My internet dilemma and why I’ve been absent for a month

Wow! It’s been a month since I’ve posted here. I never intended to take a month off. The last time I wrote I mentioned that we moved into our new flat and that the internet would be hooked up while we were away on holiday.

That’s how it was supposed to happen. Instead this is what occurred.

A technician was scheduled to activate our phone line on June 23. The person staying with the boys waited for five hours, but the technician never arrived.

I didn’t find out until I returned from our trip. I called our service provider on June 30th and asked them to send another technician. They said there was no need since the tech was able to activate the line from outside.

I asked, “Why isn’t my internet working if the line was activated?”

He asked if I had a dial tone. I informed him that I didn’t have a phone for the land line. We both have cell phones and don’t need a land line.

There was a pause. Then the guy said he’d test our phone line from there. It came back as active. Then he ran a test for our internet. He then said the issue was our filter and he would put a replacement in the post and it would arrive in three to five business days.

The new filter arrived on July 5th. Still no internet.

I called the company the following Monday. I had to go through the whole history again and then I asked for a tech to be sent to activate the phone line. The person asked if I had a dial tone. I said I didn’t have a phone since we had two cell phones. Another pause.

Then the person said they can’t send a tech until they diagnose the issue on their end. I said they weren’t good at that since they already said it was the filter and that wasn’t the case. The person ran more tests. This time she said I needed a new router. The warranty I had for my router just ended so I would have to pay for a new one.

I did since I didn’t have much of a choice. It arrived two days later. Still no internet.

I called my company again and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in a good mood from the start. The woman wasn’t in a good mood either and started yelling at me right off when I said my internet wasn’t working. She said, “I see in your file you just received a new router. Don’t call and say your internet isn’t working. Call and say I just received a new router. I had to waste my time to read your file.”

Wow, I’m really sorry I wasted her time and didn’t know the proper procedure. She ran a test on the new router and then she asked if I had a dial tone on my phone. If she read my file she should have known I didn’t have a land line phone. I explained.

I asked for a tech to come to the flat to fix the issue. She refused. In fact, she refused to do anything else until I purchased a phone and tested the dial tone. Now I was fairly certain the line had never been activated. Part of me wanted to lie and say I didn’t have a dial tone. But I’m not a good liar. Not even on the phone.

This started an argument. I dropped an F-bomb. I was told not to swear at her. In my defense I said I didn’t want to buy an effing phone. I know it’s not nice to swear, but if the woman knew how many F-bombs I held back she may have forgiven the one I let slip out. I apologized.

She kept saying “Go to Tesco and get one. They’re only five quid.”

It wasn’t the money. I don’t like being told I have to buy something I don’t want. And it’s not just five quid. Not only did they waste my time, but each phone that’s made uses resources. I’m not the biggest environmentalist on the planet, but I don’t like buying things I know I won’t use. It’s a waste of resources.

I asked to speak to the woman’s supervisor. I was put on hold for several minutes and then the woman informed me that every supervisor was in a meeting, but they would call me back. I said don’t bother. She asked when I’d buy the phone and she would call me to see how it went. I said I wasn’t buying a phone and I needed to talk to my partner about cancelling our account.

I did call the better half and asked if it was possible to borrow a phone. It was.

Guess what. No dial tone!

I called the company the next day and informed them that we didn’t have a dial tone. The gentleman on the phone asked if I hooked up the phone properly. I haven’t used an old fashion phone in a while, but they aren’t that complicated. I said yes. Then he asked if the phone was actually plugged in. I told him I could see the time and date on the display so I was fairly certain the issue wasn’t my phone but their line.

Finally he agreed to send a tech to the house. The very next day. I was shocked by that.

The tech arrived. He said, “Oh, yeah, this line has never been activated.” Within thirty minutes, I had internet. I thanked the tech profusely and he said it happens all the time.

So that’s why I’ve been absent for the past month.

Miles was thrilled with all the extra walks during this time.

