to as well as to the Better Business Bureau. And it's not only for this reason. Their customer service department is deplorable. The people you have answering the phone should be able to speak in a complete sentence and have graduated at least from the 8th grade.

Thanks for your concern. I already have the policy, but thank you for posting here for people to see.

~ C.G.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to reiterate, I never meant to downplay your rightful complaints. It just sounded like you didn't fully understand why they had did what they did. The satellite signals they use can only carry a finite amount of data. It makes sense that they would need to limit a users data to keep service levels stable for everyone in the satellites' beam area.

brneyedgal967 said...

All I have to say is that's HORSE SHIT. Yeah, you "satellite internet" commenter.... HORSE SHIT.

If you were truly concerned about a customer's concerns, you wouldn't hold them to a freakin' contract when they are not happy with the service. The only reason people who provide shitty service have a contract like that is exactly for that reason... or else customers would leave after 30 days. This is the only way you guys can make money.

Businesses with practices like this should be sued - and if sued enough, they'd change their tactics.


Tammy Maroon

April said...

I agree. A contract is a way for companies to guarantee the safety of their bottom line. Thank CG. I was actually considering wild blue. For the record, don't try AT&T air cards either. All I got with them was crappy service and lots of run-around.