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May 30, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Qwest, I Hate You. Passionately.

It’s official.  I hate Qwest.  You know, Qwest.  That giant entity of doom who we are dependent on for things like telephone service, high speed internet, blah blah blah.  Let me share with you the mind-numbing experience I am having attempting to get a new modem. 

 5/19 – Massive thunderstorm knocks out power to the house several times in the course of two hours.  Modem does not survive

5/20 – Call Qwest’s 1-800 number.  The recorded message politely informs me that I should try out Qwest’s super-cool online help chat feature.  This would be awesome, if I could get online.  Thanks for the advice, Qwest. 

I stay on the line.  Finally a speaker of poor English answers the phone and says “I would be happy to assist you.”  They walk me through a clearly scripted series of steps to troubleshoot my lack of internet connectivity.  Things like “Reverse the ethernet cable” and “Power down the modem and power it back up.”  I say I will call back later because I have somewhere to be.  The truth is, the futility of talking to this person makes me want to kill myself.

5/21 – Early morning at work I try to use Qwest’s super-cool online chat feature.  Chat lady finally comes online, eager to assist.  I tell her I think I need a new modem.  She asks a bunch of questions.  I answer them.  They send out a tech guy to the house to test the lines to the house.

5/22 – Tech guy shows up at the house to test lines.  All the lines are fine.  He calls me and says that my modem is probably blown, so I should get a new one.  Luckily I’ve only had this one three months, so replacement should be free, he tells me.  He lets me know I have to call the 1-800 number again to set up the modem swap.

5/24 – I call Qwest to ask for a new modem.  “No problem,” they tell me.  They will send me a label “right now, so I get it tomorrow” so I can send the modem back.  Once they get the modem back, they will send out a new modem.  The process should take “5-7 days” .  My other option is to pay a 99.95 deposit, you know, in the event I decide to go all renegade on them and keep the broken, useless modem as a paperweight with blinking lights.  It could happen.  I opt to wait for the label.

I mentioned that a year ago when this same thing happened, they were able to replace the modem the next day, by sending out a tech guy.  “No,” says the speaker of poor English.  “We only do it by UPS now.”  Crap.  My MySpace inbox must be overflowing by now.

5/30 – The label is STILL NOT HERE.  I call Qwest’s happy f’ing 1-800 number.  I want to puke when they tell me to try out their online chat.  I’m seriously experiencing inner rage; however, I am very polite and explain that I REALLY WANT THE INTERNET I AM PAYING AN EXORBITANT MONTHLY FEE FOR.  I say “Surely there must be a way to get a modem faster than this.  It’s 2007.  I should not have to wait for a modem like this. 

The speaker of poor English (not the same one as before, I might add) gives me two local (Colorado Springs) numbers to call.  “They should be able to help you swap out your modems,” he says.  I call the first number.  It’s freaking out of service.  The Qwest guy gave me a number that is not in service.  Suddenly it’s not surprising that this process is taking so long.  Morons.  The second number works!  Hurray!  A friendly, local, perfect-English lady answered.  “Help me,” I tell her.  “I need to swap this modem out!”

“They shouldn’t have told you to call us,” said the lady.  “We can’t do warranty replacements.  Qwest doesn’t let us.  I don’t want you to get it replaced here, because you would have to pay for something you should get for free.  Call them back.” 

Major eff.

I call Qwest again.  I am a seething ball of fury.  Another speaker of poor English answers this time, not just poor English but I-have-no-idea-how-to-construct-an-intelligible-sentence English, and I explain my quest with Qwest for the umpteenth time.  Unfortunately I don’t know that she has a clue what I am talking about. 

“I need to replace my modem,” I tell her.  “They sent out a label for me to send this one back, but it never got here.  I want a new modem.  Tomorrow.”

“You have two option,” says S.o.P.E.  “We can send out label, you send back modem and you get new modem in ten working day.”

“I did that,” I said.  “It’s not working.  I want a new modem.  Now.  Yesterday.”

“Oh, I see,” says S.o.P.E.  “They already do label send you.  You can deposit 99.95 on credit card and you get refund when you send modem back Qwest.”

“Can’t I just put it on my bill?”  I ask her.

“Let me find out help you,” she tells me.

I am on hold for thirteen minutes.

“Sorry you wait,” she says.  “We put deposit on next bill.  Now I transfer you to hardware person to help you with modem.”

I am on hold for a couple minutes and then Tech Guy answers.  (He speaks good English)

“Hello.  All I need is a credit card number for a 99.95 deposit and I can send out this modem.  You’ll have it tomorrow.”

“The lady just told me, like two minutes ago, that it was going on my next bill.”

