Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The reply came from Anchorage, Alaska

"I want you to understand something. We are not subject to city, state or federal regulations. We are omnipotent."

"We don't care and we don't have to! Because we are the phone company!"
From "One RingyDingy" - Lily Tomlin

"But her reply came from Anchorage, Alaska"
From "Anchorage", Michelle Shocked

I don't understand phone companies.

Although phone companies in the U.S. are a trillion times better than those in Australia (calling Telstra in Australia has been known to cause nervous breakdowns, and for perfectly normal people to suddenly run out and buy polyester), there's no point in damning them with faint praise.

A couple of weeks ago, whenever I called overseas, I'd get an overseas number answering OK. But not the correct overseas number. Not even the correct country, although I must admit, the planet was correct.

I'd dial the number of a friend in Australia and get a politically correct Canadian voice of a sex somewhere between male and female, informing me in two languages (note not Inuit or M├ętis) that the number I was dialing did not exist. Il n'existe pas! I'd try another friend - I'm not fussy. I'm a New Yorker. I'll talk to anyone.

But it wasn't to be. I'd get hooked up with Cuba, Bosnia, anywhere where I didn't have friends.

value="http://www.youtube.com/v/k9e3dTOJi0o&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999"> So ... I decided that I needed to call the CUSTOMER SERVICE of my phone provider. I tried to prepare myself. I poured a wine and drank it, and poured another. Was I up to it? Probably not but I gave it a go.

The on-hold time was a bit long, even for a seasoned New Yorker like me. As well, how did I know that the number I had dialed was the number I had dialed? Plus I really wasn't up to listening to an answer in Swahili, let alone to being connected to the U. K.

An email. I'd try email. Which I did.

The answer came back ... in English.

Dear Kathleen Juliff,

Thank you for contacting Vonage Customer Care.

It can be upsetting when you are calls to Australia are routing incorrectly

kathleen [sic] , please know that we regret your dissatisfaction with the brief service issue. As this is happening on International calls, it seems that the issue is with the International partner carriers who are routing the calls outside Vonage network. As informed earlier, our Call processing team is still investigating this issue (ticket # 24367252). So please wait for
another couple of days while we resolve it for you. You will be notified by
phone/email once this ticket is resolved.

Thanks for your patience and co-operation in this regard.

Thanks for contacting us.

A couple of days to resolve phone connectivity? I didn't think so. So I wrote back:

I cannot understand this cavalier response. Yes it can be "upsetting when
calls are incorrectly routed.

I note that you still charge me when your system doesn't work.

It should be irrelevant to the consumer as to how you implement your system.
Blaming your 'partner carriers' is of no help to me.

And I do not call several days 'brief',


And received:
Dear K Juliff,

It can be upsetting when you are unable to make international calls on your Vonage phone.

Kathleen, I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We have already escalated this issue to the concerned department through Ticket # 24371584. This issue is specifically under the review of higher hierarchy. It would be dealt diligently to resolve this issue. Once we have resolved this issue, you will be notified by email, please give us 24-48 business hours. Thank you for sparing your valuable time regarding this matter.

Thanks for contacting us.

What's with the "higher hierarchy"? Bizarre! When I was younger I would have persevered. If email had been around back then, I would have certainly responded. But they would not have answered the smoke signals either.

What's the point? What was the point?

And after all, it isn't really so bad. At least I had connectivity. What's so bad about getting Cuba or a province of Bavaria when you dial Australia? At least someone answers.

I should count myself lucky.

Stay tuned ...


Anonymous said...

Obviously you are corresponding to an Indian or a Philippino. Bad!
Can't you try contacting them at a different time of day? Sometimes that works.
When all else fails, I try my best Oxford accent and use words of three syllables or more (if possible.)
Sounds like the Australian end is all screwed up, which given your comments about Telstra, is probably correct.
Don't anyone tell me that Australia has good customer service, nor does it have good medical care. I've too many friends whose diagnoses are totally cactus fuctus.

nautiaussie said...

Well, ringy, dingy, ding, dong! Om-neeee-peee-tent they are indeed, and good luck with the calls and emails. No matter what country we live in, a certain amount of very valuable time will be spent on hold, getting an unsatisfactory answer to a fairly logical question about service that we have paid for and not received. At least you didn't have to press 2 for English......or did you???

Jaded NYer said...

Ah, the whole problem can be summed up in one word...VONAGE!!!
All these voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) phone systems that are cheap, convenient, accessible from anywhere over your computer, and DON"T WORK. My in-laws have this system and they swear by it, except when it DON'T WORK. Then they get irate.

Give me my nice, strong, stable, Verizon LAND LINE any day. A land line phone will work if the world ends, and don't forget SIR CHARGE!! If it wasn't for Sir Charge (such a well dressed man) to slog through the muck and mire of gabbers everywhere yakking it up about endless meaningless blather, usually in public, no one would speak to anyone.

With my trusty land line I can call the man in the moon and the call goes through. A sweet elderly gentleman answers my call and tells me for the 48th time that no, I have not reached the East Village Cheese Shop.

chinamonty said...

One of the joys of living in China was whenever I had a problem like this I always had someone willing to help me resolve it by doing it for me. Wish I had someone here.

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