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

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:59 am
by dylanloomis
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.