This has nothing to do with law, but sometimes a personal howl of frustration must be let loose.
The topic is crappy internet service providers. To be specific, Pipex Internet. I am a Pipex subscriber, although not for very much longer. I have been for years. It used to be a reliable and not overly expensive provider for a 1Mps ADSL connection.
Over the last year or so, things have gone badly wrong.
First was the upgrade fiasco. With the introduction of new subscriptions and the promise of ‘up to’ 8Mps connections, I was naturally interested in transferring – paying less for a faster connection. The online upgrade application page was mysteriously ‘coming soon’ for months. Eventually I called. It appears my connection has been Local Loop Unbundled (LLU), where Pipex take control over the equipment in my local telephone exchange. Ah, I thought, surely this is a good thing. Haven’t all the internet providers been telling us that LLU would enable them to upgrade the connections far more easily and provide a better service?
Not according to Pipex. They couldn’t upgrade the LLU equipment to an ‘up to’ 8 Mps connection because of ‘technical problems’, although the remainder of the BT controlled exchange was already at 8 Mps. When would these ‘technical problems’ be resolved? They had no idea, there was no projected timescale. So, I asked, was I in a worse position that if I had a BT account or a non-LLU account? Yes, they said. Why was I paying more than their 8 Mps offering then? They agreed to reduce the price of my account to the mid range 8Mps account price (I wanted to retain the unlimited useage). Did they upgrade my account to a 2 Mps one, which the current equipment supports? No.
Fine. Begin researching about switching.
Three months later – a few days ago – I received an email stating that, as I had not responded to ‘previous communications’ about a missed direct debit, my account would be cancelled in 10 days unless the problem was sorted. I had received no previous communications, either by phone or email.
I called the next day – but to the main number because this ultimatum looked like a phishing attempt. After 21 minutes on hold, (I timed it and have a record), I found out that it was a credit card expiry date issue. Fine, easily sorted. But why was the first I knew about it an email threatening disconnection?
It’s an automated email.
I guessed that, but why does it refer to previous communications?
There was a first email.
When? I did not receive it.
It’s an automated process.
Well, it failed.
Anyway, now you have sorted the payment out, your account will be taken off suspension.
Suspension? What suspension?
It was suspended this morning.
I knew nothing about this. There was no warning.
It was in the first email.
I didn’t receive the first bloody email
Sorry about that. The account should be unsuspended after 2 hours. you will need to restart your router.
I get home some 5 hours later. Restart router. Nada. Restart router. Nada.
Call Pipex, explain situation.
Yes it is on the list to be unsuspended, it will be done within 24 hours.
I was told 2 hours.
Yes, 2 to 24 hours.
So where is it on the list?
Within 24 hours.
The connection came back up about 11.30 pm, so I suppose it was only 11 hours.
What can I say, at least without spitting invective. I can’t blame the call centre monkeys, I can only blame the stunning incompetence of Pipex in managing, organising and running both their customer service and their technical departments. What I have had from them is cheap, lazy nonsense. They were happy to take my money for an over priced, out of contract, out of date connection, but they can’t actually put any effort in to sort out their own technical cock-up on the LLU or to make sure their automated ‘service’ systems actually work. Plus they resort to an automated threat (that resembles phishing) at the earliest opportunity. I’m a litigator, I don’t respond well to threats.
In the face of this colossal arrogance and abrogation of responsibility, I’m off to a service provider that actually provides a service. I await the conversation with Pipex’s rentention department with interest, as they are already on record as fibbing to people that no other service provider will accept a transfer of their LLU accounts. Not all will, granted, but there are plenty of exceptions.
A pity. Pipex used to be a good company. Still they were purchased by Tiscali, so there should be no surprise that it is now crap in all regards.
16/08/08] Comments on this post are now closed. But think on, Pipex, think on.