Frontier’s Plan to Make More Money

By: 
Steve Propes

East Long Beach resident JD Rose wasn’t entirely surprised, though a bit disappointed when his first emailed Frontier bill was received on July 19. After all, it was barely a month ago that he had spent several hours attempting to reach a Frontier customer service representative after being notified he’d be paying $3.15 a month ($2.99 plus tax) for the privilege of receiving a paper bill in the mail for his land line and “high speed” internet access.

The Frontier customer service line consisted of voicemail instructions, but no one for complaints. Having had some problems with eyesight and hearing through multiple years being on the planet, he felt entitled to call on the appropriate line. That way he spoke to a human in Tampa, Flor. However, the result was a mixed bag. The customer service rep on that call refused to adjust the bill as his May bill contained the information on “page four.” He asked for the supervisor who made the adjustment of $3.15. Rose then enrolled in online billing and thought the problem was resolved. On the same day, June 23, he also wrote to the signee of the new policy, Jennifer Johnson, Frontier VP of customer experience. To date, she has not responded.

After Rose paid his bill minus the $3.15, on July 19, he received his first online bill with the $3.15 restored and owing. Another call to customer service and this time, the agent was most helpful. She explained that she’d been getting many similar calls and was unable to find why the charge was reapplied as his records showed the supervisor had made the change as requested. At first she thought it was an increase of the Federal tax from $2.53 to $3.13, but that would be only sixty cents. She also said she was under strict orders not to eliminate the $3.15 paper bill fee for customers who ask, but as the fee had already been removed the previous month, she was able to make the change.

Rose asked which customers are charged. The rep answered, “anyone with online Frontier services” is subject to the paper bill charge, but land-line-only customers are exempt. The assumption is they have no online access and thus cannot be signed up for that online billing method.

She told of a call from an elderly customer who paid for internet access for her son, but had no internet account herself and had no way of paying the bill. This rep methodically took this customer through her account and discovered she did have an email address on file with Frontier, thus solving this bewildered woman’s problem. But other customers have no way of receiving or paying their bill as they are charged for not using online access even with no direct email. Asked if this charge was applied to Frontier FIOS bills, the rep said only those with Frontier internet access are charged.

Rose’s niece, who lives on the outskirts of New York City told him that a paper bill charge has been added to two of her mailings, one by her health insurance company and one applied to her 401K statements.

Recently, Frontier rolled out a new logo and began advertising on cable TV in search of customer activity. By charging for paper bills, in which no other local utility engages, Rose opines it will take more than slick logos and professional ads to engender future customer goodwill.

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