Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

Returning to the Dark Side Isn't Easy

Friday after work hours but still at work I went online and started to sign up to move my Vonage phone line to AT&T

I'd looked into Comcast VoIP, but they don't offer the whole wireless router thing, just an adapter, and my experience with Vonage dropping one end of the conversation pretty much told me the technology isn't really there yet. And another reason to change is to have a phone line which won't die when the power is out. Sure, I can charge my cell phone in the car, but that's a hassle.

Since my cell phone is with AT&T, I clicked the box to have a joint billing. Or so I thought. Turns out it was only if you had no previous cell service and wanted one in addition to the land line.

The web site refused to lose this choice, and even after nuking cookies it would not let me start from scratch. So I canceled out, deciding to do this from home.

Which I did yesterday.

But that didn't work either - instead of guaranteeing the same phone number, the web site insisted on asking me to choose an alternate number in case they could not keep my current one. Current one was established with AT&T at an apartment about half a mile away, same zip code, same city, same neighborhood. No reason they could not swipe it back from Vonage. Yet when the confirmation page came up, it said they were assigning the alternate number.

This morning I went online to check the status (having not received the expected email or phone call). It wouldn't let me in - said my number was not in their database. I did not try the "new" number because I didn't want to establish a precedent of linking me to that evil set of digits. It took about 5 minutes of browsing AT&T's site to find a phone number to call, and when I got someone online she referred me to another number for the "switch back to AT&T" program.

Where a nice young man told me he had no way to look up my online order, but he was able to look me up, and see there were not orders in my name. So we proceeded to do the same routine I'd done twice on the web, this time on the phone. I guess it's poetic justice that I needed to phone the phone company.

He warned me ahead of time that Vonage likes to drag their heels (he used more polite words) on giving up phone numbers, but I am okay with this process taking 3 weeks. Partly because I'll be paying 2x what Vonage charges, for fewer services. I will miss the hack which rings my cell phone when someone calls the home number. And the online voicemail player. Yeah, I could sign up for their message center, but it's another $10 a month counting the taxes, and is no advantage over my home answering machine. But he was able to get me the joint billing, and a $4 a month credit for that feature, which I spent on "busy call forwarding" to send calls to my cell phone if I'm on the land line. Cell phone has voicemail.

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