I looked at my blog yesterday for the first time since November 30th. I found comments there from two friends that cheered me up on what so far had been a fairly humiliating morning (that will have to be another post!) One of them commented on how being a Mom must make me really busy to have not posted for so long. Which is partly true. But my long absence is mainly because of the saga which I am about to record because I just have to get it out of my system. Feel free to stop reading part-way through, this is mostly for me!
A little background for you: up until recently, there has been one telephone company in Spain that held the monopoly. Since losing that privilege, new phone companies have sprouted up and serious competition has begun for phone and internet services. Some time in late October or November, one of these companies (with whom I have a calling plan to avoid the ex-monopoly company) called me and offered me free calls within Spain if I would sign up for their ADSL line. I said yes. I planned to wait until the "pack" from this company arrived and then proceed to cancel the one we had so I would not experience any gap in service.
On November 30th, our ADSL line (with the original company) was not connecting. It has happened before when they were having some technical difficulties, but it never lasted too long. After spending the morning trying to connect and always receiving the same error message, I called "customer service." This is the gist of the conversation. Note: "poetic license" has been used.
"I'm calling to find out why I can't get our ADSL line to connect."
"It's because you have not paid your bill since August."
"What? That's news to me! Were you going to let me know that my bill had not been paid?" (No, I do not watch my Spanish bank account like a hawk and notice if someone has not gotten their money.)
"It could take up to six months before we send you a notice."
"Hmmm. OKAAAAAAAAY. Well, I'd like to pay my bill; please charge the following bank card (an American one)."
"OK, your bill is paid, but we cannot reconnect your service until December 12th because we are doing bills right now."
"You cut me off on a day when I cannot get reconnected for two weeks even if I pay immediately?"
"Yes, but call us on the 10th and maybe we can get you back on then."
End of conversation. I was slightly in shock but hung up. After all, I suppose it really is my duty to watch my bank account more closely, especially for money that has not gone out. I stew for awhile and then think of the ADSL pack that is coming from Company B. It should be coming soon. I am annoyed and more than a little unhappy with Company A. I call them back.
"I would like to cancel my ADSL line please."
"May I ask why?"
"Yes, my bill was apparently not being paid but I did not receive a notice. I was then cut off at a time when I cannot be reconnected for two weeks."
"Let me connect you to someone else."
"I understand you want to disconnect your ADSL line?"
"My bill was apparently not being paid but I did not receive a notice. I was then cut off at a time when I cannot be reconnected for two weeks."
"You should have received either an email, a phone call or a letter in the mail saying your bill was not being paid."
"Well, my associate is correct in saying that we cannot reconnect you for 2 weeks. We are doing bills and we cannot change the status of any account."
"Yes, well, I would like to cancel my account. What do I need to do to get it canceled?"
"You can do fax or email."
"I would like to use email."
"Send an email to this address from your primary account saying you want to cancel. Include all pertinent information." End of conversation.
I tried to send the email that very moment, only to discover that I could not access my primary account in any way, even with webmail using some other connection. I called again.
"I need to cancel my ADSL line via FAX. How do I do that?"
So, on December 3, I sent the fax. Account canceled. Now we just have to wait a few days for Company B's ADSL pack to arrive. More than a week later, I think maybe I should call Company B just to check when this pack might arrive.
"Awhile ago you called me and offered me ADSL service with fee calls within Spain. I did not make a note of the date and I was just wondering if you could tell me when that pack will arrive."
After checking my account. "We don't have any record of an ADSL line activated for you ma'am."
"What?? Well I want one!"
"Well I'm sorry, I don't know what could have happened but I can get it started right now and we'll get right on it." (note, this is the first I'm sorry I have heard!)
"OK, and hurry please!!!"
Later the same day a very nice woman from Company B calls me to finish arranging this ADSL. While we are on the phone she tried to "activate" this process. "Oh, we cannot send this to you. You have an ADSL line with company A."
"No, I HAD one but I canceled it more than a week ago."
"Well, the central computer still shows that you are signed up with them and we are not allowed to activate any process until your line shows clear. You need to call Company A and then call us back in a week."
I call Company A. "How long before my line shows clear?"
"That can take up to 30 days."
In the meantime, after I have simmered down to the point of a dull fuming, I find that instead of charging my delinquent bills to the American card like I asked, Company A has sent the bill through my Spanish bank account. With not enough money in it. My bank agreeably lets my account go in the hole to pay this bill. And promptly bounces the bill for my mobile phone. I am now resigned to being without ADSL until at least January. I have to use dialup. And now I cannot use my mobile phone because calls are barred. I receive the next month's bill (along with the returned amount) and make sure that there is enough money in the bank to cover it. The bank bounces it anyway.
On January 7th, I call Company B again. They think my line is clear and they think they can start my process, but please call back next week to make sure because their computes are very slow today. I call back the next day. Yes, it's started. It should be delivered in 15-20 days.
Today is February 5th. I called Company B this week more than once and they assured me that my pack will be delivered soon.
I have given up hope. Maybe by 2006 I will be back online. Maybe not.
So there you go, the saga. I hope you can sense the emotional trauma I have suffered. And if you wonder for a moment why my husband has been able to keep his blog up to date, it's because he has the good computer. Mine becomes a dinosaur when you pair it with dial-up. The only reason that I am even posting today is because my husband is not home and I am using his computer.
I'm not bitter, really. The moral of the story is this. NEVER change ADSL companies in Spain. NEVER EVER.
I know that the people at Company A are still laughing because I told them I couldn't be without ADSL for two weeks.