Miles was thrilled with all the extra walks during this time.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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77 Responses to My internet dilemma and why I’ve been absent for a month

  1. I would definitely have cancelled and moved to another isp especially when they made me buy a new router, seriously if you want my business routers are free or I’m off. I hope you insist on a refund for it. Anyway good to have you back. We must make a plan for you guys to come and visit.

    • TBM says:

      I’ve handed the issue off to the Better Half who is usually pretty good at staying calm and getting our money back.

      Are you guys settled now? Find all the socks yet 🙂

      • Mrs BC is also better at staying calm but I have a talent for being incredibly stubborn and annoying to call centres, I have been known to google phone numbers and email addresses for board directors of more than one company. I even got a director from the Kingfisher Group (owners of B&Q) to drive from Southampton to Croydon to grovel with us once. I have now found all the socks and the redecoration of the living area is now complete so am beginning to move things like books and dvd’s in from the cold. I’m still visiting the beach almost daily so that novelty is yet to wear off.

      • TBM says:

        Geez, next time I may enlist your help. I was surprised by how aggressive each representative was on the phone with me. And all were very unhelpful. I hope I don’t have to call them for a long time.

        The beach every day … is the guest bedroom ready?

      • yep the guest bedroom is indeed ready although slots are being booked up fast, we seem to have someone here every weekend at the moment. We’d still love to have you though, send me an email with some dates you guys are free, there’s a direct train from Paddington and Miles would be more than welcome to run riot with Bunny.

      • TBM says:

        Will do! I was just saying the other day I could use some beach time. I bet Bunny loves the new place.

      • She does indeed. We have a wild beach (which I prefer) with little development and miles of pools with crabs and seaweed etc etc and then a more traditional seafront with a pier and icecream etc etc.

      • TBM says:

        I think I would prefer the wild part. I used to love the tide pools when I lived in California.

      • TBM says:

        Thought you might be curious. The Better Half just informed me that we have been reimbursed for our router. A much better negotiator.

      • please pass on my respect in regards to their Ninja skills

      • TBM says:

        Will do. TBH was way more successful than I was with one ten minute phone call. I unfortunately had to make the other calls since I was at home and you have to be near the equipment so they can run their stupid tests. “Unplug this cord. Then plug it back in whilst standing on your hand singing Row Row your boat.”

  2. StillWalks says:

    Glad to see you’re back 🙂 It is quite ridiculous the power these people seem to hold over us. What was the company so I know to avoid them in the future?

    • TBM says:

      They do have a lot of power and they know it. And the fact that they made me buy a router was horrible. The company is one of the bigger ones in London and it starts with the letter S.

      • StillWalks says:

        So now I know to avoid all ISPs starting with S just in case my guess is wrong 😉

      • StillWalks says:

        Next time you should ask for their miss-selling department. They get nervous when you do that and start paying attention to you (in my experience).

      • TBM says:

        Never heard of the miss-selling department, but will try that trick if I have to call them back. I’m sure your guess is right on the money. To help, it’s a very small name for a company that causes a lot of grief.

  3. calmgrove says:

    Poor you! Welcome to (a) the glorious free market and (b) Britain’s wonderful customer service tradition. No accountability, no value but plenty of hassle and angst. It’s just like that classic Monty Python dead parrot sketch except that nothing’s changed in nearly half a century: http://youtu.be/Oj8RIEQH7zA

    • TBM says:

      It’s been ages since I’ve watched that clip. And yes, things haven’t changed. I had heard about Britain’s customer service, but wasn’t prepared for my battle. I was shocked half of the time.

  4. What I story! I would’ve lost my mind, changed company or give up on internet if that’s possible nowadays 😉
    Welcome back!

  5. 2 things – I hate stupidity and I would have dropped way more than one f-bomb :). I’m so glad that you’re back though. We missed you!

  6. Caroline says:

    I feel for you. I had a phone disaster adventure yesterday and it’s still not sorted.
    I swore as well. 🙂
    Welcome back. I just spotted the new Marionette cover – now that’s a cover I really like.

