Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If you’re sitting comfortably then I’ll begin...

Once Upon a Time there was a young woman who wanted to get broadband.

Her time was precious, but she asked for some advice (oh how those geeks love to go on...) and did some research, and found out about deals and kit and service quality etc and got thoroughly bored by the whole shebang.

One trusted geek, offered a winning argument to help her decide: “TB [initials altered to provide anonymity] really aren’t that bad, and at least if you go with them I can help out if it goes truly pear-shaped – or at least translate what they’re telling you.”.

So slightly against her better judgement she settled down on the 17th and ordered TB Broadband.

Things started to go awry on the 18th when she discovered her phone line was completely dead. It did occur to her that it might be something to do with them doing something to the line to prepare it for broadband, but she could get no sense out of the call centre from distant shores:

Customer: “Could this be due to my ordering broadband?”
Call Centre Muppet: “The fault is at the exchange not in your house”
Customer: “Yes, I understand that; my question is whether this could be connected to the fact that I ordered broadband from you yesterday. Could they be doing something to the line because of that?”
CCM: “Your broadband will come back on when your phone line is restored”
Customer: “I don’t have broadband yet. I ordered it yesterday. Could that be why my phone line is down”
CCM: “Your broadband will come back on when your phone does”
Customer: “I’m not asking about that, I’m asking if this problem with my phone line could be because of preparations they need to make for the broadband”
CCM: “You will need to talk to another department if your broadband isn’t working” Customer: “ I don’t have broadband. I ordered broadband yesterday. I’m asking whether the problems with my phone line could be connected to that?”
CCM: “You will need to talk to another department if your broadband isn’t working”
Customer: “You don’t understand the question I’m asking do you?
CCM: “Your broadband isn’t working, but I can’t help with that.”
Customer: “Shall we end this farce now? I know you’re doing your best, but….well…thanks anyway…bye.”

Phone line comes back live about an hour later.

Text message from TB informs that an engineer will look into the problem on the 20th…

Perhaps at this point our heroine should have listened to those nagging voices of doubt that started to whisper in her ear.

Still those lovely folk at TB did keep texting her through the week: “your TB Broadband line will activated by 8pm on the 25 April. Any equipment ordered will arrive by 1pm on 25 April”.

And come one minute past noon on the 25th “Welcome to TB Broadband, your service is now ready to use. Please follow the instructions in your welcome pack”.

But 1pm came and went and no equipment arrived. So our heroine tracks her order on the TB website:
Stage 1 We started to process your broadband order - 17 April
Stage 2 Work has begun to enable broadband on
your phone line - 18 April
Stage 3 Along with your Welcome pack, your broadband modem and any other equipment have been dispatched - 24 April
Stage 4 Your Welcome pack and equipment arrive and your phone line is broadband enabled – 25 April
Helpfully TB also provide the Royal Mail dispatch reference number so you can track your equipment delivery with them. So our heroine dutifully enters the reference number…only to find that Royal Mail still have no record of this (which means it certainly wasn’t with them by last night).

Heavy of heart she rings the TB help number and gets through to J, who may not be the smartest tool in the box, but he’s helpful and can at least understand the questions. Trouble is he can’t phone out, so our weary maid is left listening to symphony after symphony of hold music whilst he bravely speaks to Royal Mail and various TB departments.

After about 30minutes of this we have established, that Royal Mail scan the reference number barcodes when they pick up the parcel, so as far as they’re concerned the parcel has not actually been dispatched by TB. Internally within TB J is struggling to get answers, the best he has is that there has been an “activity hold-up”. When asked to translate what that means he scurries away to make another phone call. As a result he informs our girl that “the problem occurred on the 18th when the payment wasn’t authorised”.

Errr very unlikely replies our maid (aware of her ridiculous credit limit that the kind credit card people keep raising). So why, she asks, does the order tracker say everything is going ahead? Why have the texts said everything is going ahead? Why did the text at noon tell her the line was activated? Why has no one been in contact to say there is a problem? Why does the system say the equipment has been dispatched and provides a delivery reference number?

Is this what the lovely geek meant my saying he would translate their strange explanations?

J needs to make another call, but our heroine has had enough of the hold music. She thanks this gallant knave for his efforts, but suggests that given his hands are obviously rather tied, perhaps he could transfer her to someone who does have the ability to phone back?

And so we move on to N, who agrees that it doesn’t stack up. She can’t see that there can have been a payment problem, she’ll look into it after lunch and phone straight back. Our wise lass takes a name and phone number just in case.

Her cynicism is repaid as 3 hours later the phone has not rung.

Ringing C she comments jokingly that TB must have very long lunch breaks. N laughs and said she wishes, she can only apologise, she’s very tied up with customer’s issues. “Good service is it then?” replies our girl. “I can’t answer that” replies N.

There are still no answers re what has happened, but N will order a new batch of equipment (“ok and welcome pack – have you not received that either?” and will ring back tomorrow. She also promises to ensure there is no bill for a service that can’t be used.

So…should she bin the order and go with another provider? Or should she hold fast and give them a chance to sort this out?

Vote Now!
Bin 'em off. If they're this much trouble before you even go live...
Stick with it lass. They're all as bad as each other and you've put up with this much pain now.
Free polls from Pollhost.com


Caroline said...

keep TB for now but pleasssssse bin your comments provider! please?

you will be insisting on a free upgrade and 2 months free service won't you

stuart said...

I know it really dosn't help but my tb install went and has been since splendid. (LOUD SIGH COMES FROM MOUTH)
talk about setting yourself up for a fall!!!!!!

Dave said...

Liz, I have blogged our broadband experience which was identical to yours, but with some differences.