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My Experience with Clear

I placed my order with Clear on 5/21/12. I purchased a refurbished modem through Clear to start my service. After about a year of reliable operation, my modem started re-setting itself (actually, based on my chat with the customer care rep, I don't think it's actually re-booting -- just looking for a lost signal) at very inconvenience times, typically when I was recording a Skype conversation for one of my podcasts or for someone else's show on which I would be the guest. I put off calling Clear for a few weeks because I've been the person on the other end of that call, and I know that the tech support person I talk to will have very little ability to help me. They'll have me power cycle my modem, check connections, and then tell me that I need to buy new equipment. Today, I sought help via a live chat. Here's how it went:

First, I provided a paragraph length description of the problem which was not available for me to cut and paste after the chat began. It does not seem as though the rep had read my description of the problem.

Hello Kevin. Please wait while we find a CLEAR specialist to help you.
You are customer with a Tech Support question.
You have been connected to tt_Michelle Celoy.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Thank you for contacting Clear WebChat Support, my name is Michelle.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Pleased to meet you online Kevin!
tt_Michelle Celoy: Is XXXXXXXXXX the best number to reach you in case we need to call you back?
Kevin: Yes.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Great1
tt_Michelle Celoy: Great!
tt_Michelle Celoy: I can see that you're having issues with your device, correct?
Kevin: Yes.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I do apologize for the inconvenience.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Don't worry, I'll be assisting you today!
tt_Michelle Celoy: May I ask how the device is resetting?
Kevin: The lights on the front of the devise that indicate signal strength go dark, and then the familiar start up sequence begins with the lights coming on in sequence from bottom to top until a new connection is established.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I see.
tt_Michelle Celoy: How often does this happen?
tt_Michelle Celoy: Hi, are you there?
Kevin: Yes I'm here
Kevin: As I stated in my initial report, it happens every few minutes.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I see.
Kevin: I record an interview-based podcast, and I record most of the interviews via Skype.
Kevin: I recorded an interview (or tried to) on Thursday. The longest I was able to maintain a connection for that interview was 11 minutes.
Kevin: Some recorded segments were less than 2 minutes in length because the modem was resetting so frequently.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understand.
Kevin: Eventually I gave up and conducted the interview via TalkShoe.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Can you please check the power cord is properly connected.
Kevin: Done.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Also, you can reset your modem
Kevin: That will end this chat.
tt_Michelle Celoy: You can reset it after our chat. The reset button is at the back of device
Kevin: the problem is intermittent. It happens most often during business hours monday through friday.
Kevin: Yes. I know how to reset the modem. I know you have to go through the basics, but I have re-set the modem many times and it makes no difference.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understand.
tt_Michelle Celoy: May I please have the MAC ID of your Clear device?
Kevin: 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
tt_Michelle Celoy: Thank you!
tt_Michelle Celoy: When did this issue strart?
tt_Michelle Celoy: *start
Kevin: A few weeks ago.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I see.
tt_Michelle Celoy: For the security of your account, can you please tell me the city where you were born?
Kevin: Fayetteville
tt_Michelle Celoy: Thank you!
tt_Michelle Celoy: It is possible that the device is defective since it keeps on rebooting for no reason.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Did something happen to the device?
Kevin: No.
Kevin: It just sits here on my desk. I never take it anywhere.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I see.
tt_Michelle Celoy: We can process a replacement for that.
tt_Michelle Celoy: And there are 2 ways for it
Kevin: Okay.
tt_Michelle Celoy: The 1st option is the standard exchange.
Kevin: Whatever works.
Kevin: I just need a reliable internet connection.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understad
tt_Michelle Celoy: You will be shipping the device back to us then our warehouse will examine the device. It will take 2-3 weeks for a replacement device to be shipped back to you.

If we determine that the device, when returned to us, is damaged by reason other than a manufacturer’s defect, then CLEAR will have no obligation to return (and will not be returning) the device to you, and you will not be entitled to receive any replacement device.

We will be sending you a return label to send the device back. You must also include the proof or Purchase with the device and price circled, kit Components including the battery and battery charger.

Then we will put your account on hold.
Kevin: If I understand you, I will be without internet for 2 - 3 weeks.
Kevin: That will not work.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Yes.
Kevin: I will have to make other arangments.
tt_Michelle Celoy: The 2nd option is the Express Exchange.
tt_Michelle Celoy: You will pay for the replacement device up front.

Once you have shipped the non working device and it is deemed under warranty by our facility, then you will be refunded the Express Exchange Fee.

You will receive their replacement device within 2-business days.

Once your defective device is received into our facility, it can take 2-3 weeks for the device to go through a thorough inspection and if the device meets warranty qualifications the Express Exchange Fee will be refunded within 7 days after inspection.