“No, they don’t do that,” said the hardware man.  “I can’t send this out without a credit card.  Go ahead and give it to me.”

“Um,” I say.  “Um, I don’t think I will.  Can you put me back on with the lady?  She just told me I’d see it on my bill.  I don’t want to get charged twice.”

“That won’t happen,” the man said.  “It’s not even possible within our system.  Just give me the credit card and you’ll get your new modem tomorrow.”

“No,” I tell him.  “Though I’ve had a great time dealing with Qwest for the last week and a half, I think I’ll just talk to the lady again.”

“Hold on,” the man says.  “Let me see what I can find out.”

I’m on hold for seven minutes.

“Okay,” he says.  “We’re going to go ahead and waive that credit card requirement.  You’ll have your new modem tomorrow.  Just send the old one back and you’ll get your refund on your next bill.”

Stay tuned.  If I get the modem, the actual modem, tomorrow I may forgive them. 

It must be pretty hard for a mega-corporation such as Qwest to hire phone-people who have a clue (and a grasp on verbs), create a system that enables communication between their own workers, and allow local branches to take care of local people.  It is a communications company, sure!  But how can we expect an entity such as Qwest to operate with any semblance of common frickin’ sense?  The higher-ups probably don’t have much time to deal with such minor inconveniences.  After all, there’s golf to play!  And martinis to drink!  And tropical vacations to endure! 

Not that I am bitter.   



Leave a Comment
  1. Marvin Fretwell / Jun 29 2011 2:52 pm

    And look at what they charge! My 92 year old father has Qwest telephone and Qwest Internet, both basic packages only. He pays MORE for these two Qwest services than if he bought a smart phone and got Verizon’s unlimited internet and their basic cell phone service. Something is wrong when the stodgy old land-line service costs more than the latest cell phone technology. No wonder people are abandoning Qwest in droves. That cheers me up a lot. Their CEO makes $12 Million/year and runs a doomed company. Bye bye Qwest, and bye bye CEO. Just a matter of time.

  2. uh_huh / Feb 16 2011 7:45 pm

    ryan –


    Uh huh. As if clothes and shoes were the topic…..

    Or was that meant as spam?

  3. ryan / Oct 14 2010 5:43 pm

    i hate qwest too, bunch of damned liars. worst customer service EVER. EVER. check out zappos, now thats some customer service. i hate qwest.

  4. the other side / Aug 18 2010 6:08 pm

    You know the thing is I have found actually working for a call center. If you Treat the Representative on the phone with courtesy and are reasonable and patient… Most often you will find they are a LOAD more helpful. If you call up yelling and screaming and acting like an effing two year old… is it really that hard to imagine you’d get treated the same way you are acting? Ninety nine times in 150 calls I tend to find that if the customer had READ their billing statements… or PAID ATTENTION to what the Rep was SAYING not what they thought he was saying you wouldn’t have to call in the first place. They ALWAYS troubleshoot your line EVERY time you call because while this is your first time calling today the last 98 people could have rebooted their modem before calling or turned the powerswitch on (yes people really are that effing retarded) and simple troubleshooting fixes their issue.

  5. Corey Tidwell / Apr 7 2010 12:48 pm


    sorry to hear about your experience with your DSL service If you still need help let me know.


    Corey Tidwell

  6. Delancey / Apr 4 2010 8:51 pm

    I hate Qwest with every fiber of my being. Their Customer Service is simply a joke, from their robo cs line that routes you to another robo line that hangs up on you, to the employees who can’t assist you and are rude, to the fact that the bundle that was supposed to lower my monthly bill actually raised it by $10. Qwest is simply a joke. All their customer service does is enrage me!

  7. Roberta / Oct 27 2009 5:16 pm

    I hate qwest. They told me what my charge would be when I signed up and charged me more than that. It may have only been $20 more per month however that is $480 over the 2 year period that I am held in there bogus contract. Isnt that fraud, to charge more than the verbal agreement. So they did not uphold their end of the 2 year contract but I sure have to or I pay not only the $200 cancel fee but will have to pay the TV company that is contracted with them a cancelation fee too. I am sick of hearing I am sorry. Qwest you need to make it right….or train you people right. If I make a mistake at work I must make it right.

  8. Steve / Sep 2 2009 3:00 am

    Tom Martino’s company Liberty Bell Telecom is great, customer service that is actually helpful, and speaks english as a first language. They offer land line, DSL and TV bundles, I’ve had them since 1997 and they are great!

    Check them out at

    Cost’s less, more features, and real customer service, what’s not to love!

  9. cs / May 7 2009 2:32 pm

    I also am going around the phone tree/transfer/call back loop with qwest.

    Find it interesting that employees say they are mistreated by their supervisors, yet when you ask to speak to a supervisor, it is as if they don’t exist.

