The future is Clear? Don’t think so.

Confession time . For about a year Ive been relying on my neighbour’s wireless internet – lovely folks that they are. For everyone outside the US – this is not such a bad thing, in the US you pay for speed NOT amount used which has no limit – so I really haven’t been doing anything terribly bad. The only reason I can think of for password protecting wireless in the US, is fear of being hacked, which I suppose, is quite reason enough.

Anyway before leaving for Australia I had organized to re-connect with a WISP called Clear (formerly known as Clearwire). I had arranged the re-connection for a planned date, confirmed the re-connection fee, the method of payment etc… I pretty much had it covered.

So on the date planned I contacted them (I should point out here that when Clear has blocked your internet access, it blocks everything except the Clear website) via their website and used the chat client option you’ll see on the upper right corner of their homepage. Well none of the things we had covered months ago were taken care of;  our conversation hadn’t even been included in their CRM.  This was not good.  So, I spent 40 minutes negotiating a new re-connection fee (they had added a third to our agreed upon figure) then requested to pay by VISA . No problem, right? Wrong. The VISA I needed to use was held with an Australian bank. Clear’s system is set up to accept verification by zipcode – which in Australia is 4 numbers and in the US is 5 numbers. They wouldn’t accept my VISA. Preposterous! Anyone who has ever worked for a small store can tell you each merchant has a merchant number and a phone contact to a VISA rep. -  to sort out problems just like this one. Nope. Clear can’t/won’t do it.

This being the case I was left with no choice but to pay cash at an authorized Clear dealer, so I head to my nearest, which is in The Tacoma Mall. Of course they’ll take cash.  Nope, they don’t take cash anymore. No problem I’ll use the VISA. No, they use the same system as they do online. So there is no way of paying Clear – they don’t seem too keen to have any customers! The dealer in Tacoma Mall suggests I go to B&I Market in Lakewood where there is a dealer who does take cash. Great. I’m off. I go to the dealer, pay cash,  give them my account details, get a written receipt and leave. When I return home I find that access to the internet is still blocked. So i go onto their website again, start the chat client and talk with a rep who tells me that a) the dealer probably can’t access my account as it has been cancelled and b) even if he could access my account (which he can’t) it would take 24-48 hours to post – clearing the way for web access. I was incensed. What could they mean?They never told me anything about this before I paid! I paid cash! Well that started a four day battle during which I had to walk for 3 miles a day to access the internet. I got restricted internet for 4 days yesterday – so its still not resolved! Apparently there is so much disillusionment and disatisfaction surrounding Clear from both customers and staff that it has spawned sites like this –

Highlights  from the four days worth of conversations I had with various Clear reps, supervisors and managers is copied below :

Hello Simon. Please wait while we find a CLEAR specialist to help you.
Your question is: I need to communicate with Daphne Funches in Financial Services but this and email are the only methods of communication I have at my disposal

You have been connected to Cory Jeakins.

Cory Jeakins:  Hi Simon! I’ll be happy to help you today!

Simon:  (redacted) My phone number for account recognition

Simon:  (redacted) My password – No you cant have that either.

Cory Jeakins:  Thank you! I’d also like to mention that we’ve added many time saving features to our phone system and to our website to improve your experience. For example, when you go to, there’s now a dedicated support page with lots of information to help answer basic questions and technical issues. We’ll keep you notified as we continue to enhance our systems. Look for our monthly newsletter for more details.

Simon:  have you my account Cory?

Cory Jeakins:  Yes, I do have your account pulled up.

Simon:  ok

Simon:  i need to communicate with Daphne Funches

Cory Jeakins:  I do apologize Simon, the only way to contact finances is by calling in.

Simon:  I use voip …and clear wont support voip

Simon:  at least where i live

Simon:  can you communicate with her?

Cory Jeakins:  I am seeing that you are eligible for Voip phone service through Clear Simon.

Simon:  lmao

Cory Jeakins:  I am sorry, I am not able to make outbound phone calls, you will need to call in to contact Daphne Funches.

Simon:  i cant even use skype using my existing clear service

Simon:  then put me through to accounts or someone who can make internal communications please

Simon:  cory?

Cory Jeakins:  I am sorry Simon, you will need to call in using a phone to contact finances.

Cory Jeakins:  Only customer care, tech support and sales are available here in webchat.

Simon:  there has to be some form of internal communications within your company?

Cory Jeakins:  What is the issue regarding Simon? I may be able to assist you.

Simon: I need to deal with Daphne Funches …surely someone there can communicate with her?

Simon:  I would reply to the email she sent me

Simon:  but it specifies I shouldn’t do that

Cory Jeakins:  How did you contact Daphne Funches?

Simon:  She contacted me via an email…. that i cant reply to

Simon:  her email address would be fine

Simon:  or an email in financial services

Cory Jeakins:  Ok, i am looking in the notes and I do see that you were sent an email. I do apologize, to contact finances, you will need to call in to (888)888-3113.

Simon:  i would …but my only way to call is via voip…and clear isnt consistent enough ….calls keep dropping out

Simon:  and you cant use the keypad anyhow …its not recognized

Simon:  Please get me an email address or let Daphne know it is the only way I can communicate

Cory Jeakins:  I will place a note on the account due to that there is not an email offered to contact finance. A phone call will need to be placed to finances to contact that department.

Simon:  Cory I need someone to make Daphne aware that my only form of communication is via email ..or chat i guess … hoping that she will stumble into my account notes and find your message isn’t very likely is it?

Simon:  I need someone who can do this for me … she does work for your company right?

Cory Jeakins:  I am sorry Simon, I am not able to verify that your account will be seen by Daphne. The only way to contacting finance is to call in. I wish I could do more for you.

Simon: I would think that by definition customer service would every now and then need to be in communication with another department in order to… well… service a customers needs …are you saying that’s not possible with clear?

Simon:  What does customer service do exactly?

Simon:  All that I’ve really experienced so far is upselling and sales. Are you secretly the sales department?

Cory Jeakins:  Customer care assist with questions about the service,equipment, we do help to the best of our ability, if we are not able to resolve the issue then we do direct the customer to contact the appropriate department.

Simon:  Go on you can tell me

Cory Jeakins:  I am not the sales department Simon. To contact sales here in webchat, I would need to transfer you.

Simon:  …but you cant contact that department on the customers behalf?

Simon:  lmao

Simon:  Brilliant!

Simon:  oh dear …we’re not getting very far are we Cory?

Cory Jeakins:  I am sorry, for further assistance with your issue, you will need to call in, in order to talk with the finance department. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Simon:  btw i may be interested in that voip offer …can i do that through you

Cory Jeakins:  If you would like and are interested in adding Voip to your account, I can see if a sales agent is available to assist you?

Simon:  I was kidding Cory

Cory Jeakins:  I am sorry Simon.

Simon:  im very appreciative though mate … this will make great reading

Simon:  have a good one

Cory Jeakins:  Is there anything else I can assist you with today by chance?

Simon:  No mate…. you’ve done well… thanks

Cory Jeakins:  Thank you for chatting with me today! 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 Simon!

About Simon

Simon Houghton creator of The Bloke Show started life as a baby, going on to become a boy and then a man, at which time he became an actor. As time passed he went on to be a director, later still he became a sales guy, then a business owner. Most recently he regressed and became a writer. Then a driver, then an actor again. Decisiveness is not one of his strong suits.
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