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The continued saga of getting service from a Telecoms company

September 10, 2006

Taking a short break in the UK during my sabbatical gave me a chance to pick up post. I don’t know about other people who travel, but I actually find the process of not receiving physical mail and living in a self contained unit of what I can pack in one bag strangely liberating. Picking up on the post however is always bad news as I was to discover.

Before I left for Singapore I cancelled my monthly roaming wireless hotspot account that, for just under £30 gave me more or less unlimited wireless access in the UK, and expensive access overseas. I asked them to cancel it with effect from 17th July (my departure date). On the 1st July the account stopped working. Oh well I thought, at least its done and they probably have to do these things at the end the month. I opened an ad hoc account and managed for a couple of weeks.

Well now I return to the UK in the first week of September to discover that they have continued to invoice me and are threatening dire consequences if I do not pay. In other words the process of stopping my service is if anything over efficient, while the process of stopping my paying is highly inefficient. One wonders whose commercial interest is being served here?

Now early readers of this blog will remember a previous problem with multiple email replications. That saga has continued with the problem recurring from time to time. I managed to get the problem escalated (well more accurately I got an email to say that the problem has been escalated) but as of yet no resolution or communication from the mysterious escalation point. The last time the problem occurred – several weeks ago – I raised it with the support line who said that as the problem had been escalated they could not deal with it. Needless to say I have heard nothing since. I think there must be a process somewhere which goes roughly like this:

On receipt of any problem do a key word search and send out a standard letter.
If that does not work give the user a set of very complicated and difficult instructions to follow
If they persist in wanting customer service then tell them you are working on the issue
If they complain, celebrate, its now someone else’s problem you can ignore it.
If you really don’t like them get someone to pursue them around the country to force them to listen to a meaningless apology

Oh and if all of that was not bad enough, I discovered last month that there is a new bundled service that means I could have had free roaming wireless access with my home broadband account for some months. Of course no one bothers to tell existing customers and when I emailed from Singapore I am told that I have to phone to have the switch made, it can’t be done by email (guess who makes money out of phone calls …..)

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