January 24, 2013

Hell of a connection

So after a few months at our apartment, and the dust of moving in had settled, I did some research on a few internet providers.

Found one who offered unlimited ADSL for $39 a month. They look quite reputable. Other packages are on par with Telstra pricing, and our location was in their 'inner network' which shaved a further $10 from the monthly fee. So $29/mo for unlimited ADSL? Bring it!!

I'd not heard of them before, mainly as they are a wholesaler whose clients include Grapevine, and has a large network that links Asia to Sydney and Perth in Australia. It doesn't extend to the UK or the US. That's gotta be good for reliability of service, and next to the EU countries, Asia has the fastest network on the planet.

Their customer service was abysmal. Probably WORSE than Telstra - and I was avoiding signing up to Telstra at all costs. We've all heard horror stories... but I powered ahead with them trying to get things rolling. Then the roadblocks appeared.

We weren't transferring an existing connection, so provisioning was required.
Provisioning said, yes, we can connect to your apartment. Yay!
3 weeks later, the day of connection came and went. No tech. I took the day off work for it. Shocked.
Rescheduled another two weeks later. No tech arrived again. I again, took the day off work. Appalled, Angry.
Response a week later - "the exchange is full at your current location"

Full? This is (was) 2012. Surely not.

6 weeks and counting, for nothing. Connection fees paid. Provisioning paid. Getting quite bitter about it now.

Once I calmed down, I called them the next day.
Q - How come the exchanges can't be expanded?
A - They are not maintained by us.
Q - Oh? I thought I was on your 'inner network'.
A - You are. Until a connection becomes free, we won't be able to provide you a service.
OK. Scrap it. I'll take a full refund. I'd checked the T&C's ;)
A - No problem. We'll organise it.
Q - I appreciate your help. Thanks anyway. (hang up... "GRRRRRRRRRRR!!")

A month later, we notice the refund hadn't been paid. Time to call.
Q - I haven't seen a refund
A - Whoops. We'll do that now.
Q - When will it be paid?
A - Mid next week at the latest
Q - Great. I'll need a receipt by email. It's very important I get a receipt.
A - Absolutely.

I'm generally a bit graceful with big companies that need to issue refunds. They probably have quite a clunky system for it to process, but two weeks later, still nothing. Now I just want my money, and erase them from my life.
Q - Where is my refund?
A - Oh, that wasn't done? That's odd.
Q - You have no idea what odd is. Make it happen or I'm taking legal action. To dumb it down for ya, i've sent a PDF of all our verbal and email correspondence since day one. See it?
A - Yes, thank you. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Q - As this call is recorded, I recommend to the person playing this back to use as a prime example of how outsourcing staff to the US is a real barricade to communication flow, and why your inane identity hoops you make me go through every single call is a complete bust. I'm glad not to be a customer of yours. There's your feedback.

Refund received two days later. No receipt supplied.


Part two coming - how I got my current connection.

Peppa Pig - What Parents See