The French newspaper, Le Figaro, used to have a weekly column called “L’Haute Voix,” which is an expression that means “at the top of your voice.” Consider the following as written at the top of our voice.

After three days of not being able to get on the Internet from our office, we walked over to the local “Clear” Wireless store to find out about their new way of connecting to the Internet through 3G and 4G wireless service. These are the frequencies used by most cell phones. The latest is 4G, which is much faster than 3G, and screamingly faster than our slow-poke DSL connection. 

Prices start at $40 a month for connecting up to eight devices, including laptops and iPads. Great, we said, and bought one of their boxes for our computers and another unit for our mobile devices. Neither one worked in our high-rise building, however, even though we were less than 100 yards from the wireless transmission tower. That was disappointing, but not as bad what followed.

We discovered a new business model, and we feel it’s our duty to warn people about it. You can’t just return “Clear Wireless” equipment to the store. “Not our policy,” said the clerk. “You have to get a shipping label from the company and return it to them.” We also received no receipt when we bought the equipment. “We don’t give receipts,” she said. “It’s not our policy. The company will email you a receipt.” (What if it’s blocked by our spam filter? What if we never get it?)

It took a half hour on the phone to get an authorization to return the darn things. We had to listen to a tech rep explain over and over again why their products should be working. Several times he would just leave the phone for unexplained reasons, and we are guessing it was in hopes that we would just give up and get off the phone. We finally got a promise of a shipping label but no proof the conversation had taken place. The tech wouldn’t give us his last name.

This is no way to do business, folks. When readers have had problems with their own equipment purchases, we have sometimes been able to fix them by calling the company on their behalf. We want to let you know this sort of thing happens to us too.

And by the way: our Amazon Kindle, which receives its information by 3G wireless, is in the same location and has never had a problem connecting.


  1. Bought a cell phone from Clear Talk. Tried to return it as the reception was terrible. They refused, as I had used it over 30 minutes. The time was irrelevant as they were Cricket minutes (flat monthly rate). Most of the 60 minutes used were trying to call Cricket’ poor customer service.