Google Fiber may have rankled customers with botched installations that damaged property, but its recent move to turn off a Kansas City residential customer's service over a 12-cent charge will go down as an even bigger blunder.
Kansas City resident Victoria Tane saw her Google Fiber service get cut off in August, according to a Kansas City Star article. Kane said that she spent two days trying to figure out what was wrong.
“I thought it was on my end,” Tane told the Kansas City Star.
Google Fiber’s customer service told Tane that her internet service had been suspended due to an overdue 12-cent balance. According to the service provider, Tane had been informed various times via e-mail and two voice messages.
After Tane offered to immediately pay the 12-cent charge, she was told Google Fiber would not take checks for less than $10. Tane said she did not see the e-mails or the voice mails and acknowledged she was “snarky” about offering to tape a dime and two pennies to an envelope.
Google Fiber forgave the charge, restored Tane’s service in less than an hour and credited her account for $30.
For its part, Google Fiber said it made an effort to contact Tane a number of times and that it has since turned the service back on.
“As with any customer who has a balance due, we made repeated attempts to reach Ms. Tane to resolve the matter,” Google said in a statement. “Google Fiber values our customers, and we have since worked with Ms. Tane to restore her fiber service.”
While Tane is eligible to purchase the $70-a-month 1 Gbps service, she opted to purchase the much slower free 7-year 5 Mbps service. As part of the agreement to get the free service, Tane paid $300 to connect, plus $25.08 for taxes and fees.
By parceling out the $300 payment over one year, Google Fiber saw a dozen monthly payments of $25, plus taxes and fees. After the Kansas City sales tax rate jumped to 8.475%, Tane’s account was charged with the higher tax charge.
Tane said she did not get the e-mails from Google Fiber about the 12-cent charge and threats to shut off service because the messages went to a Gmail account that was set up for her when she purchased the 5 Mbps service but that she does not use.
This appears to be an isolated incident. Similar 5-Mbps customers that were contacted by The Star also did not know about the 12-cent charge but have not seen any service interruptions.