    Finally got a callback from a customer service supervisor after 6 days! I thought their call back time was 72 hours. She said they are behind on their call backs. Well no wonder, with the bad service and constant transfers, probably everyone wants a supervisor call back.

    Get it together qwest!

    No wonder most of your plans require a 3 year committment. It’s the only way you have to keep customers for 3 years because it is certainly not your customer service abilities!!

    I am so dissatisfied I called their corporate office and get this……. I had to leave a message on a machine! Are you kidding me!?! Not even a real person to answer the call? What the heck is it with this company!?!

    This is a telcom and I can’t even find an email address to contact the CEO or assistant or anyone on the board. I was advised by a VERY HELPFUL TalktoQwest on Twitter rep that I could send a letter.

    I will send a letter but find it absolutely ridiculous that a telcom CEO doesn’t even have a public email address, I mean even if they were screened by his admin assistant or another group of employees at least I’d be getting my message to the Corp Office.

    What a bummer! Believe me, if I wasn’t committed with my contract I’d be gone. But in the mean time I’m going to keep calling writing and emailing tweeting blogging etc about my experiences with Qwest.

  10. Frank563 / Apr 10 2009 1:10 pm

    Yes, it is true, qwest is the bottom of the barrel. They are famous for Early Termination Fees or EFT’s which are being fought by consumers. Go this website for all the details and if they have screwed you too see if you can join the class action:

    They are rude and generally don’t give a damn and I hope they lose this case big time. I told my Qwest business rep whilst arguing over an ETF about the case and that I was ready with a bottle of champagne to raise a grand toast when qwest lost the suit. According to him ‘they fight these all the time’ and never lose. Well, I will be watching it!

    Qwest supposedly ha a 2 or 3 year contract when the ‘statute of frauds’ says that it needs to be signed to be a valid contract and, of course, qwest never ever gets a signature. Good luck qwest you are a bunch of bottomfeeders and I hope you lose!!!!

  11. anisha / Dec 24 2008 2:04 pm

    you poeple are baztards that make fake websites hurting companys because they make a little tiney mistake i bet you make mistakes too if you hate them why don’t you fuck them

  12. anisha / Dec 24 2008 1:59 pm

    i love qwest how could you say that.

    It was easy.

  13. maleesha / Aug 28 2008 8:40 pm

    Those sound like awful experiences. Uggh, I hate Qwest. Did I mention that?

  14. Steffi / Aug 27 2008 5:26 pm

    Funny, change the dates and this sounds just like my experience with them.

  15. Scott / Aug 18 2008 6:47 pm

    Don’t even get me started on Qwest. I ordered local phone service for dial-up internet on July 30. Unfortunately, my computer bombed the same day(!) So I called Qwest within 24 hours to cancel my service. They complied, telling me I would only be billed for the installation charge ($18.35). Fine with me.

    So what happens? I get a bill the following week for $42.91, along with a letter from Qwest’s collection agency demanding payment, which they claimed was LONG overdue!

    Are you kidding me?

    As I said, my installation was on July 30. The collection agency said my service began on July 1st. What the @#$% is going on?

    I had to jump through a million hoops with Qwest’s “customer service” reps (who put you on hold at every opportunity) AND their freaking collection agency to get this thing straightened out. Now I’m praying the negligence on Qwest’s part doesn’t put a black mark on my credit report. Idiots.

  16. Dead Charming / Jun 10 2008 7:55 pm

    You had me at the title, but I almost pitched out of my chair by the end in fits of laughter.

    Oh man, have I been there. Sadly, Verizon isn’t any better, and that’s my only alternative.

  17. Employee / Aug 4 2007 7:43 pm

    Becky, that is true. You can request to speak to a “native speaking” tech. The only problem is that you are not spending any money on new service and the piss-ant amount of money you spend with Qwest – justifies the level of service you recieved.

  18. Cherikooka / Jul 16 2007 10:48 pm

    Ummm, I love them.

  19. pikespeakdenise / Jun 11 2007 2:36 pm

    So, DO you have that new modem? I know you certainly have not been interneting much, so I wonder…

  20. Becky / Jun 9 2007 6:30 pm

    Hey, so word on the street is that you can request to talk to a native English speaker when you’re stuck in foreign call center purgatory…I haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet. 😉

  21. Ian / May 31 2007 2:39 am

    I got fed up with Qwest years ago and switched to Liberty Bell Telecom (Tom Martino’s company). I’ve not had a single complaint or problem with them. It was absolutely worry-free and the best decision I ever made. Hey, if you decide to, tell ’em I referred you and they knock a dollar off my bill! WOOOOOOO!

    Hope you get your stuff resolved quickly.



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