Blount County couple finds switching phone service is no bargain

Blount County couple finds switching phone service is no bargain

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When Mildred picks up her phone she hears nothing. When Mildred picks up her phone she hears nothing.
"I was mad because they didn't have phone service, was afraid that if something happened they wouldn't get help in time," Meleny Boring said. "I was mad because they didn't have phone service, was afraid that if something happened they wouldn't get help in time," Meleny Boring said.

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Traditional telephone companies are feeling the competition from cell phone providers.

As a result, many landline companies are making telemarketing calls to ask you to switch providers.

An elderly Blount County woman who switched now regrets her decision. We have chosen not to reveal her last name.

When Mildred picks up her phone she hears nothing. There is no dial tone. She says there has been no service with her new phone provider since she signed up with the company.

Her service with Birch Communications started March 23.

"They said for $39 a month I would get long distance and call waiting," Mildred said.

Mildred's daughter, Meleny Boring, watches out for her 89-year-old mother and her father, William. The couple has been married for 70 years.

When an unsolicited salesman called three weeks ago, Mildred liked the better price and agreed to switch to Birch.

"I thought it was a good offer, if I got all of that for the price," she said.

Now she feels like she didn't get anything.

"I called them and it just rang and rang, and they have an answering machine," said Boring. "I said there is something wrong with your phone, it is not working. When I picked it up there was no dial tone or anything."

Mildred says she called Birch repeatedly.

"They'd say everyday, 'We'd be out there by seven o'clock tomorrow.' Nobody ever showed up," Mildred said.

"I was mad because they didn't have phone service, was afraid that if something happened they wouldn't get help in time," Meleny said.

Frustrated, Mildred asked her daughter to call Birch and drop the service.

"They never hooked them up," Meleny said. "Or if they did, it just never worked."

A Birch spokesperson told Mildred they have agreed to cancel their deal. She is going back to AT&T.

Birch Communications tells 6 On Your Side they had rare technical problems in setting up the service and regret what happened.

Birch says it has waived the couple's entire bill.

While Mildred and William continue to live in their own home, they're confident in their daughter's decision-making as she vigilantly watches out for them.


Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports can be seen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on 6 News at 6:00.

If you have a consumer question, send Don an email or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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