I am an unsatisfied customer, dealing with Clearwire for the full 2 years of my contract (It’s almost time for my parole hearing in hell! :-)). This is intended to be a guide to those of you trying not to get stuck with the early termination fee or any recharges after you have canceled.
1. Call the customer service line 1-888-CLEARWIRE at some point to find out the exact date of the end of your contract. (I know, this is the 21st century, and they are an ISP, which means they should be able to receive, read, and answer emails, but still, in order to accomplish anything with this company, you will need to put on your best corporate pleasant voice, and be ready to be on hold for a long time.) Please avoid being mean to the poor peons who work in their customer service dungeon. It’s the company’s policy that makes them this way, so try not to make it personal.
2. Once you know the final date of your contract, wait until you are in your last month of service, and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know you wish to terminate all services from them upon the final date of your contract. Then, call the customer support number 888-CLEARWIRE, and inform them you are checking to see if they have received your email. If all goes well, you will be able to tell them you are trying to cancel your service at the end of your contract term, and that you want to make sure you are not charged either an early term. fee or any extra months as a result of renewal of contract without your consent.
3. After putting you on hold for a while, you’ll get to talk to a customer service rep. who will ask you all the silly questions they are forced to ask anyone who wants to leave. Be honest, but not mean. I said something like, “I love the idea of mobile anywhere internet, but the way your company has implemented the service is abhorrent. I will be happy to consider you again once I start seeing reviews that say you’ve changed your ways.” They will try to sell you on their new Wi-MAX service, which I would have jumped on if they had offered me a “We’re really sorry for being such dicks to you for the past 2 years, so here’s a HUGE discount, and a no-obligation trial period for our new service, if you will promise to stop saying such bad things about us to everyone you know.” Then, they will offer you a 40 dollar gift/credit card if you will recommend the service to anyone (so they can mail your modem, which you’ve probably kicked around for 2 years), to the new customer. I told them I really wouldn’t feel good about recommending the service to anyone. Once you’ve been through all of that, they should be willing to send you a UPS label for returning your modem. Print it out asap, and make sure to send that modem in BEFORE your contract term. date, but AFTER the date of your final payment.
In this way, you should be able to cancel your service without any charges. Notice I didn’t say without any hassles. Everything involving Clearwire’s customer support is a hassle, so just bear down and get ready for it. Again, don’t make it personal with the rep, unless they insult you first ;). I like to spread mirth and cheer and ask them to please help me, as it’s just time to move on etc. etc…
The moral of the story is this: customer service should never make it this difficult for a customer to do anything at all. Customer service should bend over backwards to do what you want them to do, or if impossible, make it worth your while to continue paying for a service that doesn’t meet your needs. Lastly, customer service should make it easy for you to decline paying for the service if it really can’t meet your needs. Let’s hope that clearwire’s story makes it mainstream, and companies begin to see that just because we pay a bill doesn’t make us happy to do so.