July 30, 2001

Todd Gerdes, Senior Vice President, Customer Service
500 Clinton Center Drive
Clinton, Mississippi 39056 

Dear Todd:
I feel it appropriate to use your given name after all these years we've been together. At the conclusion of this story, I will have a few words to add.

On Wed, 02 May 2001 10:09:08 -0700 you [MCI] wrote:

User Information

Name: Marc Auerbach
Email Address:
Phone: 408 973 1600
Account_Number: 71504693
Regarding: International

Question: Dear MCI:

Dear MCI:

Let me be blunt. I feel abused. When telephone deregulation made it possible to choose a new carrier (1984?), I chose MCI and I've stuck with you. I didn't jump ship and accept those $50 checks from AT&T or hop to Sprint and back to collect any goodies. Year in and year out, I've used MCI confident, I thought, that I had chosen a reliable and trustworthy discount carrier. I never really dissected my phone bill, which now contains my local, and Internet access fees as well as long distance. I just paid the bill each month and moved on.

Recently I had occasion to call my brother in Montreal several times and for extended duration. I was shocked to see my bill this month with charges of $0.77 a minute. What really galled me was the difference between that rate and your "special" plans. An order of magnitude difference! If you were really customer focused, then you would have seen from my bill that I frequently called Canada, and would have offered me this plan. Lest you think this is absurd, my bank did much the same thing, moving my savings account to one with a higher interest rate.

I wouldn't even be that upset if the rate differences were two times or even three times. But at this level, is there anyone who EVER calls outside the US who should not be on this plan? If they get a mere 3 answering machines a month to Canada (fewer elsewhere I presume) then the minimum monthly fee is met.

I know the numbers and the profiles. I was your most lucrative type of customer. You have traded short-term profits for long term customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Nonetheless, I will give you a chance to redeem yourselves. I will continue with MCI if you re-bill my April 20th statement at the MCI International Weekends rate. I look forward to the favor of your reply.


-----Original Message-----

From: []
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 5:04 AM
Subject: MCI WorldCom e-Customer Service.

Dear Marc Auerbach,

Thank you for contacting MCI WorldCom e-Customer Service.

In response to your e-mail, it is the customers responsibility to call or e-mail in to find out about the new plans that come out. MCI WorldCom has many customers that it is hard to have every customer on the plan that would best suite them. I suggest that you call in twice a year to see about new plan that have come out.

MCI WorldCom is committed to ensuring you make the most of your service. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please visit Online Account Manager at



e-Customer Service



With all due respect, wrong answer. I'll be switching to Sprint.


-----Original Message-----

From: []
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 9:45 PM
Subject: MCI WorldCom e-Customer Service

Dear Marc Auerbach,

Thank you for contacting MCI WorldCom e-Customer Service.

We have received your request to cancel your MCI WorldCom service. Before we process your request, please confirm your current long distance carrier by dialing 1-700-555-4141 from the telephone number you are requesting to cancel. If the recording states you are currently with MCI WorldCom, please contact your Local Phone Company and request that they change both your long distance and local toll service.

Once your local company has been notified, they will send a cancellation request to MCI WorldCom. Once your services are cancelled, you will receive one final statement from us for calls made from your previous bill end date to the date of cancellation.

On the other hand, if the recording states you are with a carrier other than MCI WorldCom, please respond to this e-mail confirming you are currently with another long distance carrier and we will process the request to cancel your MCI WorldCom service.

MCI WorldCom is committed to ensuring you make the most of your service. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please isit Online Account Manager at



e-Customer Service


Of course this was a short-sighted move on MCI's part, but more astonishing was the fact that before I had made my first call on Sprint; before my line had even been switched over, I was contacted by MCI Sales trying to win me back. The offer? $100 in free calls. About the same accommodation I had requested but in a different form. I politely declined. I have been contacted once more since then, and as a former customer of some 16 years I will no doubt be contacted many more times, perhaps even after my death many years hence. And these expenses over the next 40 years of my life will total a tidy expenditure on MCI's part.

As if that were not enough, low and behold on June 1, 2001 I received a letter from you stating that a change in federal law that requires, and I quote you,

Beginning August 1, 2001, your state-to-state long distance rates and services will not change without notice.

One month early your employees in customer support were admonishing us, the customers, to stay on top of those rates, when in fact the change in the law was already waiting in the wings.

Looking back on it MCI didn't just lose me as a customer, you lost a customer for AT&T and Sprint as well. How? In my zeal to find an alternative, I found phone cards. Even though I've switched to Sprint, I don't actually use them that much. Phone cards are even cheaper, and the service is just fine.

To paraphrase an old saying, "how do you lose business? One customer at a time."

I provide this to you simply as a point of information, and because I enjoy pointing out the foibles of major corporations. The same kinds of companies I worked at for years.

Best of luck,

Marc Auerbach