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Archive for September, 2012

Links/Notes Sunday 9/16

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Kenny Wyatt – he’s the guy in charge/responsible.

I didn’t do my research well before – James Butler, CenturyLink compliance and ethics.

bizjournal is pretty good.

permit (THE QWEST PERMIT DBA CENTURYLINK IS EXPIRED); info; info; CDOT (utility and special use permit);

So why was the permit issued on 3/5/12, it is now expired, work began–I think on Monday 9/10; painting was done sooner–and it is still not complete?

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September 16th, 2012 at 11:41 am

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CenturyLink – A Step Back

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So my home phone still doesn’t work properly, my internet is slow and unreliable, and they are digging up roads and other areas in my neighborhood.

The biggest picture, the highest level view, is that this is a Colorado problem.  It is a problem with many businesses and people here.  These are not ethical, educated, concerned people.  It is kind of a wild west thing; it is an ‘I’ll do what I want’ attitude. It is some kind of larger comprehension problem.  In my opinion it hurts the economy.

I would not locate a large business here with this labor force.

I remember about a year ago calling CenturyLink when I first tried to get the company to fix my problems.  This was after the “merger” (aka, acquisition) of Qwest was 100% complete.  After over fifteen years of being a with the company they had no record of me as a customer.  And their computers–this is a technology company–were down.  The person I spoke with promised to get back to me and never did…  a precursor.  They do not want to be contacted by customers, especially if it involves a problem.  And their headquarters and senior executives are absolutely off limits.

That, I suppose is a major component of customer satisfaction and indeed long-term business success.  We want to know and we want to fix it.

There is the guy who took two hours trying to fix my service, called me from somewhere, and then disappeared without fixing a thing.  Then there was the experienced repair person who insisted a phone cable attached to an unused, not plugged-in modem caused my slow DSL speeds.  (Actually, it has had no affect.)  There is Mike McDonald, Roberta Moore, Tamara Neher, and Gary Dietz who wouldn’t return my calls.  There is Sherry in the executive escalations office who refused to help and hung up on me.  And of course, the worst of all is David J. Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt (877/440-8959) acts like a big shot but you can tell he’s a wannabe.  “Take your service elsewhere” he nearly screamed before hanging up on me.  I suppose I know what he meant but I don’t offer service…  That was why he called, to vent, threaten, and harass, and he told me he is going to do it again on Monday.  Then he said “We have done this before,” meaning try to intimidate customers with unfixed problems into leaving.  I have seen and studied a lot of bad customer service, but I cannot recall anyone in a responsible position in a large company acting with such personal vehemence.  “Someone at my level,” he said, completely unsolicited, “I have the authority to issue thousands of dollars worth of credits.”  But he doesn’t have the authority to fix my home phone, provide internet service to specifications, or to prevent destruction, outages, and illegal behavior in my neighborhood.  Nor does he have the authority to ensure that all Colorado utility regulations are followed.  I remember he asked what “intractable” means when I used the word.  Can that word be used to describe a person?

I can tell that there is an ethics void at CenturyLink.  There are the interminable hold times, unreturned phone calls and e-mails, and online e-mail forms that don’t work.  Yes, it is a Colorado problem and it seems to be a Northern Louisiana problem too.  David J. Schmidt is following the CenturyLink leadership and cultural precedents–there are just too many clues pointing to that conclusion.

CenturyLink’s modus operandi is M&A–mergers and acquisitions–not service, customers, or neighborhoods.  What a terrible way to run a company; personally, I wouldn’t buy their stock.  “CenturyLink’s 2011 annual revenues were $15 billion, up from $360 million in 1992 when Post was appointed CEO.”    Is CEO Glen Post the next Bernie Ebbers?

Note:  This is also posted at GroundReport and Yahoo! Voices.

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September 15th, 2012 at 1:27 am

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Colorado Public Utilities Commission

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The key public service commission document is here.

Following is the complaint sent to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission Saturday 9/15/12.  Edits, items not included in the original document, are being made on an ongoing basis.  They are marked “EDIT.”


I am requesting PUC assistance with the following problems.  I strongly hope issues with this company will become a Commission agenda item, so that more inquiry/corrections may be made.

I am estimating the first report of my problems to CenturyLink as a year and a half ago (EDIT:  This may be as long as 5-6 year ago–that I noticed problems and reported them; I requested a history/timetable from CenturyLink representatives and they have not responded).  This week I have had additional major outages and I have spoken with and e-mailed over a dozen CenturyLink employees.

