Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A company to avoid dealing with

Well, just one really ...

I may have blogged about this before but am not sure and have lost the will to live over looking up whether I have given this particular company any airtime previously.

But the saga with this useless company continues. And no, it's not here in the UK, although it is a multi-national.

Back in NZ we have our internet and home phone delivered through Vodafone's cable. For a long time we were TelstraClear customers, but they were bought out by Vodafone. And once that happened, the hassles started. As with many companies who take over another, the systems don't get integrated, so former TCL customers are on separate billing and service systems from Vodafone customers. And of course, the so called 'service' teams are downsized. They are all willing but hamstrung by extremely clumsy process. And by the time you get to talk to them after being on hold for anything up to and over an hour, it's amazing that anyone can articulate without expletives the issue they want resolved. I honestly don't know how David can stay on the line that long, esp with the bloody hip hop music that cycles through multiple times - if it was me I would have given up after no more than 15 minutes.

But once the call is answered, then the rigmarole starts. After a concise explanation of the issue the response invariably is 'Ah no, sir, I am afraid that I am in the Red team, and you need to speak to someone in the Blue team. Let me put you through ...' So then it's on hold for another 40 minutes or so. A further explanation - a bit like going to A&E and explaining the same thing to every doctor, nurse, admitting staff member, cleaner and phlebotomist. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

When we moved out of Cherswud back in November, we stayed for a month with Bruce and Gary, and our TCL/Vodafone account was suspended. Vodafone of course in their efficient way, kept deducting money from our bank account. Accordingly, having asked them to stop and being ignored, and given we were unsure how long it would be until we found and moved into a house of our own (we were tempted to stay on with B&G indefinitely ...) David cancelled the direct debit arrangement.

Fast forward a couple of months and in we move in to Cafe Rata. After much to-ing and fro-ing David managed, with the patience of a non-existent saint (I am an atheist after all), to get the cable installed to the house - that was done by Downers who are contracted by Vodafone, and David eventually worked directly with Downers to make it happen.

The next thing was sorting out our home phone number when the cable was activated. The Downers guy was all set to activate it but had been told by Vodafone that our old Johnsonville number was the one to be activated. Given Vodafone had already given us a Waikanae number while we waited and waited and waited for the cable installation, reverting to the Johnsonville number was stupid. Not only had we notified everyone of our new number, but Waikanae is not a free call from Wellington, so if people were to call us on the Johnsonville number they would unknowingly be charged. Doh!

After a time of wonder, we eventually managed to keep our new Waikanae number and have it activated on our cable connection.

Was that the end of the matter? Not on your life!

Next came the direct debit debacle. In March David sent in to Vodafone a new direct debit form. Did they activate it? No, of course not. So having received a threatening letter about not paying the bill, David paid it manually and then sent another direct debit form. And thinking (obviously a foolish move) that that would be that, didn't monitor to see if money was coming out of our account regularly to pay them.

Yesterday an email pops up saying we are $423-ish in arrears and we had to pay the arrears immediately. So over the internet goes the payment. Then half an hour later, all our email accounts are disabled. WTF!!!

So this morning, David phones the number listed for help requests from overseas, for assistance in getting the email service resumed given the account has been paid. He is on hold for 25 minutes, then told he has called the wrong number. 'No I haven't' he says 'This is the number I called. Is it the right one?' 'Yes' is the reply. 'But you need to phone the Red team. ' So he calls another number and is on hold for an hour (the message when he phones is that there is a delay of at least 30 minutes ... Tell me, if you can, of any shop-front business that would countenance having customers wait in line for upwards of 30 minutes to be served?)

He eventually gets through and is immediately told he has called the wrong number. For the first time, David's good temper slightly frays. 'Now hang on a minute' he says, 'Just listen.' And so the young person does. But can he help? No. It appears that the internet payment hasn't been processed yet, so he cannot get anyone to activate the email accounts. Can David pay (again) by credit card? Well yes he could but not to anyone in this team. He'd need to speak to someone in the Blue team. That will involve another wait of at least 40 minutes, so he declines the offer to put him through.

David does ask to speak to a supervisor. Not possible. He asks if there are any of the retention team in the same building. Not known. Can they call him on his UK mobile to talk with him? No, because they can only call NZ Vodafone numbers, and if overseas we would have to be on roaming to allow them to call us.

FFS!! We thought this is a telecommunications company, but clearly the communications part is a misnomer.


So we don't have email access currently.

When the cable debacle occurred back at home in Waikanae, I was all for escalating it to one of the company's executive to sort out. But David, who is almost endlessly patient in these situations, denied me that opportunity.

This morning though I was undeterred. Via their website, I have emailed the Customer Operations Director, one Kelly Moore, asking for her help. I have suggested that she look up the logs of our calls since moving to Waikanae so she has the history, but am only asking her to sort the email situation at the moment.

If Telecom's fibre optic Ultra Fast Broadband was installed in our street, we would toss Vodafone in the bin. But that isn't happening until 2018.

I do however sense there is a strong likelihood of a complaint to Fair Go on our return to NZ.


NB Holderness said...

Hi Both, We will be able to be at Napton Junction Sunday/Monday. Let us know what your plans are for then and we will meet up. Do you still have our telephone number? We will try you nearer to the time.

Cheers for now, Tony and Helen.

Mary said...

Don't you have gmail accounts? Being tied to a provider for email causes real problems. You have your own domain name, surely that can be linked to gmail. Our is. We had problems like this with Orange in the UK in 2007. I feel for you!

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Mary, I have a gmail account as part of the blog - angelabooth121@gmail.com but don't use it for mail.
I have told David what you have said and he tells me it doesn't provide imap service, the one to many devices service, ie central storage of email - we currently have 6 devices that get all the mail - 2 of them are back in NZ.
Email restored - normal service resumed.