I am Now a Sage Telecom Customer

I told you a couple weeks ago that Prairie Stream (a local telecom service here in Independence) was going out of business at the end of November. Frankly, that startled me quite a bit; I had thought they were in better shape financially than apparently they were. Their owner, and the other half of the business, Terra World (an ISP here) will be remaining in business. Its just the telephone side of the operation which is gone. I 'jumped the gun' you might say, and immediatly set about finding a replacement local carrier; I chose a company called 'Trinsic', which was a very bad mistake.

First I tried to go with Sage Telecom, but the response I got from Sage was that they were 'not allowed to swap in customers from Prairie Stream', that the tariff did not allow it. She referred me to a list of five different carriers from whom they _were_ allowed to swap with. One of the carriers was SBC/ATT, (_damned_ if I am going to go to that bunch again!), four others, and one called 'Trinsic' which turned out to have rather high rates. Admittedly I did not feel very well that day, and in a panic to assure I did not lose my service, I went with Trinsic.

I _assumed_ Trinisic knew what they were doing: they told me they intended to 'mirror' my account directly from Prairie Stream. I assumed they knew what they were talking about; when I first called them the lady who took my order already had my number on her computer there. She quoted to me all the service I already had and said they would duplicate it as it was, 'in two or three days'. Sure enough, as Trinsic claimed, they took over my line and my 620-331 number three days later. Trouble was, they were missing a few things which I needed very much: none of my star features were on the line unless I wanted to pay extra for them (as if $57 per month was not steep enough) and more important -- the most important of all -- my 'distinctive ring' line -- (the 620-331 number which goes ring-ring) was missing. Now, the ring-ring number is important to me; my 800 toll-free line rings into that; my front door intercom rings into that; my fax machine responds to that ringing cadence. All of these things would have to be reprogrammed to whatever new ring-ring number Trinsic wanted to come up with.

Trinsic insisted that they would have to 'ask SBC for a new number' for me; and that SBC would not re-assign me the same ring-ring number I had had all along. I told the lady that my 800 number would be out of service until whenever, that my front door would be unanswerable until whenever, and that my fax machine was likewise out. Her response was 'well I am sorry but there is nothing I can do ... you will need to call back on Monday' (this was late Friday afternoon when I discovered things were down) and 'maybe they will be able to help you.' I got the same song and dance when I called back to Trinsic on Monday morning. In fact, on Monday morning the woman I spoke with insisted that my 800 number was a different thing and should not have been affected. Dumb! However that did not prevent Trinsic from sending me a bill for about a hundred dollars (based on a monthly service estimate of fifty dollars from when I had ordered their service several days earlier).

On Monday morning I also called into Prairie Stream and chatted with a woman there who told me 'it is true; we are all out of a job as of the end of November' and when I told her about my experience with Sage (their claim they were unable to take accounts from Prairie Stream) she replied that had been true, but as of that same day, Sage had filed an 'amended tariff' which allowed them to do so; 'try them again and see what you get now.' My next call was to Sage Telecom in Wichita.

The woman there (at Sage) typed my phone number into _her_ computer and said 'yes, we can swap you out' give me four days to have it done.' I warned her explicitly, 'mirror the account EXACTLY as it was at Prairie Stream, including the distinctive ring-ring number, which is 331-xxxx.' I do not want to have to pay to have the 800 number vendor re-program me, nor screw around with my front door intercom and all that stuff. She assured me it would be done, and 'I am sorry but it will take us a week to do it, Thanksgiving is in this week, a day lost from work for all our people.' I told her, that's fine; but do it EXACTLY as it is set up now. Very effeciently she said it would all work out okay.

True to her word, late Monday I tried 'double zero' as she suggested and got a 'Welcome to Sage' message. Still unbelieving, I followed up with a call to 331-xxxx my distinctive ring-ring line, and I tried calling my 800 number and I sent Raymond out to ring the front door intercom ... they all worked just fine! Just as they always had back when Prairie Stream had been my carrier.

So it would seem if I had not been so anxious and jumped the gun to make certain I had phone service, and waited until Sage got their tariff in place, the swap-out would have gone as planned. (In fact, once I made my second call to Sage, it was handled correctly and quite quickly.)

In addition to monthly rates of $25-$30 for _unlimited_ local calling service and anywhere from 60 to 180 minutes per month of free long distance (depending on the basic package you choose) you also always get to call other Sage customers for -free- at all times. And, every time you mention you were referred by me, I get a ten dollar credit on my bill. The way that paragraph reads is this "Tell your friends about Sage and save even more. We will automatically credit your Sage bill up to $25 for each new customer you refer. Tell your friends to be sure to mention _your name_ and _your number_ to get the credit. They have to use our service for at least 30 days or longer. Your friends should call 1-888-972-7243."

So, if Sage seems interesting to you, and you must be in the operating territory of SBC/ATT (which is almost everywhere these days it seems), then send me an email - snipped-for-privacy@telecom-digest.org - and I will tell you my home number to use as your reference. Sage cannot take you if you are not in SBC/ATT local operating territory.


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