The problem I am having with my home phone is 1) extreme static, so much so that conversations often cannot be conducted; the problem is intermittent and 2) frequent outages; I can specify at least seven over the recent past.  (EDIT:  At least) Six service employees have been to my home and have not fixed the problems.  This week I was told several times “we cannot fix the problem.”

Now CenturyLink construction is occurring in my neighborhood for network maintenance and/or upgrades that will last approximately/at least five more weeks.  There was a prolonged outage Tuesday 9/11.  I was told by David Schmidt “you are going to have outages” (plural).  I asked for a schedule and pre-outage notifications and was told “Want me to send a letter saying no dates or service assurances?  I will.”


Further, I submit the following.  This, and more information are contained on my blog:  I will also post e-mails online, with a link to be provided in the blog.

Rule 2004 (p. 31)  Must provide contact information for External Affairs Section of the commission; this was asked-for and refused.  I was told “go on the internet and find it,” then hung up on.

CenturyLink is required to automatically provide bill credits for certain outages (Rule 2304).  They do not do this:  they require customers to call a different department (billing) which has limited business hours, and attempt to obtain a billing adjustment.  During a 24-hour period this Tuesday and Wednesday of this week my phone was not working for more than eight hours.

2333 (p. 135) Plant and equipment to provide uniform service quality and safety of persons and property; neighborhood service is below other areas, my line is described by CenturyLink employees as  “the worst,” and construction is dangerous (e.g., unrepaired holes in road; lack of fire department/sheriff notification road-blocking).

2334 (p. 136) LEC must coordinate with other entities concerning construction; this is not done, e.g., the road has been completely blocked and fire/sheriff departments have not been notified.  Further, I could find no information online for a permit; Gary Dietz of CenturyLink provided a permit number and county contact when asked but this information does not correspond with county records.

I was going to list specifics of all violations and individual “rules” not followed.  I am hoping the list at the end of this post will suffice; please let me know if additional information is needed..  I am hoping the Commission or staff will ask/insist that CenturyLink executives comply with these regulations.

2308. Local Exchange Service Standards.

(a) Basic service standard. As part of its obligation to provide adequate basic local exchange service, each LEC shall construct and maintain its telecommunications network so that the instrumentalities, equipment, and facilities within the network shall be adequate, efficient, just, and reasonable in all respects in order to provide the following services or capabilities to each of its customers within its service area.

2310. Availability of Service — Adequacy of Facilities.

Each LEC shall employ prudent management planning practices, including budgeting and prioritizing resources, to ensure that adequate facilities and equipment are in service to provide service to prospective customers in its service territory and in areas certificated to the LEC in conformance with the LEC’s line extension policy.

Part of the problem in my area is that the “box” is full–there are no more phone lines available and this has been the case for months if not years.  The service person at my home Thursday called and attempted to move my line to a better connection; he was told none are available. Connections appear to vary.  None are available and they are not uniform.

Rule 2335 – Service interruptions for an extended time due to maintenance requirements shall be performed at a time that causes minimal inconvenience to impacted customers. The LEC shall take reasonable steps to notify the customer in advance of extended maintenance requirements. The LEC shall also make emergency service available when the provider knows that the service interruption affects 1,000 or more access lines and when the provider knows, based upon the prior experience of the LEC, that the interruption may last more than four hours during the hours of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. If the LEC cannot provide emergency service, it shall file a report of the occurrence as required by paragraph 2143(h).

2336. Adequacy of Service.

(a) Each LEC and toll service provider shall employ prudent management and engineering practices so that sufficient equipment and adequate personnel are available at all times, including the average busy hour of the busy season. To meet this objective, each LEC and toll service provider shall conduct traffic studies, employ reasonable procedures for forecasting future service demand and maintain the records necessary to demonstrate to the Commission that sufficient equipment is in use and that an adequate operating force is provided.

This does not apply to my home phone problem, but Evergreen is not considered a Denver metro exchange or an area where “effective competition” exists.

To summarize, per PUC regulations, the most serious problems are:

  1. Failure to repair known, reported service problems.
  2. Failure to make adequate network repairs necessary to provide uniform, working service to all customers.
  3. Failure to attempt to notify to customers of “extended maintenance requirements.”
  4. Failure to perform maintenance requirements at times that will minimize inconvenience to customers.
  5. Failure to provide appropriate/sufficient network capacity.
  6. Failure to comply with local permit/work area regulations.
  7. Failure to provide emergency services during outages.  (Per Russ Wittig, CenturyLink technician, the work in my area affects “1,000 households; plus there are hundreds of businesses in the area.  EDIT:  I have asked repeatedly for interim, dependable service; per David Schmidt:  “We would do it if you were a business.”  I do operate a small business out of my home; to me the implication is ‘you don’t pay enough.’)
  8. Failure to maintain adequate records of underground cables in order to prevent accidental cutting of cables.  (Per Gabe Kishimoter, CenturyLink technician, “We don’t know where they are.”)
  9. Failure to provide automatic billing adjustments for extended service interruptions.
  10. Failure to provide adequate, appropriate staffing “at all times.”
  11. Failure to provide, when asked, contact information for Public Utilities Commission staff assistance.