    • TBM says:

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who swears when upset. I try not to, I really do. I hope your phone situation gets sorted soon. It can be aggravating.

      And thanks! I like the new cover as well.

  7. lulu says:

    Ah, the frustrations of modern technology, but you’ll come back full of words.

  8. Georgia says:

    We had a very similar problem with getting our internet connected when we moved in last October and I recall it taking over a month to sort out too with phone line problems that the company thought were connected but weren’t. We ended up having to get it all re-wired from the street I think. I’m not the one to make the calls to companies in our household though, I lose patience with that kind of incompetence way too quickly. Well done you for getting it sorted.

    • TBM says:

      I’m sorry to hear you also had a similar problem. It’s so frustrating when you know you’re right, but they won’t listen. Yes, the tech had to go to the main terminal to connect the line. I’m pretty sure the original tech never bothered coming by and just said he did. I had to make the calls since I was home with the equipment so I could “help” them run the tests. Not sure what tests they are running, since none of the “results” were accurate.

      Incompetency is difficult to deal with, especially when they keep putting all the blame on the customer.

  9. Flippin’ ‘eck!!! How infuriating is that?!

    Anyway, great to have you back. And Miles, of course 🙂

  10. what a kerfuffle–I could hardly live without internet–it is how I send my column and articles into the paper–I think you were tremendously patient–I probably would have put a hit out on them

    • TBM says:

      I had to submit some freelance work and it gave me a wonderful reason to hop into the pub before noon on several days. I had a deadline after all. I think the employees I spoke to would disagree with your thought that I was patient. I think my file has been marked as difficult.

  11. Over here in home of the brave, land of the free, I have cable Internet, which comes complete with its own set of headaches, but at least it has nothing to do with having a landline. What you endured sounded infuriating, but at least the problem seems resolved. I assumed your absence was because you were still dealing with your move and in withdrawal from attending Wimbledon.

    • TBM says:

      We didn’t attend Wimbledon. Tickets are hard to come by and we haven’t attempted queuing up early in the am in hopes of getting in yet. And we were out of town for most of it. Will be in NY for the tennis though! I am going through World Cup withdrawal, even though we didn’t go there either.

      • Yes, I know how much you enjoy soccer. I take it that at least your TV was up and running while your Internet was down and out? Do you already have US Open Tennis tickets? Every year, Milton and I consider going, but we never have. We were also pretty unhappy about this story that recently ran in the NY Daily News — not that terror threats would stop us. Our plans are dictated by ticket price.

        http://nydn.us/1nJtJdn

      • TBM says:

        Our TV was working. We use the same company for that but had the option to pay our own guy to hook it up in the new place. I would have dropped way more f-bombs if both weren’t working. We’re USTA members and have the option to buy tickets every year. We usually have the same package, three days in the beginning. That’s a horrible story. Target people, not buildings–who can say that? Security is already pretty tight there. I imagine it will be amped up more this year.

        And with the news from yesterday … Just horrible.

      • We saw Cabaret on Broadway last night. It was a terrific production starring Alan Cumming as MC and Michelle Williams as a heartbreaking Sally Bowles (who critics unfairly maligned), but tickets might be hard to get. We got ours last year and the theater was sold out. I haven’t heard that it’s closing so if you think you’d like to see it, it might behoove you to try to order tickets now.

      • TBM says:

        I need to look into that! Thanks for the heads up. So you think she did a decent job?

      • Yes, she did. The problem is that people have Liza Minnelli’s over the top powerhouse performance etched in their minds. Michelle played Sally Bowles as the no talent loser that she is who makes bad choices. I found her portrayal of Sally very moving. When she sang Cabaret, I realized just how tragic Sally Bowles is. I came close to popping a tear I found her lost soul Sally so heartbreaking. Milton thinks that critics were so hard on her because her background is film, but New York theater critics are a very bitchy breed. Alan Cumming is superb. The guy is closing in on 50 but still gives a demanding, physical performance. Everyone gave him a standing o at curtain call.

