This was a comment on one of the threads but I thought it deserved its own post:
Thanks to the creator of “WildBlueSucks.Info”!!!
I’ve had the misfortune of being a Wildblue Internet Satellite customer since December 2007. I work from my home, and choose to live in a rural area, and satellite Internet is the only “non-dial-up” Internet access option I have. From talking with other local Wildblue and HughesNET customers, apparently both providers are a bird of the same feather regarding the FAP (Fair Access Policy). During the sales process of attracting customers like me, Internet satellite providers certainly don’t talk about the sharp white teeth of the FAP. Unfortunately, I misunderstood what how the FAP works, I thought it was like our cell phone providers where the number of available airtime minutes resets at the end of each month and/or cycle. This is NOT the way the FAP works – BUYER BEWARE!!!
My work requires me to use an online back-up solution (Carbonite.Com), and this process kills the miniscule upload limitations of the FAP for my service option – i.e. 5.0GB. I log daily my usage from the Wildblue bandwidth monitor – http://www.wildblue.com/myaccount/index.jsp – and have found the following hard truths about WildBlue’s FAP:
1. WildBlue’s tech support lies about how this “bandwidth monitor” works. They have admitted to me that it does not reflect “real-time” measurements of your actual usage. Thus a responsible person cannot accurately monitor / manage keeping out of the FAP penalty box.
2. I keep a daily log of actual “bandwidth monitor” screen-shots and track that data in an Excel spreadsheet. There is no precise methodology that I have found / observed as to how WildBlue’s FAP translates into actual available bandwidth to users. For example, since March of 2008, my upload bandwidth usage averages 3.3GB at any one given time. This means that although I’m paying for 5.0GB of up upload bandwidth in my monthly Wildblue service fee, I’m only able to access / use 1.7GB of uploading bandwidth at any given time. In other words, I do not have access to the remaining 3.3GB of upload bandwidth I’m paying for because of the FAP’s methodology of how it measures what you’ve historically used and sets that unchangeable number to what’s left in your service plan’s upload availability. Again, this number never resets back to zero, thus I’m paying for 5.0GB of upload bandwidth capacity, but Wildblue only grants me access to 1.7GB of that 5.0GB based on my past usage – NOTE: This is the same for the “download” bandwidth levels as well. To explain my point, WildBlue’s FAP is like buying all your stuff at the “company store”, you make $100, but your paycheck is only $30, because the rest they’ve laid claim to for past goods purchased / used.
3. When confronting Wildblue about their FAP violation, here’s what I went through:
a. Tech support – no help on this issue, and they refused to connect me with anyone above the person who answered the phone.
b. I was not able to find a Wildblue Communications corporate phone number; then found that they were purchased by a company called ViaSat in San Diego, CA (Chief Executive Officer is Mark D. Dankberg). Eventually, I tried requesting information from Wildblue about “commercial” grade services with more bandwidth. In essence here were my options:
i. I would have to go to another company who’s a reseller of Wildblue Internet satellite services
ii. Pay two-times more per month for a few GB’s more bandwidth monthly and no increased speed (upload or download)
iii. This would require me having to buy out the remainder of my existing Wildblue contract (no transfers)
iv. Pay for additional service / set-up charges with the new company to get the same service I’m currently getting but with increased
v. Have to get a new Email address
vi. Still have to deal with Wildblue’s “bandwidth monitor” requirements
vii. Good deal eh?
c. When you go into FAP violation, they “throttle” back your bandwidth speed to that of dial-up. When I asked Wildblue how long will I be in the penalty box, they cannot / will not give an answer. They have a magic formula that they apparently can’t share with the customer as they simply state; it depends on your upload/download usage. So I asked the question, “If I do not turn on my computer, and no one else is using the Wildblue Internet connection, how long will I be in penalty box / violation?” They cannot or will not answer that question. I finally pressed a Wildblue sales guy at their Colorado (former headquarters) office hard enough that he told me about two-weeks based on how much I went over my upload quota. My job afforded me the luxury of scheduling a 2-week business trip, and upon my return, I was still in the FAP penalty box. It took 15 days to have the “normal speed” turned back on. Effing amazing!!!!
