Revised Title - Sales abruptly changing Fusion user over to Fiber with no notice or information

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by clairejp » Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:01 am
NB -- In view of Dane's response I have revised the post title, however the lack of communication of this mandatory change inside Sonic and to its customers is pretty bad.
Dear Sonic -
I have been a Sonic subscriber for many years and have recommended it countless times. I have appreciated the high ethical standard of Sonic, the skill and intelligence of the support staff, and the reliable service. I didn't mind the deluge of emails, postcards, door to door solicitation and other marketing about Gigabyte fiber being available and entreaties to switch from my Fusion service to Fiber. Fusion totally works for me and I choose not to change this service to Fiber. I also understand that your marketing and sales department does their utmost to publicize Fiber and increase your customer base - that's their job.

However I do not understand why your Sales staff would risk damaging Sonic's great reputation by slamming a longtime customer by switching their service with a fake order without the customer's consent or agreement.

When your Sales dept sends me 5 (!) emails in a single afternoon that refer to an order for Fiber that I did not order, thanks me for the order, shares details about the tech installation for the service that I did not order, tells me that whether or not I am home - "a Sonic technician will come to your home and connect a new fiber 'drop' (otherwise known as a fiber cable) to the exterior of your home." and pings me to set up the appointment for installation for the service I did not order --- this aggressive unethical dishonest behavior does great damage to your reputation.

Yesterday I was surprised and annoyed when I checked my email and read the multiple messages. I called Sonic Tech support right away thinking maybe there was some mixup. The support tech understood my annoyance and wasn't sure how the order was initiated. He said he would correct this and cancel the incorrect fictitious "order" that I had never made. But was this just a mixup or a desperate sales strategy? Given the heavy promotion of Fiber, it seems unfortunately likely that Sales is on overdrive.

Even after the records we supposedly corrected yesterday, today I am receiving text and email reminders to schedule my Sonic appt. Unbelievable. Does the Sales CRM operate in a separate bubble from tech support? Far from optimal.

Perhaps someone in Sales went rogue but this is all too similar to the Wells Fargo aggressive practices in signing customers up for services they never requested or consented to. Please address this disconnect and return to being the ISP that has a reputation of honesty, ethics, and good customer service.
by dane » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:15 am
Sorry for any confusion.

Where we’ve deployed Sonic fiber, we migrate customers off the AT&T copper, over to Sonic fiber. The result is a much faster and far more reliable service.

We send email notice about the technology transition about a week before the transition process begins, in order to allow time for any questions to be addressed.

A few months after the fiber is deployed, we plan to shut down the copper-connected equipment. It just doesn’t make financial sense to continue to lease AT&T facilities where we have invested in our own new optical network.

Sonic gigabit fiber everywhere is our goal - copper is a stepping-stone.
Dane Jasper
Sonic
by clairejp » Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:18 pm
Thank you for the quick reply and for the explanation of what is/was going down.

So I now understand that anyone on Fusion in a Fiber available zone will face a mandatory change to Fiber service.

However contrary to the one week notice that you cite, I received what was in effect zero notice, a barrage of emails all in a short window of time -- Five emails in just under than 5 hours yesterday afternoon.
It started with an email with the vague subject line "We're ready to migrate you" which I understood as another promotional sales email to get me to order fiber.
And the last email was subject line "Schedule your installation" - which I understood as a big mixup because I had not ordered nor was I aware of any installation.

It would have been much more helpful if Sonic had been completely transparent and explained all of this well in advance and had done so with 30 days notice and repeated messaging in multiple channels.

The Sales emails went from "Upgrade now!" every 10 days to "We're ready to migrate you" which sounds very much like a new sales pitch.

What about creating a FAQ page for this mandatory migration?

What about giving your tech support team information about this mandatory migration so they can respond to customers questions and concerns?

What about mailing a notice and explanation for reference to those that will have their service changed in this mandatory migration? Lots of us skim our emails and don't open and read every single email but will pay attention and open a mailed announcement from a vendor.

Thanks for reading and considering. I understand that this change needs to happen from a business practice standpoint however I think the communication and lack of information is falling below what I would have expected from Sonic.
by u3zmsm » Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:04 am
I agree with clairejp: at least 30 days’ notice, given in a way that’s clearly not a marketing offer, would seem to be a basic standard for involuntary service changes, especially those that require equipment changes and installation work at customers’ premises.

I think the FCC would agree, too. Since the voice part of the service is also being involuntarily changed, how can a five-day notice period meet the requirements of 47 CFR Part 63? I realize that the extended notice requirements for a “copper retirement” might not apply, since Sonic isn’t actually removing the AT&T lines, but shouldn’t customers get at least 30 days’ notice, as described in this Fact Sheet?

Also, what about Fusion customers who have static IP addresses? Do they lose those on five days’ notice, too, since Sonic declines to offer that feature on its fiber service?
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