It was the fall of 2003 that I purchased a small position in TALK. I was going against the grain - Tom Gardner had already pulled the plug on his recommendation but I liked the idea of taking discount business from Ma Bell. Shortly after, I left the FEWMNBN™ and in an effort to reduce his monthly costs, became a customer. Just like the hair guy.Times have changed. I am now gainfully employed with Fuskie's New Direct Employer (FNDE™) and this past month TALK America raised my budget bill by $10 with no notice. Sure, the voice box that has replaced customer service said I received a notice with my bill and on the web site. I have been unable to talk to a human because of their limited hours. So much for customer service being TALK's hallmark.First, I received the credit card charge a week before I received my statement in the mail. Second, the statement I received provided no explanation for why my bill went up $10 per month. Third, there is nothing on the web site to indicate why my bill went up $10 per month. Not only that, but there is hardly anything on the web site at all, including the option of upgrading my account should I have wanted to.Nevermind. I am switching to VoIP and I sold my position last Friday, not because of the bill increase, but because I needed the few hundred dollars I could still get after 45% losses. I feel like TALK has abandoned me as a customer and failed to live up to its potential to provide shareholder value. I do not believe that banking on DSL or private networks will salvage this company's future. It is fighting against cable internet speeds 8 times faster, and too many local phone service options, many of which are now cheaper at least in my market.So for cheap phone service, I am going with Vonnage's 500 plan - unlimited inbound calls, 500 minutes of outbound calls, free long distance not to mention true portability. I can plug in my network adapter anywhere I have an internet connection and my home phone will work. I have 2 brothers using Vonnage and vouching for its service. Completely coincidentally, I have the same make and model car as one of my brothers, and all of us have the same cell phone model.But that has no bearing on my decision. Lack of corporate leadership and ability to expand markets, increased cost of service and a lack of customer service has driven me to this decision. I have enjoyed posting TALK updates for you, but this will be my last one.FuskieWho wishes those of you continuing to hold the best of luck...
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