Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CenturyLink Paid Me $1971 To Stop Being A Customer

So here's the story. About 3 years ago, I signed up for a DSL + DirecTV bundle through Qwest (which has changed its name to CenturyLink). Somehow Qwest screwed up the account setup, and had my DirecTV account in their system tied to someone else's bill. DirecTV, not getting any money for my account from Qwest, started billing me on my credit card each month as well (I guess I must have given the installer my credit card for installation, or something like that).

This I discovered this past August, when I got a call from DirecTV asking for my updated credit card info. Hmmm...I thought...I'm pretty sure I pay for that through Qwest/CenturyLink. "Oh no, we've been billing your credit card for this every month." I'd never noticed it on my bill before, but then, I just scan my credit card bill each month really just looking for companies I don't know.

5 hours of calls to both companies later, talking to supervisors on both ends, CenturyLink finally agreed to credit me back for the double-billing. The customer service supervisor at CenturyLink, Becky, tried to get her company to send me a check, but apparently that's not their policy. CenturyLink expected me to essentially "work it off", i.e. leave it as a credit on my account until it went back to zero.

Becky says to me, "really, the only way they'll send you a check is if you close your account."

I'm really not in a position to offer interest-free loans to one of the largest corporations in Oregon. That, and I really don't feel like it in this case. So I switched my internet to Comcast (which is WAY faster, and less than half the cost).

6 months later (well, actually only 2 months took the first 4 months to get to where they credited my account), I received (and quickly cashed!) the check you see before you.

Clearly, it's not good business for CenturyLink to behave this way. If you think of the discounts and promotions they offer to GET a new customer, you'd think they'd make this problem go away quickly and try to keep me. It seems to me that this is a classic case of middle management not having the authority to make a small decision to do the right thing for their business (and the customer).

DirecTV, in my opinion, didn't come out smelling like roses either. After all, charging my credit card for the monthly bill without my authorization is probably credit card fraud. And they refused to give me the "new customer" promotional rate when I re-signed up with them. If it wasn't that I hate the Comcast DVR functionality, and DISH only has 720p HD TV, I'd have switched there too.

If you want to help spread the word, there are posts for this on Digg and Reddit. :-)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Local influence on Organic SERPs

Just published an article on local-influenced organic search results on SEOmoz's main blog today.

Cheetah Conservation Fund trip

Teresa at Mango African Safaris and Jason at Azumano Travel are putting together a trip to Namibia to visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund headquarters--and I've done a Visual Itinerary for the trip.

In addition to a visit to the CCF headquarters, travelers will be staying at Olive Grove, Ongava Tented Camp, and Otjibamba Lodge. The executive director of CCF, Laurie Marker, will be escorting the trip at Ongava Game Reserve as well as the tour of the CCF facility.

Guests have the option to add on various other stops (since they're flying so far...why not?), including Babson House, Kulala Desert Lodge, Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, and Capetown.