The complete text of the letter that Jake wrote to FlashNet:
(My comments are in red text)
Be sure to read FlashNet/Prodigy's responses below. I am a fair man and will include their side.
Gentlemen and ladies of Prodigy, After more than 6 years as a FlashNet customer, I am leaving Prodigy/FlashNet. The reasons are clear-cut and have been available on my FlashNet homepage at http://home.flash.net/~jake, but are no longer. I discovered on 12/19 that my webpage has been erased by someone at FlashNet, without notifying me as to the reason or even that it was being done. I put it back up in the event that the deletion was a mistake (most likely, as a professional ISP would notify a customer when it deletes the user's hard work and effort). And today, Christmas, I discover that not only has my web page been deleted, but the space used has also been disabled, and my FTP service disabled so that I could not fix the problem, and your staff is off for Christmas, so that there is no one to explain. The last access to the site was 'Sun, Dec 24 2000, 12:28:50 EST (-0500)'. You may now view the site in it's entirety at http://users2.ev1.net/~captainjake/byeflashnet/ or at http://www.captainjakes.com/byeflashnet. If you have a rebuttal, or any sort of company position that explains FlashNet/Prodigy's side of the specific issues I've written about, I'd be willing to post them on the website as well. I am a fair man. I do expect that I will not be charged for the portion of the service that FlashNet is actively preventing me from using, i.e. display of my webspace, FTP access to my webspace. Please do visit the website and read all that you find, specifically the reasons and especially the section about your Email Support Manager, Preston Ordrop. For your convenience, you can read that page alone at http://users2.ev1.net/~captainjake/byeflashnet/prestonordrop.htm The information you find on this page may help you in retaining customers. I sent out email to all of the contacts I've accumulated in the past 6 years, and that's quite a few, letting them know that FlashNet was no longer able to keep me as a customer, and gave them my new email address. I was not too surprised when I received responses such as "My account is due for renewal and I may just decline." and "I, too, have had misgivings and am up for renewal next month." and even "I dropped flashnet about 2 years ago...they sucked big time!! How are things?". While I feel the last gentleman's comment was crass, there's no denying his feelings. Overall the actual dial-up service from FlashNet used to be terrific and has come down to (mediocre but livable). The problem has always been your support personnel. The people on the telephone are nice enough, but the problems I call in with are usually higher-level and require them to call their support or server people, who give the telephone guy grief and unusable answers. I've also tried reaching FlashNet about problems with Preston Ordrop and other support people, but I have never been able to get any sort of response from FlashNet about the people problem, or about anything, really. It's simply very clear that the focus at Prodigy/FlashNet has shifted far away from the customer. When I spoke with my new ISP, Everyone's Internet, they said that they were picking up quite a few former FlashNet customers, most with complaints just like mine. And when I spoke with FlashNet's CustomerCare (a title we all laugh about), the lady was very quick with the address of firstname.lastname@example.org, as if she's been having to give it out quite a bit. The problem extends back to before the company was bought by Prodigy, and now that it's owned by a large, faceless corporation, nobody can see the level of service ever improving. When I heard of the Prodigy buyout, that was the final stake in the coffin, as far as we were concerned. I have sent missives like this before to FlashNet, trying to get help. Now I'm sending one to let you know why you've lost me. I wish you hadn't let your service deteriorate to this point. Jake (Try to get a 4 letter user name anywhere now. My username indicates just how early I supported FlashNet. You can no longer get a 4 letter common name username anywhere) And I did get two responses from FlashNet the very next day. Here are the responses, in their entirety. Hello, We appreciate your comments. Please contact us with any questions you may have. Thank you, Monica Flashnet Customer Care Also sent by Monica, during that same minute: We apologize, but the $99 (plus set up fees) promotion that is being run is an introductory offer for new accounts only. Your current annual renewal rate is $167.40. If you have any further questions about this promotion, please direct them to Customer Care at 1-800-352-7420, option 2. Thank you, Monica Flashnet Customer Care This is very typical of FlashNet/Prodigy. In answer to her first response, I say "There are several questions in the letter I sent." Her second response has nothing to do with anything I said. If she had read and had the mental capability of understanding what I wrote, it is pretty clear that I am (A) not asking about renewal (B) Wouldn't be interested in renewing and (C) didn't ask about any sort of introductory offer. It is clear that someone read at least a part of my letter, probably the part about not being charged for what they were actively denying me, FTP and Webspace access, as my webpage on FlashNet became available again I responded: I am baffled by your response. Apparently you neglected to actually read the letter I wrote. (A), I did not not ask about renewing. (B) if you had read the letter, it would have been clear that I would not be asking about renewing. (C) It's this sort of inattention to the customer that I am writing about and have displayed on my websites at http://home.flash.net/~jake and http://users2.ev1.net/~captainjake/byeflashnet. Perhaps a supervisor might need to look at this issue? Jake I will post any response I get.. After this I called Customer Care, to see if a "Supervisor" would have any insight. The lady who answered, Juanita, tried to get a "Supervisor", eventually came back and said that they were all on the phone, and besides, she's not sure that they are responsible for the Customer Care email. I told her "Perhaps we should find out.". She put me on hold again. She came back and told me that they don't handle email, that I should email "custcare" and "resolve". I explained that they are the people I am writing about, and that maybe she should find out who I should speak with about those departments. She said again that that is another department, and she doesn't know who it is. I patiently explained that as she works for FlashNet/Prodigy, she would have a much better chance of finding out who it is than I would, because I don't work there. Since she works there, she should be able to find out. On hold once again. She comes back, sounding exasperated (good quality in a phone person), and explains that she's going to transfer me to this other number, that she doesn't know who the number belongs to, nor does she know who is going to answer. I am completely blown away by Juanita's absolute lack of poise and knowledge. When the other number picks up, I get a recording, announcing that I have reached "The Executive Resolutions Department", i.e., the "email@example.com" address that I have written to. I am asked to leave my name, my username, my phone number, and they will call me back. I did so at 3:40pm, December 26th, 2000. Any response will be posted on these three mirrrored sites: http://home.flash.net/~jake http://users2.ev1.net/~captainjake/byeflashnet http://www.captainjakes.com/byeflashnet
It is possible that someone from their "Executive Resolutions Department"attempted to call me on December 27th at 1:50pm, according to Caller ID. However, no message was left on my answering machine. A professional support person, especially one who works on Executive Escalations, would certainly leave a message, so the customer would know that they attempted to call and resolve the situation. They would also try earlier or later in the day, and they would try the next day. Anything to let the customer know that they are professionals, that they know what they are doing, that they give a rat's hiney about customer service. I've received no additional calls. As a side note; for four years I worked for a HUGE software company, doing support, including Executive Escalations, so I'm quite aware of how a properly run company should do support. I am constantly amazed by FlashNet/Prodigy's lack of professionalism and capability.
Ok, I've been more than fair and have provided FlashNet/Prodigy with more than ample time to give professional ISP operations their best shot. They've been given three weeks to get back to me, and this is on an "Executive Resolution", the highest priority (one would think). In three weeks, FlashNet/Prodigy has proven completely incapable of even calling back a customer who has filed a complaint with the "Executive Resolutions Department". I'm telling you, if I worked for this company, I'd hang my head in shame. Well, it's over. After more than 6 years, tomorrow I call FlashNet/Prodigy and ask them to stop my service, due soley to their lack of professionalism and capability. Oh, and by the way, there's a price increase coming on February 2nd.