Caveat emptor: switching to fiber? REMEMBER TO CANCEL DSL SERVICE or Sonic will bill you for both

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
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by dylanloomis » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:59 am
TL;DR If you are a Sonic DSL customer and upgrade to gigabit fiber, you must cancel your old (DSL) service or Sonic will bill you for both DSL and fiber. Further, cancellation is a 30 day process (from time of request and you pay for that 30 days) so do it as soon as you schedule your fiber install.

Longer:

I am a Berkeley subscriber with Sonic and switched from Comcast as I was interested in getting enough subscribers to bring fiber to my area. So, I signed up for the gigabit fiber waiting list and got Sonic's DSL (via ATT I think?) in the meantime.

When fiber came to my area I scheduled the install as soon as I could. The install itself went quickly and the installer was on time, fast, competent and polite.

Since I no longer needed the DSL modem, I provided that to the installer/technician to take away. At this point, it would have been great if he had been aware of Sonic's policy to charge me for both services (though I don't blame him, maybe an automated email?).

It wasn't until I got my bill (much larger than I expected) that I saw I was being charged for both DSL and fiber. When I contacted support via email I got:

It looks like you signed yourself up online for new fiber service. When you do that it does not automatically cancel whatever service you have there. There are many locations throughout Berkeley and all over the bay area, where there are multiple services because of landlord/tenant relationships, so we do not just assume that we are cancelling the old service.
To cancel your old service, please call any department and we can get that going for you. Tech is available 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week, and billing is available 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. The IP broadband service does take 30 days to turn down, but perhaps we can get the fee for that waived when you call in to cancel.


I then called support, and explained that being charged for a service I couldn't use (the installer took away the DSL modem) is unreasonable. After a hold the customer support representative representative told me his manager would wave the fees for the two months. Note that this differs from the email I got above but was likely due to the fact that I had no hardware so couldn't have used the service.

I think it is easy to get caught out and have to pay for two services. That part feels a little "Comcasty". Further, you tell users:

Please DO NOT cancel service with your existing provider until your Sonic service is installed and active.


I think you should check whether Sonic service already exists at the address in question (that was included in the email quoted above) and if so warn the users of the 30 day turn down requirement. While I am sure it is in the fine print of my original order I looked, and couldn't find it.

Finally, everyone I spoke to in person/on the phone (installers, customer service representatives) was very polite and helpful. I just think the system/process could use improvement.

Ideally, clients don't have to call support. It should just work right.
by haiku99 » Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:45 pm
FWIW I had a similar experience this year, 2021. I had been on Sonic DSL for years and decided to upgrade to Sonic FTTP (via AT&T fiber) in January. The installation went well (I got lucky and got an excellent at&t installer) and the service works perfectly and is lightning fast...however six weeks later I too got a humongous bill and also discovered I was being billed for DSL and fiber service. Called Sonic and they said they would credit 30 days DSL service however they would remove the $20/month discount I'd been granted when I signed up for fiber. None of this was clear to me when I arranged the upgrade online back in January plus I'd had to call back then to have my landline number ported to the new fiber service and asked the service rep why they hadn't asked for the DSL modem back and he didn't have an answer.
Anyway I will still stick with Sonic since they are an excellent ISP but the huge bill plus losing the monthly discount was an unwelcome surprise as I'd assumed they would realize I was doing an upgrade back in January...why would I want DSL AND fiber service?? that makes no sense at all...
by syntaxsid1 » Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:08 am
Hello,

We apologize for the confusion with this. I would like to clarify if I may. When you go online to sign up for Fiber service with us, but you are an existing customer, the website is just designed to place NEW orders. If you wanted to upgrade from DSL to Fiber, you would do that through your customer portal on member tools. Member tools allows you to make changes to your already existing account like add a mesh network to upgrade your WiFi, add hosting or domain services if you run a website etc or upgrade your DSL to Fiber. Had you placed the upgrade via member tools, we would install your Fiber service and the automatically turn down your DSL service. There are some customers that prefer to keep both, so without context if you sign up on our website we just assume you mean to "add" service to already existing service. Since this was done without speaking to a representative (if you signed yourself up online) we wouldn't have the opportunity to explain this to you unfortunately. The 30 day turn down is only for services that use AT&T's equipment and infrastructure since AT&T institutes a 30 day turn down with active billing. Our standard DSL service (not resold AT&T uverse service) allows you to cancel ANYTIME, even the same day you call.

The discounts we offer are purely for new customers. The purpose of this is to have them experience Sonic at a discounted price just to see if it's a good fit first. After one year, any promotional discounts applied expire and you are not eligible for any additional discounts. Our rate is lower than most other internet service providers even without the discount. I hope this helps clarify what happened here. We are sorry about the confusion with this. If you ever have any questions about anything with your service, we are always available to take your call. Have a great day and stay safe out there!


Member tools website link: https://members.sonic.net/

Kind Regards,

JM
Jeff M. with Community Escalations @ Sonic
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