Let me tell you about two telephone companies. One, let us call them Bastard Telecom, are bastards. If you can get connected at all, rather than getting delays and crossed lines, as we did, then just pray you never have any problems with your internet. For example if you simultaneously have a line problem *and* a router problem, as we did, then you will find, after speaking to twenty-plus people, many of whom will call you a liar or insult you personally, or, in the case of one bizarre man, try to quiz you on the principles of TCP/IP networking in the hope of catching you out, that the only way to get the line fixed *and* a new router is to cancel the broadband account and get them to set it up again. This will leave you with no service at all for a week, they tell you.
You will then find, shockingly, that they forget to bother to set up the new account. You will discover this when, the day they tell you the new service will be up, it isn’t. They will then tell you that you still need to wait another week if you want a connection, because they sent the engineer out to the exchange to remove your access (even though it was only a dummy disconnection) and need to send out another one to give it back again.
Meanwhile, they will be billing you for ‘Bastard Telecom Vision’, their TV service. This despite you not requesting it, it not being installed, you repeatedly telling them that you don’t want it, and them agreeing that you never asked for it or received it and they’ll stop the account. Even though you don’t have a TV, have never owned a TV in your adult life, and even if you did wouldn’t want a ‘service’ whose only selling point was, until yesterday, the presence of Setanta Sports.
They will eventually send debt collectors after you, charging you £100 on top of the £26 they originally charged you for the service you never wanted or got. Meanwhile, of course, you aren’t receiving the only service you *did* want from them.
The second ‘phone company are Tiscali. Our experience with Tiscali was rather different. I phoned them up on Tuesday of last week and said “Can we have some internet please, since Bastard Telecom have messed us about?”
They replied “Certainly, though this might take two weeks, rather than the one week the Bastards say they will take”
To which I replied “That’s fine, as at this point I’d rather wait the extra time and be sure that I’ve got the connection, and I don’t want to give the Bastards my money.”
That was on Tuesday of last week. Today, six days sooner than they said it’d be ready, I got an email saying “Your line is connected, and your router should be with you within two days”. When I got home, the router was already there.
I am still on a contract with BT for the phone, which I can’t break, alas, but I would rather lose at least one of my testicles than ever do business with them again. On the other hand, Tiscali have thus far been exemplary – they’ve done what they said they would, without any further prompting, quicker than they said they would, and without me having to waste hours of my life on the phone listening to tinny recordings of The Marriage Of Figaro or bad sax solos. It may in fact be the first time in my entire life that that’s been the case with a phone company.
I’m sure Tiscali will do something to disappoint or annoy me soon enough – I do not believe there’s such a thing as a competent phone company in the UK – but they’re the first ever to get over the basic, tiny hurdle of saying they’ll do a thing and then doing the thing they say they’ll do rather than a different thing.
Normal blogging resumes tomorrow.
(ETA For some reason this didn’t post yesterday when I clicked post – it was meant to be posted last night)