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Ahh, we don't care about you residential customers
by acepoint 03:31PM Monday Nov 13 2000
From ZDNet news .. Its now official, megapath couldn't care less about Phoenix's residential customers. Their VP said so himself. Digital Subscriber Line provider MegaPath Networks admits it's not giving quality support to thousands of residential customers it received as part of its agreement to acquire Phoenix Networks. And if those customers don't like it, they can leave.

Gary Thomas, executive vice president and co-founder of MegaPath, said his company won't waste money supporting residential Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) customers paying only $39.95 per month when it has business-class customers - who are paying twice that - also seeing delays in customer support. Where does that leave Phoenix's residential DSL customers?

Well, if a residential customer calls tech support, the person is told not to even bother leaving a message, let alone speak with someone from technical support. E-mail is the only form of communication accepted.

Michael Richman, an engineer from Bedford, Mass., is one Phoenix customer being given the virtual cold shoulder and he's frustrated with the level of support he's received from MegaPath. He finds it amusing that the company wants residential customers to e-mail MegaPath's tech support, when one reason he's calling is that his service is down. Richman was so frustrated that he e-mailed Harry Taxin, MegaPath's chief executive. Taxin responded, asking Richman to give the company some time to solve his problem.

Thomas said e-mail is the only way to support the residential customers the company acquired in the Phoenix purchase. Otherwise, MegaPath could lose so much money that it would fall into the same trap as Phoenix. That company ran aground and was purchased by MegaPath Oct. 25. That deal netted more than 10,000 customers, but MegaPath officials would not disclose how many of those are residential accounts.

"From day one, we've been a business-focused provider of DSL, with a pricing model that allows us to provide pretty good support," Thomas said.

And if residential customers aren't happy, he said, they can leave anytime they like. Prefacing his words with a warning about his bluntness, Thomas said if customers e-mail the company, MegaPath will let them break their contracts without penalty. Or, they can become MegaPath customers, at the higher price of $69.95 per month.

While this may sound cold, Thomas pointed out that Jato Communications simply cut customers off when it couldn't handle them. Also, Thomas said MegaPath is seeking a buyer for the residential accounts.

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