That’s the question I’ve been asking myself recently. On the 4th of February, my telephone and ASDL went down. Now, it had been raining a lot that day, and there had also been some minor flooding in my street (which I’m sure was due to some pavement work that have been going on over the weekend – looks like the workers clogged up the storm water drains) and it was my guess that it was due to one of those two things that it went down.
My telephone provider (and internet service provider) is exetel, and I have absolutely no problem naming-and-shaming them, because the way they’ve handled this situation is absolutely deplorable.
First of all, they don’t have any call centre available outside of office hours. When when I called to report the fault on the evening of the 4th, I got only an automated reponse ("You have called exetel outside of office hours. To log a fault, blah, blah"). So I logged a fault with them that evening.
Of course, nobody calls you back, so I called them the next day. After sitting on hold for precisely 10 minutes, someone picks up and tells me they ran a “line test” that morning, and the test came back with “poor quality line". Could I please unplug all my equipment so they can run it again? Well, that’s great, but I gotta go home to unplug everything – why couldn’t they mention that in their automated call system?
So I went home at lunch time, unplugged everything and called them back. After waiting on hold for precisely 10 minutes again, they tell me, “OK, we’ll run another line test and call you back.” Fine. So I waited. And waited.
The next day, nobody had called back, so I call them again and wait on hold for precisely 10 minutes (noticing a pattern there? so was I…) before someone picked up. “So, what’s going on?” I ask them. “Well, we’ll get a technician to come out and look at it. The next available time is the 15th of Feb.”
Sorry, can you repeat that?
Two weeks after I log the fault. Two weeks. That’s totally unacceptable, I told them. “I’m sorry,” they say, “but the 15th is when our supplier has committed to have your fault fixed.” Oh good, there’s a “committment” is there?
Well, I’m a patient kind of guy, so I decided just to wait it out. Besides, whatever was causing the fault seemed to have started to fix itself – my internet started working one evening without warning I just decided to plug it in and see, and it synced up and I was away (a lot slower than before, but still…). I still couldn’t make or receive calls, though, and there was a lot of static on the line.
So two weeks come and go, and I don’t hear from them. On the 18th, I decide to give them another call. After waiting only about 5 minutes this time (I guess it must be pretty obvious if it’s precisely 10 minutes every time), someone picks up. “So, what happened?” I asked? “Well, someone came to the MDF and did a test, but the result was inconclusive.” Of course the result was inconclusive – the MDF in my building is in the basement, and you need the code or a key to get in! So what is the next step? “Well, we’ll get another technician to come out on the 25th.” Huh? What happened to this “committment to have it fixed by the 15th?”
By now, I’m getting really annoyed. On the 9th of Feb., I got an email from exetel (luckily, I could still access the internet from work at that time!). This email was supposed to be their “Mass Service Disruption” notification, which a provider is required to send to all their customers if they are experiencing delays in getting faults fixed. According to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), providers must include in the notification the area and telephone numbers that may be affected. Unfortunately for exetel, they just provided a link to Telstra’s MSD notification – and my number wasn’t on the list.
So I lodged a complaint with the TIO. It seems like it may be possible for me to recoup some sort of compensation, but we’ll look into that once my phone is finally fixed… The TIO provided me with a different phone number for exetel (presumably, it goes directly to the management or something?). When I called that number, the response is totally different!
Of course, I still have to wait until the 25th for a technician to come out, but once you start threatening them with Ombudsman intervention, they wake up. The phone has started to work a bit better all on it’s own anyway. I think whatever water was there is starting to dry up. I can now make and receive phone calls, but the line quality is horrible, and the ADSL is still not syncing at the same speed as it used to. So I’d still like to see a technician out here.
I notice today that Michael Kaplan was noting some trouble he was having with his ISP. Michael, you think it’s cynical wondering why you only get the credit when you ask for it? Well, over here you have to threaten them with legal action just to get them to fix anything in the first place!!
If I thought it would help, I’d have switch service providers long ago… but of course, whoever I switch to is just going to have to fix the problem as well…
I shall report back here when I get some closure on this issue. Right now, I just needed to vent a bit :-)