Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sympatico DSL Warning

I recently received a nice personally addressed letter from Sympatico. They claimed that I was a 'valued' Sympatico member, and were offering to reduce my monthly price from $44.95 (exhorbitant) to $39.00 (very high) if I signed a 12 month agreement. I also read about another promotion for new members in the local newspaper. It was $9.95 per month for 6 months, then $20.95 thereafter. The catch was that the promotion was for new subscribers and for their 'Basic' (slow) service. After reading the letter, I thought about our DSL service and how slow it was since our move to Montreal West.

The problem with DSL is that the further you are from the switch, the slower your connection speed. I went to to measure the DSL speed and was surprised to see that it was only 474 kbps! This was way under the 'Basic' speed of 700 kbps. This meant that for the last few years, I was paying for high speed DSL, but was receiving only slow speed service.

Something must be done!

I called Sympatico tech-support to see if our connection speed was normal. Unfortunately, it was and the agent was kind enough to switch me to sales, where I could downgrade my service. I remarked to the salesperson that I was getting their Basic speed but was paying full price, but he wasn't impressed. I asked about taking advantage of the new subscriber promotion, and he explained that I was not a new subscriber. I asked him what would happen if I just cancelled the service, then reconnect as a new subscriber. He parried by saying that I would have to disconnect for 3 months!, since my number was in their database.

I then gave him a choice. Allow me to get the new-subscriber promotion or I would cancel my service and reconnect when the requisite 3 months were over. I mentioned that Sympatico was my backup connection (true) and that Bell had been grossly overcharging me since we moved to our current location.

Success! After multiple consultations with persons unknown, he agreed. We've now been downgraded to their Basic service, which we actually had all the time. In the next year, I should be saving about $354.00 !

If you are using DSL internet, and your supplier offers multiple speeds, go check your actual connection speed. You can do this very easily at DSL Reports. If your actual speed is close to, or below their slower (cheaper) plan, then call them and downgrade. They won't call you and tell you that you are wasting your money.