I rarely update a review. But in light of the new ad push – “Internet as if should be” – by fraudulent Internet provider, Clear, I wanted to make sure that my experience with this dreadful service was available to save everyone else from this horrible mess. Perhaps they should spend the ad dollars on proper towers, which they constantly claim are either “congested” or “down”. While they ultimately refunded my costs, the amount of frustration and time spent on calls was far more than the compensation. Steer clear of Clear!
Last year, I decided to try to par down my expenses and be more mobile with my business. Thus, Clear (formerly Clearwire) seemed a good bet. Advertised as multiple modem choices with no contract plans with unlimited 4G service, and prices as low as $34.99 per month, this seemed like a perfect fit. Well, dear TGATP readers, I can only say that when something seems too good to be true, it IS too good to be true! Clear ABSOLUTELY STINKS! It is ghetto Internet and runs like you are living in the Third World, not the most major of cities, NY! My phone gets faster speeds than this crap service.
The speeds are slower than dial-up making it completely impossible to stream ANYTHING! While claiming “3Mbps to 6Mbps with bursts of up to 10Mbps”, my speeds are currently speed testing at .83 Mbps downloading and 0.77 Mbps, slower than 93% of the country and the world! About 90% of the time, I can’t watch Netflix,YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime or any other streaming videos and I can’t listen to anything on Grooveshark or Pandora. Skype drops out regularly. And while the customer service reps are nice, they are obviously in India or the Philippines as their accents are so thick that you often can’t understand what they are saying. And oh, here’s the kicker. When you call to ORDER the service you get peppy Americans. I was fooled into thinking that should I have any issues, there would be no problem relating to the Help desk. But no, once you actually OWN the equipment, you are farmed out to foreign shores for resolutions to the gazillion problems you are sure to have!
Every excuse in the book is used for what is clearly a company either not positioned to provide service or deceptively cheating their customers. In at least 50 phone calls over a year’s time, the reasons for my slow speeds have included:
1. The towers are down – According to the obviously off-shore customer service reps, the towers are constantly down and being worked on. When I asked one rep I spoke to why the towers were down again today, he claimed that it was because of the weather. Only problem was that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! Honestly, Clear needs to go back to the drawing board. If you cannot provide proper service from working towers, why even operate an Internet company? Nowadays, we want our media and we want it fast. Who has time for all this nonsense?
2. The modem is not positioned right. – The customer service reps actually had me walking around the house with the modem looking for a good spot! Have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous? Who provides a service where the customers have to walk around the house, with the equipment in hand, to get it to work? And since the towers are always down or congested, do customers have to constantly reposition the modem in the house??
3. It is not the right modem. – I was originally sent a small USB modem. The salesperson claimed this totally useless device would suit all my purposes from at home and on the go to watching media and listening to music. Of course, it didn’t. I am now 3 hotspots in. When hotspot number 2 didn’t work, the customer service rep, after an hour on the phone with her, said to take it to Best Buy and swap it for another one. So I spent a Saturday evening trekking to a Best Buy. One problem. Best Buy is not affiliated with Clear. So unless you bought it from them directly, they don’t do exchanges! Thus, this idiot had me miss dinner with friends, on a Saturday night, to go to a Best Buy and try to do a transaction that they don’t do! When I irately spoke to yet another Clear customer service rep from the Best Buy salesman’s phone, he said they would have to mail the replacement. When I demanded that it be the latest model, he tried to say I had to pay more money. Despite the fact that the newer version cost the same. He finally relented after speaking to a “supervisor.” A salesperson at Best Buy then claimed that I had been advised by Clear to get the wrong equipment all together and need an at-home modem. When I mentioned this to the umpteenth offshore rep on our last call, he stated that that would cost me an additional $99. This is not an expense I am willing to incur having been through 4 modems already!
4. The speeds are slowed to accommodate your neighborhood. – This was the most ludicrous and ridiculous of the excuses! However, it is revealing and the number one reason to stay away from this company. It was as if the rep had accidentally let this slip. Basically, it appears that while claiming to offer unlimited, high speed 4G service, Clear actually MONITORS your usage and will slow your speed down if they think you use too much bandwidth. This explains why I always get mega-slow speeds. I am on my computer at least 15 hours a day. And it is so bad, that when I try to watch movies they play for a minute, then stop and reload! And forget ever needing to rewind, this causes the whole movie or clip to re-load for like, 3 minutes! On the 100th conversation with a rep, she suggested things like clearing my history each time I want to watch or listen to anything and turning off my anti-virus protection. None of which worked.
I am kicking myself for not doing more research on this service before purchasing it, which is why I wrote this piece. A browse around the Web found that the company has had a couple of class action suits against it for the very things I am experiencing. They have, in fact, been likened to a “a bandwidth Ponzi scheme” for slowing their service to dial-up levels for customers, like myself. I am looking into what, we as NY consumers, can do about Clear’s deceptive advertising and practices. Perhaps it is time for a class action suit here, too. Since I am moving shortly, I am stuck with this sham service for the next few weeks. But I will definitely be going with something else in my new home. I greatly regret the decision to use this hot mess of a company and suggest that you stick with the more reputable companies, like Verizon Fios, Optimum, or Time Warner. Because in the home Internet area, there is no way to skimp.