Friday, February 17, 2006

Must have the Internet to work, must work to have the Internet

As a work at home mom, I have a bit of a vicious cycle going when it comes to the Internet. Because I am home-based, I must have the Internet to work. But because I am working from home to have time with my children, I don't want to spend all day working and so I have little if any extra money for expenses that are not absolutely necessary. One of those necessary expenses is the Internet, but sometimes it seems that I must work so that I can have it.

It didn't help any that the other day I got this annoying letter from my DSL company, which they also sent as an email today, congratulating me on my first anniversary with their fastest DSL and to thank me they are going to raise my rate by $10 and fortunately, no action is required on my part! I was already paying a steep $29.99 for their fastest version, but I figured it was all good since the regular version was $24.99 when I signed up and I live in such a small area that I ought to be happy to have the Internet at all. Here is the gist of the oh-so-thoughtful letter I received the other day:

It's your SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro anniversary!
Thank you for being our valued customer. This simple note is to let you know that your 12-month introductory pricing is scheduled to expire within the next 60 days.
Your SBC Yahoo DSL Pro will automatically continue for just $39.99 per month, with absolutely NO TERM commitment!
In celebration of your anniversary and to show our gratitude for your continued membership, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to keep enjoying all of the benefits of your SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro service. To keep your SBC Yahoo! DSL Pro service after your current term ends, absolutely NO ACTION is required on your part. Once your present term ends, we will automatically renew your service at the low monthly rate of $39.99 with no term commitment.

Wow, if that's how you thank people for their patronage, don't worry about showing me any gratitude. By the way, I'm not such an idiot that I won't realize you're hiking up my price if you send me a sweetly-worded letter.

I was rather upset with the letter, not only because my bill was going to be going up $10 but that it was all a favor to me and I was supposed to be thrilled. Needless to say, I wasn't. I called the company up, told them I thought the $29.99 was bad enough, that I certainly did not intend to pay $39.99 a month for it, and that I needed to go down to their cheapest DSL. I found out that can be had for $19.99, which is still rather steep but what I was paying for dial-up when I first got on the Internet, and that it would be about a week before I noticed a change in speed.

But get this! I could actually keep the DSL Pro for a mere $24.99, the nice lady on the phone tells me! What? You mean they were going to raise my rate by $10 when they could have actually lowered it by $5? Now that would have been a better way to thank me. Funny that they didn't put that in the lovely congratulatory letter. I went with the $19.99 package but was assured that I could call back before the end of the month to get in on their $24.99 promotion.

Now the worst part of it all is that I never saw much of an increase in speed after I went up to the DSL Pro last year but a couple of hours after I downgraded to the cheapest version, I noticed a marked decrease in speed. This is when I have to remember that it's a tax deduction and that I must have it to work.

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