Tiddler in the Bogpond.
Read this story of high farce.
This is how it came to pass:
I pay up
They stuff up!
Bigpond, Bigpond, ‘Kiss my arse!’
I have never become so pissed off that I have abused a call centre operator, but I came close today. You can tell by my language, I am still angry.
The story starts a month ago at Daughter No1’s house in Wollongong. Up early to check train and bus timetables for trip home to Mooloolaba and find the internet connection isn’t working. ‘Password not recognised’.
Scene 1. Tech Support, 5 AM: My wireless broadband is asking for my password but doesn’t accept it.
(After interminable questions to establish identity) “Your account has been closed. Sir”.
“Your account has not been paid and your account has been closed.”
But it’s paid automatically by debit card.
“Sorry Sir, you will have to talk to Accounts.”
OK, put me through to accounts.
“Accounts operate between 9 and 5.”
Shit! I need to get on line to book seats. I’m travelling. I need to be on line now!
“Sorry, Sir you will have to speak with Accounts at 9.”
Scene 2. Accounts at 9, having put off trip home until later: After listening to hundred choruses of an inferior version of ‘We are Australian’, I repeat the whole sorry tale.
“Your account is in arrears three months. You did not respond to warnings so it was terminated.”
Haven’t you been listening? I received no warnings. You have always deducted my account automatically. You stuffed up so please fix it. I need to get on line now!
“Before you can get on line, the account must be paid.”
I am not at home, I have no transport so I need to get on line to access the account. You made the error, so reconnect me and I can transfer funds now.
“I understand, but until the account is paid we cannot reconnect you.”
So you’re telling me that despite the fact the error is yours, you can’t reconnect me until I pay and I can’t pay until I am reconnected. So I am stuck in Wollongong forever. Is that right?
(Laughs) ‘I know it sounds silly, but that’s right. You’ll have to pay at a post office with your card.”
(silent scream of frustration) OK, thanks for nothing.
Scene 3. Close Account Section: “Why do you wish to close your account, Sir?”
Because your account section failed to take funds from my account for three months, I didn’t notice, you didn’t contact me by e-mail as arranged and now because of your stuff-up, my account is closed and I can’t get on line to pay the bill, so my next move is to walk down the street to Optus, open an account and get on line in ten minutes.
”What about the outstanding amount?”
I’ll pay that when I get on line with Optus. There never was any intention not to pay, so you’ll get your money. Your accounts section made a mistake which has already cost me time and inconvenience and now I feel I’m in a Franz Kafka novel!
Never mind. Just close the account.
“I am beginning to understand, Sir. I am sorry for the misunderstanding. I can reconnect you now and your account will be deducted on the 26th February.”
(still terse) OK, I’ve reconsidered, so when do I get on line?
Give it a few minutes and it’ll be fine.”
Scent 4. Accounts: (Half an hour later, same message, ‘password not working’).
Hello, my password still isn’t working.
“You need to reset your password with Technical Support.”
Scent 5. Tech Support. “Sorry Sir, to reconnect closed accounts takes up to 48 hours.”
Scent 6. Close Accounts Section. (voice more terse) If I am not connected immediately I really am giving Bogpond (sic) the flick. Your call!
(operator laughs) “I just checked your account and what’s happened today! It’s a wonder you’re still talking to us.”
(mood a bit lighter) Right, so I’m a soft touch! Now, what can you do?
“We will debit your account on the 26th Feb. I’ll connect you with Tech Support now. You can get a new password and be up and running almost immediately.”
(sigh of relief) Thanks, will do.
Tech support did provide a new password and connection was re-established.
Time wasted three hours, had to rebook transport at extra cost.
Scene 6. Last Friday at Sis’s house: “Mail for you.”
Letter from Telstra. Cancellation Warning Notice. Threatens to close account, wipe my mail addresses, plus plus plus and have my credit rating downgraded.
I ignore it, presuming it was sent before the problem was fixed.
Scene 7. Yesterday, at computer, 11 AM: (thinks) What if they’ve stuffed up again and it really is a cancellation warning? Check bank. $65 deducted only! Call Bigpond accounts.
“We are only permitted to debit funds for the current bill. Arrears must be paid manually, at a post office, direct debit or B-Pay.”
I wasn’t told that, but OK, how much is owing now?
“$266.50. Will I hang on while you pay?”
No. I need this line for the bank to verify the payment, but I will pay this immediately. Do I need to call you back?
“No, I’ll make a note what you’re doing and it’ll be right.”
“Have a great afternoon.”
Get on line to bank. Pay bill, print receipt. Time: 12.41PM EST.
Scene 8. 5 AM today. At home on Tiziana, make a cuppa, turn on computer. Message: ‘Invalid password’.
Call Bigpond Tech Support.
(Pilipino accent). “Sorry Sir, your account has been closed. You need to talk to accounts.”
(Stay calm, stay calm.) Put me through to accounts.
“Sorry Sir, Accounts not open until 9.”
"Your account was closed at 4PM EST yesterday."
8.3.2010. No amount of pleading or explaining could achieve anything and now five days later they tell me I must go to the Telstra shop and start a new account from scratch, new modem, now e-address, new everything. Pay for all that plus $55 in fines for their stuff up! (They agreed to forego the fines.)
Note: I am now with Optus!