I pray for the day I have an alternative to dial-up and Wildblue here in my area (South Dakota). I hope that day comes soon! Wildblue / ViaSat in my experience, engage in dishonorable and unethical business practices. I accept 100% responsibility for my actions of signing up for this service, and have done everything in my power to try to understand Wildblue’s business practices, and do my best to be a good steward of our agreement. However, Wildblue’s actions are vastly different from their intentions, and misleading the customer is their true business model, not providing a good Internet access service to honest paying customers!
The following post was written by a former tech support agent for WildBlue Satellite Internet service. This website takes no responsibility for the accuracy or content of the message and has not confirmed the validity of the post (not that WildBlue would confirm it) so please use at your own risk.
FORMER WILDBLUE TECHNICAL SUPPORT AGENT
I was just terminated today July 26, 2010 from Wildblue.
The reason for my termination was that I took a telephone call from an angry customer that was told that Wildblue was 10 times faster than Cable and DSL.
I told the customer that that statement was not true and we were slower than cable and dsl.
I also asked the customer if she had cable or dsl available in here area.
For telling the customer that wildblue was slower than DSL/cable and asking her if she had DSL/Cable in here area, I was terminated.
If a customer called with slow speeds, we were just instructed to have them fill out 2 forms called Information Gathering (http://help.wildblue.net/care/article/4113&n=1) and Slow Connectivity (http://help.wildblue.net/care/article/4117&n=4). We also had to open a ticket which we would close at the end of the call and give a ticket number to the customer. We would have the customer log on to toast.net to perform 3 speed tests. Once speed came back lower than the customer was paying for, we told the customer the following: Speeds are not guaranteed. Your rate plan has UP TO 1.5mbps (for pro), 1.0mbps (select), 512kbps (value). The actual Wildblue average for Value was 200kbps, Select 500kbps, Pro 900kbps. We would tell the customer everything was working fine as long as they were close to average. If they were not close to average, we would make up some story about how testing at toast.net is never 100% accurate, or it was the web hosts problem like hostrocket, yahoo, godaddy and not our problem. We would then get the customer off the telephone and move on to our next call.
Our Fair Access Policy was horrible as well. It was a rolling 30 day period which means it could go to 2 different billing cycles and never start over at the time your new bill is paid. It pretty much went back 30 days from each day. Example, if today is July 26, 2010, it took usage from June 27th, 2010 to today.
Hughes net gives you unlimited downloading between the hours of 1am to 6am. We never had any unlimited downloading.
Our system was horrible when it was cloudy, snowing, raining, pretty much horrible all together.
I assisted customers with technicians not showing up, modem being offline, customers calling after 3 months of install and into a contract and having to pay $95 to have a technician come out and fix a faulty install (I should say wind storm instead of faulty install since we never would blame our technicians for a bad install we always had to ask if they had storms lately, etc)
We would give you a free Discount Repair Program, Month of Service and Service call if you said the Magic Words, “I am going to cancel”. Pretty much “I am going to cancel” is the statement you need to use to get things free from Wildblue.
We had 3 different systems we would use. Infinys (name of our Billing Program), Support Portal (name of our system that can see if your service is up and running) and CIMS (the system to initially look up the customer). Link to Infinys is https://portal.servicecenter.wildblue.net:8772/go?to=UA_Signin&from=dummy&task=dummy&redirectFlag=true Support Portal https://portal.servicecenter.wildblue.net/ and CIMS https://cims.wildblue.cust-serv.com/WildBlueCims/login.aspx
Infinys was a program designed by Convergys. I am not sure who designed Support Portal and CIMS.
The customer knowledge base was help.wildblue.net/kb/ The employees knowledge base was help.wildblue.net/care/
The Wildblue default installer ID was 34853836. We would always have to use then when customers were suspended for the system not letting them sign the customer agreement. This happened all the time.
When a customer called to pay a bill we would process it in the Infinys program and we never had a confirmation number since I do not believe the charge was instant. So pretty much you could call with an invalid credit card or one with insufficient funds and we would turn you back on and not know about it for a day or so.
The simple fact of the matter is that Wildblue was not a very good service. People constantly called with problems and forget about getting online if it is Cloudy or raining. Also forget about getting decent speeds in some areas because they have way too many people on a circuit than they should have.
