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January 14, 2005 09:13 AM

Broken: GTC customer service

Mark Frauenfelder sends an e-mail to telecom company GTC and it bounces... from the customer service address. Read his story.


If I had a delinquent account because of a failed credit card transaction, I probably wouldn't limit my communications to an email address that never yields a response. I'm also kinda confused about why the FCC needs to be involved.

If I may be so bold, he did explicitly say he's been sending emails to "service@gtctelecom". If he's leaving off the ".com", then it might explain why he's not getting a response. And if by some chance GTC is truly inept and their email system is screwed up beyond repair, I'm guessing they have a phone number since they are, after all, a telecom company.

Posted by: Manni at January 14, 2005 12:36 PM

"As a valued GTC Telecom customer, we are concerned about your current unpaid balance."

They can't even speak English properly -- unless they really do mean to say that they themselves are a valued GTC Telecom customer.

Posted by: at January 14, 2005 01:59 PM

Professional companies have done a lot worse.

And I'm not saying that this particular post isn't broken, it certainly is when you're given a customer service email address that doesn't work. I'm just saying the guy could have looked into alternatives.

Posted by: Manni at January 14, 2005 02:48 PM

Manni, if you had read the story properly, you would have noticed that Mark tried phoning before he tried emailing. If he had left the ".com" off the address, he would probably have got a delivery failure notification from the first mail server that tried to process the message.

As for the sentence quoted by the anonymous poster, I hadn't noticed the poor grammar, but I did think it was not a good sign that they were saying that they valued his custom to the extent of being concerned at not being able to collect his money.

Posted by: David at January 15, 2005 07:17 AM

I had overlooked the part where he was put on hold, but it doesn't change the fact that he called one telephone number that he is repeatedly disconnected from, and he writes to one email address from which he never gets a response. Look them up in the phone book, go to their website for alternate communication methods, and then DROP THEM as soon as possible for their awful business practices. I still don't see where the FCC fits in.

The company is most certainly broken, but it still sounds to me like this guy said "Well I tried a couple things and I've done my part". This kinda stuff can ruin a person's credit report, whether it's their own fault or not. Being a customer sucks sometimes, you have to exhaust all possibilities or it will come back to haunt you someday.

Posted by: Manni at January 16, 2005 12:54 PM

Do complain to the PUC. We estimate it costs $5000 for each complaint that goes up. The PUC can only help with your instate service.

I don't think the FCC will do anything, but you can try for your interstate service.

If you were slammed, report it to the Attorney General's office for consumer complaints. DO NOT PAY THE BILL. You have no deal with them and you owe them nothing. Used registered mail addressed to their General Counsel to inform them of this fact, though, so they don't report you the rating agencies. If they do, sic the PUC and the Attorney General on them, or apply for a loan, get rejected and sue them.

Tell Sprint that they are to change you back, without charge, to your preferred carrier. Sprint can bill GTC for their costs.

Require Sprint to put a PICC and LPICC freeze on your line, so you can not be slammed again. Sprint will then refuse all change orders except from you.

Easiest is to pay any reasonable charges, do the things I mentioned with Sprint then harrass them through the state and federal agencies. Keep copies of all correspondence to protect your credit.

Posted by: foggy at January 16, 2005 01:57 PM

what a mess

Posted by: c at January 16, 2005 08:51 PM

I'd be interested in knowing if Mark ever tried sending a second email to that address. Emails bounce for all sorts of reasons, some unrelated to the recipient. Even trying again an hour later might have made a difference.

Mark also doesn't make it clear whether he was expecting a charge from GTC on his credit card (I got the impression from his linked previous post that he'd ceased doing business with them). If he wasn't, he should probably contact his credit card company.

Finally, if the message he quoted is an email (he doesn't say, he just says they "wrote") it's quite possible that this is a phishing attempt, and nothing at all to do with GTC. The address given by a phisher would of course be fake; they want you to go to their (spoofed) web address. (In his previous post he mentions repeated phone calls from someone asking for his credit card number -- this sounds pretty suspicious to me as well.)

Y'know, I remember back when Mark Frauenfelder published a zine called Boing Boing, maybe 10 years ago. (For you youngsters, a zine was kind of like a blog, except you printed it on paper and mailed it out.) Back then, he struck me as being a pretty perspicacious individual. But in the last couple of his incidents I've seen posted here, he seems pretty darn naive. (Like, in the traffic ticket incident, why didn't he ask the clerk to refer him to a supervisor, or at least ask for written documentation of his attempt to pay? These are standard defensive techniques when dealing with beaureaucracies.) I have to wonder what's going on here.

Posted by: E.T. at January 17, 2005 01:55 PM

GTC sucks.

They switched their carries, which promped my Local phone co. (SBC) to charge me $7.75 in switching fees. GTC's web site mentioned this and said to fax a copy of your bill to them for reimbursment.

I faxed them in July 04 No response.

I faxed them in Sept 04 No response.

I tried calling in Oct 04, but after an hour on hold I gave up.

I e-mailed them in Nov.04, and got a response a month later saying they would take care of it.

I e-mailed them again in Dec 04. No response.

I called in Jan, but after 45 minutes of hold I gave up.

I called again in Jan05, and got through in 25 minutes. They said they would take care of it on the next billing cycle. This didn't happen.

I called them in Feb 05 and got through in less than 5 minutes. Wow! They said they would take care of it in the next billing cycle or two. I'm not so sure...

You wouldn't think it would take seven months to resolve a billing that they admitted to on their web site that they would pay for.

Not to mention they have billed me randomly a "regulatory recovery fee" of .99 a few time.

Rotten service!

I'm ready to switch now...

Posted by: T.A. at February 9, 2005 04:05 PM

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