In addition, if we determine that the device, when returned to us, is damaged by reason other than a manufacturer’s defect, then you will not be entitled to receive any applicable refunds.
Kevin: My current billing cycle is nearly at an end, yes?
tt_Michelle Celoy: It's on the 21st.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Sorry end of billing cycle is 20th
Kevin: Alright. I would like for my service to terminate on that date.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understand
tt_Michelle Celoy: In order to cancel your service, you will need to call our Customer Resolution at 1-888-888-3113 opens from Monday - Sunday 4:00am - 9:00pm PST.
Kevin: I will do that.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I do apologize for the inconvenience.
tt_Michelle Celoy: We also have a device assistance center.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Where you can take your device,
tt_Michelle Celoy: May I please have your zipcode?
Kevin: Where is the nearest location?
Kevin: 11218
tt_Michelle Celoy: Thank you!
tt_Michelle Celoy: The nearest center is at IWIRE OF FLATBUSH AVE
862 FLATBUSH AVE
BROOKLYN, NY 11226
347-763-6126
Kevin: Are you generating a service ticket or can I take the devise in unannounced?
tt_Michelle Celoy: Just take the device there. \
Kevin: What can they do for me?
tt_Michelle Celoy: They can check the device,
tt_Michelle Celoy: Im sorry
Kevin: What compensation can Clear offer for my lost business and the time I have to take out of my business week to attend to this matter?
tt_Michelle Celoy: Upon double checking, the device is already out of warranty.
Kevin: Given the intermittent nature of the problem, I have no confidence that the problem is with my hardware and thus no confidence that your service center can do anything to fix the problem.
Kevin: It seems more likely that Clear's 3G infrastructure in this area is insufficient to service the demand during peak hours and that this focus on the modem is likely to be an enormous waste of my time.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understand.
Kevin: So, that's all you have to offer?
[after several minutes, tt_Michelle Celoy replied with:]
tt_Michelle Celoy: Since the device keeps on rebooting for no reason, then it's the device
Kevin: And that fact that it happens most often during weekdays is of no bearing?
[another pause of several minutes]
tt_Michelle Celoy: How often do you use your internet?
Kevin: Every day.
tt_Michelle Celoy: How many lights are lit?\
Kevin: Right now, 3.
Kevin: If fluctuates between 2 and 3 lights during normal operation.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Okay
tt_Michelle Celoy: Do you use the device more during weekdays?
Kevin: During the week I'm using it for business purposes. On the weekend I use it more for personal matters. The business use is by far the larger portion of my usage.
Kevin: And the most important.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understand
[another long pause]
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understand
tt_Michelle Celoy: In that case, the modem reboots when you use it more.
tt_Michelle Celoy: *more often
tt_Michelle Celoy: So it's the device
Kevin: You really believe that. You think network load has nothing to do with it?
tt_Michelle Celoy: If the device is not rebooting, then network load may have something to do with it.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Also, have you cheked the temperature of the modem?
Kevin: If my only hope of re-establishing reliable service with clear is to buy new equipment, what incentive do I have to continue to do business with Clear rather than exploring other options?
tt_Michelle Celoy: Let me check what I can do.
Kevin: It does not feel inordinately warm.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Okay
tt_Michelle Celoy: Thank you for waiting.
tt_Michelle Celoy: In getting a replacement, I can waive the shipping fee.
tt_Michelle Celoy: The hub is $49.99+tax for the brand new with 1 year warranty and $37.49+tax for the refurbished with 90 days warranty.
Kevin: What would I see on the front of the modem if the device were not re-setting but was instead looking for a lost signal?
tt_Michelle Celoy: The lights will only scroll. It should not do the start up sequence.
Kevin: I don't have any confidence that $50 and a new modem will make the service reliable. I think I need to look at other options. I won't keep you on the line any longer. Have a good day.
tt_Michelle Celoy: I understand
tt_Michelle Celoy: You can contact our Customer Resolution for other options
tt_Michelle Celoy: Is there anything else I can assist you with?
Kevin: No.
tt_Michelle Celoy: And for your future reference, you can also sign in to your account on our website www.clear.com, where you will be able to view all of your billing invoices, update your account information, and make your payments online.
tt_Michelle Celoy: Thank you for choosing CLEAR!
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us, we are available in live WebChat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Have a great day!
You may now close this window.
Thank you for visiting clear.com. You may now close this window.
Thank you for chatting with Clearwire. We value your feedback. Please click here to answer a few questions about your chat experience.

-------------------------

I did not check the time when I started the chat, but I spent a very long time trying to get some assistance via the chat, and the modem did not re-set/lose signal at any time during this process. It is late Sunday morning. Had I tried this on Monday at the same time, I suspect that I would have gotten cut off after just a few back and forth exchanges.

So, here's what I need for Skype calls:


Minimum download / upload speed: 30kbps / 30kbps

Recommended download / upload speed: 100kbps / 100kbps

I also need to be able to upload media files in the 80 Mb range within a reasonable amount of time (ten minutes of less).

I'm looking at Time Warner Cable's Turbo internet service:

http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/internet/internet-service-plans.html

I have no experience with Time Warner. Does anyone have any suggestions for an Internet Service Provider in New York City? I need consistent, fairly high-speed connectivity.

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