Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shoddy Service or, Why is NTL-Telewest T/A Virgin Media So Shit?

So, another day and still no broadband connection. Yes, it's still down and my cable provider's so called 'help' desk is still stonewalling me and claiming that no engineer/technician (the description varies according to how closely I question them) will be available in my area until next Wednesday. Which is rather strange, as apparently one was going to be in the area on Thursday if I had been prepared to abscond from work for the entire day on the off chance he might call around. If I want an evening call, well, can't manage that until June! So, obviously it's all my fault for foolishly insisting on going out to work all day so as to earn the money to pay for the service they aren't providing. Indeed, the alleged customer service person I first spoke to was quite taken aback by the idea that I couldn't just take time off work when I felt like it. Clearly it is very different for those lucky enough to work for my cable provider. That's probably why I can't get anybody to deal with my problem. Anyway, I had a second fruitless 'conversation' with them again today. Again, they simply wouldn't listen to me and got flustered when I expected them to deviate from their scripts. The fact is that I know I have an 'intermittent' problem - that's what I'm fucking telling you! And don't tell me that no problems with the network have been reported in my area: I'm reporting a bloody problem! But we just went around in circles.

Later on today I tried e-mailing them using the form they provide. I pointed out that I'm a paying customer who isn't receiving the service he is paying for. I pointed out that I'm a customer who isn't receiving any customer service. I pointed out that, having taken my money, they have a contractual obligation to provide this service. I further pointed out that to tell a paying customer that they face the prospect of another week without this service before an engineer is even sent out, is pretty outrageous. I also pointed out that when I ring a so-called technical help line, I expect to find myself speaking to someone technically competent, who can assist me in resolving the technical problem, not find myself confronted with someone who - regardless of the nature of your problem - simply gives stock answers from a prepared script, and who doesn't listen to anything the customer is saying. I got a very prompt reply. I got an automated response telling me that someone would get back to me 'in a few days', but as they were busier than usual (busy ignoring customer calls, presumably), it might take longer.

How refreshing it is to find a telecoms provider so contemptuous of its customers that it replies to an irate e-mail with an autoresponse. And to think, I had feared that such shoddy customer service was a thing of the past. Thank God for NTL-Telewest T/A Virgin Media for upholding the values of not giving a toss. Not that they have any incentive to actually fix my broadband. As long as it is down, I'm forced to use expensive dial up services, all billed to the phone line they provide. So they're raking it in and I'm not only paying for a broadband service they aren't providing, but also for their incompetence. What a racket! Having got no joy through the alleged technical help line or the e-mail, I tried their general customer service number. All I got there was an address I could write to with a written complaint (straight into the shredder, no doubt), and some hapless operative saying he was very sorry for my inconvenience. Yeah, right. Sorry's all very well, but it doesn't get my broadband reconnected, does it? I'm still at a loss to know why I have to be present when an engineer calls - the problem doesn't lie with the modem or any of the cables inside my house. It most likely lies with their junction box or cables outside. Indeed, most of this shower's broadband problems originate with their servers. Moreover, the idea that no engineer is available in my area, when I live about ten miles from their headquarters, is ludicrous.

So, the bottom line is that, until this problem is sorted, the only posts I'll be making will be me ranting and raging about how my cable provider and all its employees are a waste of space. All work on The Sleaze has halted as there is very little point in completing any more stories if I can't post them. (Trust me, trying to post via dial up is a nightmare). The only bright point is that, by coincidence, I have to visit their head office on business tomorrow. I'll also be taking the opportunity to shove my allegedly problematic modem up somebody's arse. Either that, or I'll start legal proceedings against them for breach of contract.



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