Problems with Flashcom, a national DSL service provider

As a warning to my fellow netizens, I'm providing some details about the problems I've had with Flashcom, my former Internet Service Provider.

In October 1998, I signed a contract for one year of ADSL service at 384k speed. A month after the service was installed, they are now changing the feed and cutting that rate in half to 192k, although the 384k service is available at a higher rate. As if that weren't enough, they have managed to have all my phone bills sent to their location so I don't get any copies, and they are "cramming" the same installation and service fees onto the automaticaly paid phone bill, that they are billing to my credit card. I'm being charged double.

Their accounting department doesn't return my voicemails with an explanation. Flashcom's President hung up on me after the ignoring my email complaint for almost two weeks. They have told me my current feed was to be disconnected on January first.

For some background on this problem, please see Usenet discussions about Flashcom, just some key posts, and have a look at my complaint letter to the company.

Sept 1999 followup

My fiasco with Flashcom was apparently the first public one in a long series of frustrations that others have experienced. Many of these are documented at Deja, but some of the posts have expired or been removed. I have received several nightmare stories, but most have been repeated in the public forums.

I did get my phone billing back, and eventually recovered my overbilled kilobuck. How? I disputed the Flashcom Visa charges with my bank, and the crammed phone charges were returned by the phone company after a horrendous amount of red tape, delays, waiting on hold, etc. My billing took eight months to get back into proper order.

An in depth article [DSLReports has yanked it, use the links below] discusses the more recent history. The current issue of WWWiz magazine has a nauseating load of puffery about Flashcom and the upcoming IPO. To completely ignore the company's notoriously bad record and applaud the operators is a real disservice to their readers. It's just plain false advertising.

Jan 2001 followup

Flashcom filed bankruptcy on Dec 11. Rhythms took control of 7,000 customer accounts after Flashcom quit answering phone calls entirely. They have details on moving to Earthlink (Option expires Jan 31). Northpoint has divvied some 9,000 between Earthlink and Telocity. Covad has set up a "safety net" service to help customers stay connected, but a note at the Flashcom site says that Covad customers are not yet being transitioned. Flashcom has cancelled their pending 125M IPO. [insert flushing sound]

While the Flashcom site is still up, they have some tips for transitioning customers. (The text is black on a black background. Select all text on the page to see it.)

Check the News links below for current details.

If you have Flashcom story you'd like to tell others, please share it in the comp.dcom.xdsl newsgroup. If you have a relevant link to add to this page, please let me know.

Here are links to other Flashcom warnings: