Living out in the sticks isn’t without its’ challenges such as 3 foot of snow in the depths of winter, the odd power outage and super slow broadband. To be fair, unlike most of our neighbours, the speed of our broadband has never really been an issue for Mud and I. No, it’s been the reliability of the service that has always proven the biggest challenge, especially for Mud on days he works from home, when the sudden lost of connectivity can and has caused major problems for him. However, in spite of the problems we have experienced over the years and the stress and frustration that has been caused through talking to the clueless individuals they have working in our Service Provider BTs’ call centres, when fiber optic came to the village back in January this year, Mud was very reluctant to make the jump across for two main reasons:
- because although the cable from the box to the exchange is fiber optic, the cable from our house to the junction box is still copper wire, so he couldn’t quite see how our speed etc could be so much faster: and
- better the devil you know and all that.
But just recently the broadband connection has been even more troublesome than usual and so when a letter from BT dropped through the door three weeks or so ago, offering a free upgrade to Infinity, Mud and I had a bit of a chat and it was decided that I would make further enquiries into the cost etc. A quick phone call to the number on the letter, soon elicited the relevant information and after a bit more discussion, Mud decided that we should go ahead with the upgrade.
I deal with BT in our household, as Mud tends to find contact with them very bad for his blood pressure, temper and general well being. So I entered into negotiations for the upgrade and by the time I had finished talking to the nice Glaswegian lady, in the British call centre, I knew how much Infinity would cost per quarter compared to our current service, when the new Home Hub 5 would be arriving (in two weeks on the Tuesday) and that two days after that, the Engineer would do the switch over at the exchange. We wouldn’t need to be in for any of this, wouldn’t have any contact with the engineer, wouldn’t need to do anything other than unpack the Hub, connect it to the phone line (Home Hub 5 is compatible with old fashioned Broadband so our internet wouldn’t be affected bar a 30 minute window when the engineer did his thing) and then sit back and wait until the engineer switched us over on the Thursday.
Fast forward two weeks and Tuesday arrived. Mud was working away that day but I was going to be home most of the time and so would be there to take receipt of the new Hub, not that I needed to be there because the lady from Glasgow had assured me that the new Hub was slim enough to be popped through the letterbox and wouldn’t even need signing for. Excellent!
By the time Mud arrived home, late on Tuesday night, the new Hub hadn’t arrived and I was getting worried.
It still hadn’t arrived by Wednesday late morning.
“I’m going to have to give them a ring to find out what’s happening,” I said to Mud.
“The Hubs not due to arrive until tomorrow (Thursday),” he replied, “I got a text from them telling me that!”
“No!” I argued, “The lady told me that the Hub would arrive yesterday and the engineer is booked to do the switch over some time tomorrow! He can’t do the switch over before the Hub 5 arrives otherwise we won’t have any internet because the Hub 4 isn’t compatible!”
At this point Mud went into full Victor Meldrew mode, started chuntering about BT and how he knew it wouldn’t be that straightforward because is never is with them!!!!
In the meantime I called BT to find out what was going on. Unfortunately, this time I didn’t get through to the British Call Centre! Nope! This time I was dealing with the Indian Call Centre (yes Mr Call Centre Operative, I REALLY am allowed act on behalf of my husband!). Even as I confirmed my address etc, I could feel my stress levels rising, my blood pressure pounding but the man on the other end of the phone listened politely to what I was saying:
Me (calmly): “the Hub 5 hasn’t arrived yet!”
Call Centre Guy: “Yes Mrs Mud, I am seeing it is on route to you!”
Me (patiently): “Yes but It was supposed to be here Tuesday! My husband has now had a text saying it is coming tomorrow (Thursday)”
Call Centre Guy: “Yes Mrs Mud I am seeing that it will be with you by 2pm tomorrow.”
Me (still patiently): “But the Engineer is switching us over tomorrow and if he switches us over tomorrow BEFORE the new Hub arrives, we wont be able to use the internet! My husband works from home! He needs the internet! I need you to cancel the engineer until after we recieve the new Hub!”
Call Centre Guy: “Yes Mrs Mud, I am seeing that the engineer will be switching you to infinity tomorrow but he will not be needing to come to your house, he will do it at the exchange. Your connection will go when he does this. Do not plug your Hub 5 in until after you have lost connection. When you plug Hub in you will have instant connection.”
Me (getting exasperated now): “But we haven’t got our Hub 5 yet and we do not want the engineer switching us over until we have the new Hub because then Mr Mud wont be able to do his work! I need you to cancel the engineer for tomorrow and rearrange him for next week!”
Call Centre Guy: “Yes Mrs Mud, I am seeing that the engineer will be switching you to Infinity tomorrow and you will not be able to use the internet until your new Hub is delivered but you will be able to connect straight away when it arrives!”
By now I felt my blood beginning to boil, as I tried to get him to understand that we needed to rearrange the engineer. Finally, after 20 minutes, he suddenly twigged and put me on hold so that he could deal with rescheduling the engineer.
Call Centre Guy: “Hello Mrs Mud, I have been arranging for the Engineer to go to the exchange after 5pm tomorrow! Your Hub 5 will be delivered by 2pm tomorrow and then the engineer will switch over tomorrow evening and then you will be connected.”
I clarified these details twice more before ending the call and passed the information on to a frankly cynical Mud.
Today I went out for a couple of hours and when I got back at about 1.20pm, it was to a highly stressed Mud …….. the internet had dropped out on him at 12.30!!! The new Hub hadn’t arrived yet and he wasn’t impressed. Neither was I!
So followed another phone call, once again to the Indian Call Centre but this time it was a young woman who dealt with me, a young woman who clearly had no clue what she was talking about and was reading a ‘one size fits all’ script.
Call Centre Lady after I had spent 5 minutes explaining the problem to her: “Yes Mrs Mud, I am seeing that your Hub 5 is being delivered by 6pm today!”
Me: “WHAT!!! 6pm!!!!!”
Almost incandescent with frustration, I tried to get this operative to realise that what had happened was unacceptable and I needed them to contact the engineer, get him back to the exchange pronto and unswitch what ever it was that he had done. It was clear to me that either the engineer had decided to switch us over regardless of the new instructions or that the Call Centre Guy had out and out lied and hadn’t rearranged the appointment at all and had just said that to get rid of me. Either way, it was painfully clear to me that the lady I was speaking to hadn’t a clue what to do and I could hear the panic in her voice, so I politely brought the conversation to an end.
But this still left us with a problem and Mud facing the very real possibility of having to drive the 200 miles to Head Office to be able to do his job. So I decided to try again and got through to another gentleman in the Indian Call Centre, who listened patiently to everything I said and then said:
Call Centre Guy #2: “Yes Mrs Mud, I am seeing that the engineer has switched you to Infinifty and when your Hub arrives you will be able to plug it in immediately and use the internet.”
It was about 1.56pm by this time and as I was trying for the umpteenth time to get the man at the other end of the line to understand that I needed him to get the engineer back immediately, I saw a red postal van pull up outside. Breathlessly Mud and I watched as the postie delivered to the house opposite, before returning to his van, opening the back doors, reaching in and joy of joys heading to our door with a long, thin parcel – the Home Hub 5 had finally arrived!
Me to the Call Centre Guy #2 : “It’s okay the Hub has finally arrived but I am not impressed by the level of service we have received”
Call Centre Guy #2: “Yes Mrs Mud I am hearing that you have the Hub 5. I am now putting you on hold so I can be arranging for the engineer to go back to the exchange!”
Me (shrieking hysterically): “Nooooooo!!!!! Don’t do anything!!!!! We have the Hub, everything is fine as it is!!!!!!!”