Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Joys of Customer Service

Qqqqqqqqing <expletive deleted> telemarketers from Dododododo^ <ISP name cleverly concealed>.

I have been with them three years.

The contract I agreed to was between ME and the company, a two-party contract, not between me, the address I was then living in and the company, which would have been a three-party contract and would have required the express permission of the address itself as well as of Dodododo^^^<ISP name cleverly concealed> and me.

Nonetheless, when unavoidable family-stuff dragged me back across the continent, even though I was insistent that I keep my feed with them, they said that because I moved WITHIN their service area I still had to be penalised by either paying $<incredible-dollars>.00 to cut the service off, or sign up for another 36 months (which have not expired) to escape without financial penalty. That was because, apparently, the address itself was also a party to the contract, and I was letting down both the company and the address by moving house within their service area and maintaining my service and regular payments without alteration.

This means that in that 36 months, I cannot move house again, even just across the road, and keeping a service with them, without being penalised those hundreds and hundreds of dollars plus the monthly rental of continuing my service, which I enjoy, because you can only waive the fees by signing for extra time just the once.

I resigned myself to that when it came about, ages ago. No moving house for me.

What I haven't resigned myself to are the telemarketing calls, which since the move have come in every three and a half weeks on the noggin. I believe they don't do it on the same day every month, or every four weeks on the same day of the week, because they think we're stupid, and that we write it in our calendar and only check rounded-months or rounded-weeks.

Every three and a half weeks, including just now, I get a call. It's dialled automatically, and there are never free operators at their end to make the call, so I hear a long silence, then a synthetic voice with an Australian accent saying "goodbye". Having an automated machine making freaky anonymous calls is not *quite* the height of rudeness: I'll explain why in a minute.

Some time later, anywhere from five minutes to five hours, I'll get a call. It always has a -er- subcontinental accent, and is either a man called Wendy (with very bad English), or a woman called Damien (with very bad English, but not quite as bad as Wendy's). Every month, Damien's voice sounds different to previous Damiens, and Wendy's voice sounds different to previous Wendys. There has never been a male Damien or a female Wendy. What kind of an idiot do they take me for?

Firstly, they identify themselves by first names only, and they are so ashamed of their employer that you have to whip out the verbal thumbscrews to get them to admit that they work for Dodododo^<ISP name cleverly concealed>. Remember that height of rudeness that an automated computerised heavy-breather isn't? Well, here it comes: something even ruder than that. The very next thing they all say, the female Damiens and male Wendys, is this: "In order to verify that I am talking to the right person, I will need you to answer four simple questions to check that you are the account-holder."

Er ... no.

Did I want the call?

Did I call them either genuinely or to mess with a friend/enemy's account?

I think not, they patently dialled me.

So I say no. They start spluttering, and start raising their voices slightly. I point out that I did not ring them, I did not invite their call, I did not want their call, I'm psychic enough to tell what they are going to be saying next and before they even start I'm going to say no, and since they have disturbed me they are welcome to provide proof of their identity, but I'm certainly not going to provide proof of my identity when I didn't make the call, didn't ask for the call and don't want the call. I tell them I think they are being breathtakingly rude.

At that point they usually stop insisting on my identifying myself, and instead tell me several hundred times at high speed that I am being recorded. As if I hadn't ever had a call from them before and didn't know the routine.

So then they start on the meat of the call, once the unpleasantries are over. "Nisaba, we are calling to offer only our most valued customers, and you are one of our most valued customers - " (my account usually gets paid a few days late because my bank account is usually empty when they hit it - is that the kind of customer they value?) "... to offer you a special deal that we are only offering specially selected customers. . For only $X per month extra if-you-sign-a-new-contract-for-another-24-months, we will allow you an extra 1 gig download per month."

"No thanks - I never run out on my current limits, whatever they are. And no thanks, I've already been signed up for extra time by your shonky people due to having the temerity to want to move house within your service area and maintain my service with you and my payments to you without any disruption. And you want me to commit myself for another couple of years without any loopholes to wriggle out of, for extra download capacity that I think I have amply demonstrated I am never going to use? Why certainly! Yes, I am feeling like an idiot today! I was just looking for some sort of useless scam to throw my money away on - I think this is just what I was looking for - thank you!"

"So there is nothing I can help you with?"

"No, there is nothing you can help me with."

"Are you satisfied with the outcome of this call?"

"No, I am not satisfied with the outcome of this call."

"For training purposes, what about this call are you not satisfied with?"

"That the call happened at all. Month after month, you and <other name offered> ring me, and we have exactly the same conversation. Month after month, you make me the same offer, and month after month I say no, I tell you I am *never* going to change my mind, and you never listen, because month after month, you will ring me again."

"Would you like me to put you on the DNC - Do Not Call register?"

"Sweetheart, in the last six months, you have put me on the DNC register four times, and Damien/Wendy (depending on whom I'm talking to) has also put me on the DNC register four times. What makes this time any different?"

"Is there anything about the service itself that I can improve for you?"

"Not without charging me money, no. The service itself is fine - it is essentially a bit of wire coming into my house with my router plugged into it. That side of things is fine. I would like the calls to stop. I would also like this call we are having right now to come to an end."

"Okay, Miss Merriweather, I will put you on the DNC register. Are you satisfied with the outcome of this call?"

"I thought we were just talking about that?"

"But I am trained to make sure a customer never hangs up without being satisfied with the outcome of the call."

"Well, your trainer is an idiot, isn't he."

They never hang up on me - I always get in first. Today, those words were the last words I said before I hung up without hearing her reply to them. Yes, it was the sweet-voiced Damien, but there are some gorgeous women in the world that I just don't want to hear from.

Oh, and experience tells me that hanging up on them doesn't work, either - they just keep calling. And calling and calling and calling. Up to fourteen times in the one evening, once.


  1. Nisaba, you SOOO need to contact the Telecommunications Ombudsman about this, right from the business of trying to get you to pay out a contract for moving house. Here's a link to the page, where there's a form for you to fill out online. DO IT, this is outrageous!