We were trained to always Apologize to the customer and try and talk nice to them under any circumstance. We always had to say at the end of the call “For your convenience, you can chat live with us at wildblue.net” This always seemed to make the customers get mad and they would say, “I would if I had internet service, etc”
So I guess if I were stuck living out in the Country I would probably choose HughesNet. #1 because they are a KU BAND service which works in the rain/clouds, #2 they have been around longer #3 Commerical businesses use them, #4 From talking to our customers they always talked about having hughesnet in the past and it sounded like a much better system from what they described. (I did use HughesNet back in the 90’s when it was one way receive only. It worked pretty good
Hope this helps clear up everything with WildBlue.
This was sent to me by Lisa in AR and wanted to spread the word about WildBlue so, being more “to the point”, here is her story:
I decided to go television/cable free and watch my programs on Netflix and Hulu. Evidently I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t know that satellite internet doesn’t do live streaming video; the salesman assured me there would be no problem, sold me the high tier package, and then gave me a phone number to call back if there were a problem: turns out the phone number he gave me is the number for United Healthcare Medical Insurance!
AFter a week of total frustration and many calls to Wildblue, Internet Explorer and Netflix, I cancelled, requesting my initial set-up fee and monthly charge to be refunded and the early termination fees to be waived. The man I talked to in the cancellation department assured me that if the recorded call did indeed indicate that the salesman mis-represented what satellite internet was capable of, that I would get my money back. He gave me a ticket number and told me to call back in two days.
I called back, and was told by a Supervisor (after requesting one) that no, I would not get my money back, that the recorded call could not be listened to as it was “corrupted somehow” and that they would waive the early termination fees and that’s all. I am out 111.00 for the initial set-up, $165 for the pole mount, and 84.95 for the first months service—unbelievable. More than $300 for one week of frustration and no service! Wildblue is not an ethical company, does not stand behind their product or service, and should be boycotted—SPREAD THE WORD!
We are ramping up our efforts here and looking to really push forward with a class-action against Wildblue and we need your help!
While I will be emailing everyone who has an account on this blog over the next couple of days, I KNOW there are a LOT of lurkers (people who are just waiting and watching). In order to push forward with the BEST plan of action, we need to know where everyone is from. Please post a comment here (no account required) or email me through my other website at DamionFlynn.com
I need to know your city, state, and county and have a way of contacting you. If you fill out the form here and leave a comment, I will be able to contact you through email but the best thing is probably just to fill out my contact form on my other website.
I received an email from a woman (Rhonda in TN) who told me that they have been repeatedly hit with the WildBlue FAP and had their speeds dropped down. When she contacted WildBlue about it, they refused to give her any proof, which she wanted because she said they hardly do anything but check their email and such. So you are not hearing a third party story, I have copied her email, word-for-word below:
I can’t say that I am happy to write to you under these circumstances, but I, too, have had my barn load of Wildblue problems! When we first hooked up with wildblue, our speed was great and we were downloading/uploading with no problems whatsoever. After a few months, though, wildblue started saying that we were running over our “limit” of download bandwidth and started cutting our speed back drastically. Then, even though we pay our bills, they cut us off completely! Well…we called them and asked point blank to please PROVE to us this so called overused bandwidth so we could find out what the problem was. Of course, you can very well imagine, they said, “we don’t have that information”. Bull!!! Even when I had sad speed dialup, I could look up on an hourly basis and see what bandwidth I was using. They think we are all so stupid that we will just TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT that we are all using up loads of bandwidth without a shred of proof from wildblue to back their claims up for charging us, then slowing down our speeds or cutting us off. We have called several times and can’t get any more information from them except that we need to watch our download gauge.
