Trying to Close a Lingo Account: My Horror Story

I used Lingo for a few years without any problem. I never had any reason to contact their customer support until deciding to cancel my account.

Canceling my Lingo account was an absolute nightmare. In the end I spent nearly three hours on the phone before I was finally able to speak to someone who would process the cancellation.

I never spoke to anyone in their Cancellation Department. Honestly, I’m not sure that that department has any employees. In the end it came down to a war of attrition. I had to wait on hold and complain vigorously enough that they finally decided I was serious about wanting to close the account.

Many companies understand that when a customer calls to cancel, they have an opportunity to save that account. After this dreadful experience not only will I refuse to do business with Lingo again, I’ll tell everyone I can to avoid them like the plague.

Below is the log that I kept while trying to cancel my account. I’ve done a little grammatical cleanup from the notes I originally posted during the phone calls.

Several weeks ago I made the decision to close my voip account with Lingo in favor of just using my cell phone. I got a new cell phone for my house and transferred my phone number from Lingo to my cell provider. Now I’m trying to cancel my Lingo service… what a joke. As I started writing this I’d been on hold for exactly one hour.

Friday, December 17th:

  • 11:30am – I first called Lingo. I listen to the recorded message and navigate their menu system to talk to Customer Service.
  • 11:46am – I waited on hold for 16 minutes before talking to a guy who took my account information and put me back on hold.
  • 11:47a – He’s going to transfer me to the cancellation department.
  • 11:52a – The guy asked for a callback number. The cancellation department is too busy to take my call. From the way that he is talking about it it sounds like the cancellation department is one person who is out to lunch. He said that someone would try to call me back in the next 48 hours. I told him that this was unacceptable because I don’t want to continue paying for service that I’m not using. He’s going to try again so I go back on hold.
  • 12:02p – He still can’t transfer me because no one is available to take the call. I ask to speak to a manager and am placed back on hold.
  • 12:03p – The manager is too busy to speak to me. I tell guy that I’ll hold for the manager.
  • 12:06p – I finally get to speak to a supervisor. I express frustration about this situation and ask what she can do to help. She is very nice but absolutely no help at all. She says that there is nothing she can do except continue trying to transfer my call. Because I have no other options, I agree.
  • 12:37p – I’ve been on this call for over an hour now and am still on hold. I should have used a landline for this call. This is chewing through my cell minutes.
  • 12:50p – Lingo wins this round. It’s easy for me to sit on hold while I’m working at my desk but I have to go to a meeting. I am extremely frustrated!

December 22nd: my second attempt

  • 9:09am – Called Lingo back. Went through their menu system and am on hold again.
  • 9:20a – got a recorded message saying that they are too busy to take my call and asking me to please call back during normal business hours. According to their website, they’ve been open for over two hours already today (Mon – Fri: 9AM – 9PM EST)… this is normal business hours!
  • 9:21a – I call back and am again placed on hold.
  • 9:33a – I got the recorded message again and was disconnected. I called back immediately. I really wish that their hold music had more than just one song being played over and over and over…

Gotta love their “Terms and Conditions“:

Cancellations will only be accepted via phone through Lingo’s Account Management Department at the toll-free number listed on the first page of your invoice, and will be effective upon the date that you cancel with a Lingo Account Management Representative. You will be given a cancellation confirmation number by the representative. Service cancellation requests by mail, e-mail, fax, equipment return, or any other form of non-telephonic communication requests will not be accepted.

We only accept cancellations by phone. Also, we don’t answer calls to that phone.

  • 9:44a – Disconnected again. Called back again. I guess that their system is programmed to hang up on me every 11 minutes.
  • 9:55a – Disconnected again. Called back again. I guess that it’s more likely that the system hangs up on me after being on hold for 10 minutes. The extra minute is probably just the time it takes me to call and get back in the queue.
  • 10:06a – Disconnected again. Called back again. At least I was smart enough to route the calls through Google Voice this time so I’m not using my cell’s minutes.
  • 10:17a – Disconnected again. Calling back again. I think I’ll try connecting to the billing department again (that’s who I spoke with last Friday). They still put me on hold for the Cancellations Department but at least I didn’t have to keep calling back.
  • 10:26a – Spoke to a Customer Support Representative. She verified my information and then put me back on hold. She gave me instructions on how to call back “just in case we’re disconnected.” What a joke.
  • 10:32a – a manager is on the line. She said that since I’ve been on hold for so long and since I had spoken to a manager on Friday that she would cancel the account for me. On Friday I was told that the manager I spoke with didn’t have the authority to cancel an account. I don’t understand her logic for finally accepting the cancellation but I really don’t care. Just close this account! I asked her for a confirmation number and was put back on hold while she processes the cancellation.
  • 10:36a – The manager processed the account and I have just sent me an email with the cancellation confirmation. This process has been an absolute joke!

The moral of this story: Don’t signup for service with Lingo. It’s not worth it.

Seriously? Microsoft defends return to DRM

When I read “Microsoft defends return to DRM” I honestly thought the article was going to be a parody. As far as I’m concerned there are only two possible outcomes when sticking DRM on music:

  1. Your customers understand DRM and are frustrated because they have to waste time getting around the “protection.”
  2. Your customers don’t understand DRM and are mad because their music doesn’t work the way it should.

But as far as I can tell the article is legit. The answers were given by Hugh Griffiths, Head of Mobile at Microsoft UK. In retrospect he probably wishes that he had referred the interviewer to someone in the PR department.

Most surprisingly, Mr. Griffiths makes absolutely no attempt to spin DRM as being beneficial or to try to justify its use. You might want to read the full article, these are just a few things that jumped out at me.

Why has Microsoft gone back to DRM when the vast majority of music services have ditched it?

It’s a first step.

Translation: We’ve always been extremely forthright about our intentions to gain monopoly power over every aspect of your digital life. This plays a small part in that larger initiative.

[Customers] certainly tell us that they like listening to music while they are out and about, on their mobile phones.

Translation: Everyone listens to music on iPods and we’re not making any money from that.

What is your message to consumers – why should I come to you instead of Amazon or iTunes? What do you offer that none of your competitors do?

There’s a whole bunch of people who are very loyal to MSN on the web…

Translation: Being a monopoly has provided us with a butt-load of customers, most of whom aren’t savvy enough to realize that there are options.

The fee for downloading tracks – £1.50 – is relatively high compared to 79p on iTunes and less than that on certain Amazon tracks. Why is that?

We’re constantly reviewing our pricing and if we feel this price point is incorrect, we’ll look to amend it.

Translation: I just told you, our customers are du-umb! I’m pretty sure that we’re going to raise the price to £3.00 after the first couple of weeks. We’ll just explain that we need to charge more to cover the cost of… something. Our customers genuinely appreciate the opportunity to pay a premium.

If I buy these songs on your service – and they’re locked to my phone – what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months’ time?

Well, I think you know the answer to that.

Translation: Yeah, we’re screwing our customers. So what? I buy all my music from Amazon so it really doesn’t affect me.

Seriously Microsoft? Seriously?

Are you a member of the DNRC?

I nearly fell out of my seat laughing when I read this Dilbert post:

Researchers have discovered that people who are incompetent generally lack the knowledge that they are incompetent.

This lack of self-awareness is the glue that holds democracy together.

It is all the more funny because I mostly agree!