Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Internet Off-Line

We had problems with the internet, starting last Tuesday, when the modem/router got damaged. I had to ring TalkTalk (our internet service provider) to get a replacement. Have you ever had to deal with a company through it's call centre? I bet you have, and I bet it's been a really awful experience, having to listen to dreadful music when you're put on hold, and the droning voice of a woman who say 'your call is important to us.' The endless waiting, the patronising tone of the person who eventually answers. The ridiculous questions. The security checks. I could go on and on. And then, eventually,  getting through to some sort of menu and THEN having to make the decision on what key to press. Or to just 'hold' until 'one of our agents is free to speak to you.'

I eventually got through (after about three attempts. I almost lost the will to live, or to throw the phone out of the window . . .) I had to go through a load of nonsense to find out what was wrong with the router, at one point having to stick a sharp point in a hole in the back of the thing. I used a ball-point pen. It didn't get the thing to work, as you would imagine. I was then passed on to another person, and each time this happened I had to go through all the security rigmarole. They decided that the old router wasn't going to work so they'd have to send us a new one. This arrived yesterday, when I went into Central Milton Keynes yesterday morning. There was a  card from the Post Office stuck through the door when I got home to say that they couldn't put the parcel through the letterbox as it was too big (and thank goodness they didn't as it would most likely have broken the router.) and if I went to the sorting office after three hours I could collect it.
Anyway, it took most of the evening to set up the new router (a considerably smaller and less complicated gadget compared to the old one.) and get the internet working again as we couldn't work out which password and username was which, as the broadband had one and the connection between the iMac and the router had another.

On a different matter, but still with TalkTalk. You have to pay your monthly bill by direct debit. By the time this is due there is never enough money in the bank account to actually cover the bill, so this gets returned to TalkTalk (as it would with any company who you pay your bills with.) As a result the amount we owed got into arrears. I rang up last week and payed the outstanding bill using my debit card, a simple enough task. But the whole idea of setting up a direct debit, you would have thought, was that it's an easier, simpler means of paying your bill, as you can just forget it and the company gets it's payment without any fuss. Further to this, you tell them when you want the money to come out of your account, usually at the time when you have money going IN to the account, so that the direct debits are covered. Well, this is what I tried to explain to the person I spoke to at TalkTalk. They told me that it wasn't possible to change the day that the money came out of our account. I said that virtually all the other companies we pay our bills to by direct debit allowed us to set up the day they are paid. But TalkTalk won't play ball over this issue. I said that they were totally inflexible. I will have to wait for them to phone up so each monthly bill can be paid by debit card. I'd just like to know if other people find this a really annoying business and totally inflexible. There must be  a few as I'd expect them to have quite a lot of customers.

Anyway, all this to explain why I havent' managed to post anything to this blog for a week.
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