Overall there is a strong failure to comply.  The above list may not be exhaustive.  It seems endemic, systemic, and intentional.  Without question others in my immediate area are similarly affected and logic suggests this is happening elsewhere in the state.  I have asked CenturyLink employees on numerous occasions to provide such services and have been rebuked.  I have conversation notes, e-mails, photographs, and third parties (e.g., county officials) as evidence.

The most disturbing problem, aside from my continued lack of properly-working services, is CenturyLink employees’ attempts cancel–or coerce me to voluntarily cancel–their services.  Friday 9/14 I was called and explicitly told (virtually yelled-at) “Take your service elsewhere.”  I was then told I have the weekend to “decide” and that I would be called again on Monday to elicit a decision.  I don’t know if CenturyLink is going to cancel my service or not–there are strict regulations prohibiting that except under very specific conditions.  The phone call was so disturbing I considered contacting law enforcement authorities; I informed David Schmidt in writing that he may not e-mail or call me–if he does it again I will go to my local sheriff.  Two CenturyLink service representatives I spoke with Friday afternoon refused to do anything and an e-mail sent to general customer support has still not be replied-to.  I must characterize this exhortation as revenge–revenge based on my insistence that the above-listed failures be corrected.


I have spoken with and/e-mailed from CenturyLink:  David Schmidt, Tamara Neher, Mike McDonald, Chris Brown, Frank Kassay, Gary Dietz, and many others.

I am requesting:  repair, refund, apology, and record and investigate by the PUC.

Friday 9/14 I spoke with Gladys Rey and submitted information about the potential/threatened disconnection of my phone service.  I apologize for the overlap/redundancy.

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September 14th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

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I’m OK

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I’ve done my homework.

Roberta J. Moore.  She is the next up the line and she is responsible.  Managers are responsible for everything–people, budgets, environment, customers–within, well their area of responsibility.

So the question for today is, What will Roberta J. Moore do?  She could….

P.S.  Reminder to self:  No more phone calls!  If you’d like to talk with me you may make an appointment and come to my home…

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September 14th, 2012 at 1:06 am

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Yesterday while I was on the phone–an important call–my home phone and internet went out.  There was no communication whatsoever from CenturyLink.

  1. First I had to find the contractor supervisor and argue with him (Saul Farias, Advanced Underground).  He said “It’s gonna be a while.”  No CenturyLink employees were on site.  He said “You can call repair.”
  2. I drove across the highway where a CenturyLink truck was located.  Rich Woodward was obstinate (“It’s not my fault, I’m working with dead wires”)  and not helpful.  I stood on the side of the highway for some twenty minutes while he was inside the truck.  I asked to speak with the CenturyLink person responsible/in charge of the site and he refused.  He said a repair person would come to my home, seemingly, immediately.
  3. I drove home and checked again; still out.
  4. I drove back to the work site with a bill/CenturyLink contact numbers.  The contractor supervisor let me use his cellular phone and I called.  After some fifteen minutes of voice response menus and seemingly nothing, I was disconnected.
  5. I saw a CenturyLink truck in my neighborhood (Russ Wittig) and followed him; he was going to/at a park parking lot.  He called again for repair and gave me his card and the name of his supervisor.  I gave him the supervisor’s cell phone to return it.
  6. I drove across the highway to the only known pay phone in the area.  I called repair:  after some fifteen minutes of voice response systems and speaking with a representative I was disconnected again (seemingly a payphone time limit).  I called back–a third time–and asked to speak with Mike McDonald, the local repair supervisor whose name I was given by Russ Wittig and was connected with his voice mail.  I asked to speak with him, not be put into his voice mail; this meant the end of the call.  I explained the outage; told him all I knew:  a cable was cut and “it will be a while;” I asked for compensation for my driving, time, and extreme frustration.  I asked why there was no one with CenturyLink onsite.
  7. Because my internet service did not work I had to drive to Denver (Lakewood) to deposit a check (normally I can do it electronically).
  8. Later that day





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September 12th, 2012 at 9:46 am

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Past Failures

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I can’t believe this is still there.

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September 2nd, 2012 at 9:48 pm

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