Consumer Alert: Frontier customer’s 6-month struggle for promised free battery backup ends in victory

Happy ending in story of Frontier customer seeking promised free battery backup

Happy ending in story of Frontier customer seeking promised free battery backup

A mild-mannered man named Joe has been a Frontier phone customer for 40 years. When Frontier offered him a great deal to upgrade to their new fiber-optic internet with Voice over Internet phone service, he switched and loved it. However, there was one drawback: If the power goes out, you can’t use your phone, not even to dial 911. For that, you need battery backup.

All of Frontier’s mailers, flyers, and emails said battery backup came free with the hook-up, but that’s not what happened.

“Prior to the installation I had called Frontier to find out about the battery backup and they said the installer would know about it and would have battery backup with him,” said Joseph Mele, a Frontier customer. “But that was not the case. The third party installer knew nothing about battery backup and said well, you’ll have to call Frontier for that.”

And that’s exactly what he did. He was on chat with them for hours, making call after call, even chatting with a customer service agent in Colombia. It’s now the end of June — and Joe began his quest for his battery backup in January.

Deanna Dewberry: “It’s been, uh we’re going on seven months here. And you still haven’t gotten your battery backup. So you decided to call me.”

Joseph Mele: “Yes, yes, I thought I’m probably not the only person in this situation so this might be a good spot for a consumer advocate, and in Rochester I thought of Deanna Dewberry as our consumer advocate.”

I studied the email Mele got from Frontier, which lists a number of things that come with installation including battery backup. In small print at the bottom, it says to buy it, but then get a bill credit.

I reached out to the corporate office of Frontier. On Wednesday, a spokesman told her that battery backup is available in Rochester, but you have to buy it. On Friday, I was told that’s not the case. Every Frontier customer who upgrades from their old copper landline will get free battery backup, just like Joe. Frontier already sent his by next-day-air, and a technician is coming to his house to install it.

Don’t you just love happy endings?

A.I. assisted with the formatting of this story. Click here to see how WHEC News 10 uses A.I.