  12. Geoff W says:

    I’m impressed you only dropped one f-bomb. You should get internet free for a few months after the ridiculous number of times you had to call them. From what I remember living over there if you wanted anything done you had to send a physical letter and have a received-signature and then threaten to go to an arbitrator. IT was horrid! But glad you got it back, finally.

    • TBM says:

      I was impressed I didn’t drop more f-bombs either. When angry they fly out. And when angry and dealing with stupidity, I have a real hard time controlling it. I didn’t threaten to go to an arbitrator, but I did call them crooks since they were making me pay for services they weren’t providing.

      Actually we do have internet for free for at least a year. The Better Half placed a call today. A much smoother and efficient approach. That’s why I’m not the business person in this household.

  13. I’ve missed you!

    I agree with the folks who say they’d have cancelled. What you suffered went beyond bad customer service and leaped well into abuse. If they’d done what they were supposed to you wouldn’t have had to make any phone calls, buy a new router, hunt down a land line phone, and they wouldn’t have had to suffer your wrath. If they’re gonna be delicate and whine about your language, they should do their jobs right the first time. Or at least the second time. Or maybe the third? *sheesh*

    Welcome back 🙂

  14. Whew! What a frustration, waste of time and money, and wear and tear on the old nervous system! My condolences. Glad you’re back, though, and condolences to the pooch too, for reduced walking time ahead.

  15. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I’d love to know who they are! suspect there may beab and possiblyat! You’re a lot more patient than me 🙂

  16. Rorybore says:

    wow wow wow, someone needs to brush up on their service standards. and also their customer service relationship skills. You’re my hero for only dropping one F Bomb!! gracious.
    But glad to see you’re back and look forward to catching up.

  17. Colline says:

    So frustrating when the people on the other side of the line do not listen! Glad you are back though so we can hear your news 🙂

  18. Letizia says:

    I’m surprised you only said the F-word once- what a nightmare!!

  19. poppytump says:

    Nightmare scenario. I couldn’t possibly get started on problematic tech / internet things here.. my Saturday would be gone with furious tappings on keyboard just letting it all go … just so happens sssh all well in that dept at the moment and I’m very grateful .
    Needless to say ….. but WELCOME BACK TBM 🙂

  20. Jo Bryant says:

    This sort of behaviour makes me furious. I am going to buy a whistle. And when I get obnoxious people on the phone being unhelpful…if they start to yell…I intend to blow their bloody ears off.

  21. Anna says:

    Sounds like a nightmare!

  22. The first thing that possped into my head was the old song: “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza…”
    I wonder why 😉

  23. Sorry. Popped into my head 😉

  24. Beth Ann says:

    Good grief. It sounds a bit like our Austar fiasco in Australia. So very frustrating and hard to not get angry and verbal when something like this happens. We are all very glad to have you back with us!!!! 🙂

  25. Novroz says:

    I didn’t know you’re already active again 🙂
    Welcome back ((hug))

    That was seriously pain in the arse! I would have lost control too if I were you. That woman needs to learn some manner. Anyway, glad to see you back 🙂

  26. Wow, unbelievable! Glad you’re back on line again. 🙂

  27. Adventures in moving never stop, eh? In addition to being without furniture for three weeks last summer, we also had issues getting our TV and internet set-up in ID. Things always turn into such a run around. At least we had my hubby’s Mi-fi connection from his job. TV hook-up was an issue in NC too. Turns out ours was in the neighbors side of the fence, and the TV guy informed me he wasn’t going into her “scary spider jungle of a backyard.” Free internet, that’s what Starbucks is for. It took about three weeks that time too to get all the kinks ironed out.

  28. SO incredibly happy you are back!

  29. pattisj says:

    How frustrating! I’m glad they finally got you back online.

  30. Isobel says:

    Blimey. What a nightmare. What company was this. I definitely want to avoid it. Did you get compensation? Outrageous that you are told to buy a ‘phone.

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