Sean’s Obsessions

Sean Walberg’s blog

Primus TalkBroadband Sucks

Wanting to get away from high telephone bills, I made the jump to Primus TalkBroadband a few months ago, and what a mistake that was.

I must say it was easy to get signed up. I filled out a web page, and a little while later, I was sent a package containing my VoIP box (ATA) and instructions. I soon got an email with the day my number would be ported, and it was transferred when they said it would be.

However, quality problems made the service unusable. I played with QoS, called Tech support, tweaked this, tweaked that, and eventually gave up. This, I don’t fault them for. I have a few friends who are happy with the service, it just didn’t work for me.

So, I called up Shaw for their Digital Voice package. They gave me a temporary number to use, I set up my TalkBroadband line to forward all calls to that number, and disconnected the ATA.

I then called Primus customer service to switch to the lowest plan possible, $15/month (if I’m not using the service, why pay $30?). Surprisingly, I wasn’t asked why I was leaving. Even after working in “I’m just not happy with the service”, I didn’t get “sorry to hear that”.

An unfortunate mixup with Shaw caused the number porting to take much longer than it should have. (Other than that, I’m very impressed with Shaw’s service. The guys that came to wire my house did an outstanding job) Any calls to my Primus number which were call forwarded to Shaw (never touching VoIP) had awful quality, such that we usually ended up calling people back whenever they called us.

So, I called Primus support. The first guy I talked to seemed rather angry at me and very argumentative. I called back through customer support to complain, who had no record of the previous call. So, I got someone else in tech support, who blamed the problem on Shaw.

Around the same time, when people called us in the evenings, they’d sometimes get an “out of trunks” message. I called Primus about that, too, and the support guy told me that he could only help me if I was getting the message now, and to call back when I was having the problem.

Finally, on Dec 21, my number ported over to Shaw. I was told my account would be cancelled. Late last week, a friend on TalkBroadband tried to call me and got a “not available message”.

So, I called Primus this morning. The lady told me my account hadn’t been cancelled, and since I have to give 30 days notice, they were billing me until Feb 9. Fine. I then asked her what to do about the problem where Primus customers couldn’t call me and she told me that I couldn’t possibly be having this problem, and that the person calling me should call in. After trying to explain my situation to her, I asked to be transferred to tech support.

The guy on the tech side was nice enough, and seemed to have an idea of what might be wrong. Since my account wasn’t cancelled, Primus customers were still going the old way. He called some people internally and told me I should wait a few hours for the account to be cancelled inside their system first.

All told, I’ve spent around $50 on a service I didn’t use (that’s not including the $30 on the month of service that I did use), and have had many problems dealing with Primus’ so called “customer service”. I have never dealt with so many rude people as a customer of a company or felt less valued as a customer.

I have friends who are happy on Primus, though they have never had to call for help. (That said, one of them did have a billing problem, and it took a very long time to resolve because of the pathetic customer service).

On the flip side, Shaw has been nothing but helpful. I pay more for the Shaw service, but it is excellent, and I feel taken care of.


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