Well…now, here is a little something interesting for you. I also have DishNet Television satellite service, which is also affiliated with wildblue. My wildblue bill is on my dishnet bill, as a matter of fact. I was having a bit of trouble with one of our receivers, so I called tech support for DishNet to ask what to to. They were more than helpful and within a few days, we had a replacement receiver. Here’s the interesting part. I talked and asked questions with the tech lady for over an hour about several things, including upgrading my service for DishNet. But, I told her I was very upset with wildblue service and wasn’t sure if I should invest any further money into their company. Well…well….when women talk, sometimes things “come out” in the open, you see. The tech lady I spoke to was very nice and when I told her of my problems with wildblue, she told me, and I quote, “you couldn’t PAY ME ENOUGH to work on the tech side of wildblue right now!!”. She told me that several months back, wildblue hooked up with Google thinking that this would make things better for the customers and be a good way to out do Hughsnet, another complete waste of satellite internet service (we were with them before we got wildblue..they suck too!). Well, when they got whatever service they got from Google, it had a lot of “back door applications” going on, which eats up bandwidth like crazy! She said that DishNet and Wildblue customer service is in the same building in Virginia, I think she said. She said that wildblue can’t keep tech reps in because so many people are so angry about the same problems. What is happening is that wildblue hooking up with google has caused so many problems, their tech workers are working around the clock trying to fix it, but refuse to tell the public due to the huge amount of money they would not only loose having to compensate those customers already pissed, but would loose any incoming possible customers that might sign up with them. I don’t know about you, but wildblue is NOT advertised around these parts, but Hughsnet is on the TV all the time!! This representative of DishNet told me that wildblue is trying to make the problems look like it is the fault of the customers and trying to prove it to the customers without any proof, when they KNOW all along it is their glitch and we are paying for it. Where I live, I don’t have much choice….it is either horrible speed dialup (and I do mean horrible…we are at the butt end of everything here and the lines are so bad, even my phone service sucks!), I can opt to pay $900 a month for T-1 (NOT!! can’t afford that by any means!), no DSL even offered due to the age and horrible condition of the phone lines out here and cable isn’t an option either. So, satellite is my only choice and I can hardly afford that! And, I can’t afford it with bad service!! We run a small business out of our home and if the internet goes out, we are out of business, if we aren’t making money, we can’t pay the bill, if we can’t pay wildblue’s bill, they cut us off….it’s a wildblue circle, I guess you could say!!
Anyway, I wanted to pass this tidbit on to you. I have already contacted a local “That’s Messed Up” news piece on a local channel who handle this sort of thing. He said he has had many complaints about them and is considering doing a piece on the problem. If you guys do get a class action lawsuit going, please put me on the list. We have lost money due to their incompetence and I want my money back! If we could just get this out to the media, I think it would break wide open. I am going to keep trying to get this through in any way I can from my end, please keep me informed as to what you guys do…..I believe if enough of us gather together against them and get a good lawyer to represent us little folks, we could win this thing and make them pay! Thanks for the great work you are doing, by the way.
Okay – I thought this one would be kind of funny and yet ironic all at the same time. On another post about WildBlue and related companies having poor service and bad attitudes, we had a WildBlue installer (tbagg) jump in on the conversation and telling us how we would not have a chance at going after a class action and how his dodge neon wouldn’t do 150 etc.
He raised some legitimate arguments which I appreciated and gladly posted as I think it is imperative that we allow others to post their opinions, regardless of what they are.
The funniest thing though is that he helped me to prove a point about how “helpful” WildBlue and their affiliates are. I have been unable to get anyone that could give me a straight answer about removing my satellite dish from my house. I want to make sure that there are no “dangers” (electrocution, etc) in removing it and if so, I want to know how. My local installers will not answer it for me, even though I have given them no indication of who I am – just asked a simple question and they give me the run around before finally hanging up. Well, since tbagg was so vocal on the blog, I thought I would shoot him an email, again, not leading on to who I was – below is a copy:
I got your email off a WildBlue-related website and hope you do not have a
problem answering a question for me.
I want to remove the satellite off my house but was curious as to power
source prior to moving. The installation company is a joke and I can’t
even get them to answer my calls so I will be removing this myself.
I can easily figure out how to removed it (unbolting, but need to know if
there is anything specifically that needs to be disconnected inside the
home prior to disconnecting outside.
I thought this was a relatively easy question for him since he stated that he installed many systems. Of course, rather than answering what would have been a very easy question, he shoots an email over to a friend to get him to look up my email domain and see who i am, then responds with my contact information and a note from his friend telling him to ignore me.
I have to assume that the general mentality of anyone employed or subcontracted by WildBlue must have to be pre-qualified in the art of working harder to avoid service. This just went to prove a point that many of these guys would rather work harder to NOT give an answer than to just give the easy one.
While I realize it is not hard to do a domain lookup, this guy had to email it to a friend and wait for the response, ultimately responding two days later to let me know that he knew who I was and he was going to ignore me. Then, he had the audacity to come post about it on the other thread. I thought that was the FUNNIEST part, and kind of the icing on the cake.