Tiscali: service disconnected because of a mix up with payments. Payments sorted and also taken off the premium rate that S has been paying for goodness knows how long and onto the rate offered to everyone else, the ducking leeches. When will the service be reactivated? 5-6 hours. K. 12 hours later no service. 20 hours later no service. Phone them. Lady says check equipment. Problem's your end with your router says the barely comprehensible but very sweet Indian lady. She says they will check the line again and get back. Then S has to go into hospital at short notice so I couldn't give a toss about Tiscali.
Until the next day when I have received a nasty letter from Equita, thick-headed bailiffs to Her Majesty's local councils. (Don't you just love the strapline on their site? "Your Natural Choice" makes them sound like a laxative). 6 years ago when I left Crayford in the London Borough of Bexley to move to Crewe, I must have left a bit of unpaid council tax. I honestly don't know, I have a vague recollection of it but presume that because I'd not heard anything from the council for nigh on 6 years, the matter was resolved. Apparently not. Equita have taken it upon themselves to repeatedly send letters regarding a debt I didn't know still existed to an address I hadn't been living at since last July when S and I separated. Nothing in the interim from Bexley council asking me to get my act together. Oh no. Because if memory serves, Equita also collect Bexley's council tax so they cut out the middle man and send in the bullnecked sovereign ring wielding sub-morons straight away. Sharon's medical condition is such that she'd only managed to forward one of these letters to me, unaware of its contents. I contacted the council who wrote back and told me to contact the bailiffs. I sent them an email before Easter, then Sharon became very ill and I came up to Crewe on Good Friday to help her and also hopefully sort out this new house I'm meant to be moving in to. I was waiting the reply to my email when the internet died.
Yesterday I spoke to another sweet yet heavily accented lady at Tiscali to tell her that I have tried two routers and that neither of them are displaying the ADSL light that would indicate that Tiscali are pumping the usual diet of Albanian granny pr0n and emails containing lists of dental practitioners in Minnesota my way and could she please sort it out. The fact that the equipment here was working perfectly OK until the moment they switched the service off seemed to cut no ice. I stand my ground. I even suggest that maybe there's a fault at the exchange because Tiscali and one of the Crewe exchanges have had "issues" in the past of which we, as innocent customers had fallen foul. The only beneficiaries being wireless router suppliers as desperate punters head off to PC World mistakenly believing they've bought a pile of crap. Remember that one.
The call took twice as long as it ought to have done because apart from the poor lady's accent, she also spoke at 100 mph and at a volume barely discernible to the human ear. I don't know if this is a deliberate ploy on behalf of Tiscali to spin out premium rate calls but when the Indian economic miracle finally takes hold, I do hope that Tata put all its call centres either in Sunderland or Swansea. The poor sods will finally understand, or maybe they won't because that's the point, isn't it. Anyway, she takes my mobile number and promises her supervisor will call back. It doesn't. I go out. I come back 2 hours later, call Tiscali immediately because my mobile has remained oddly silent for the previous four hours and while doing so notice that the ADSL light is working. I have teh internests again without touching anything.
I dive immediately into my inbox and find an email from Equita saying they will write. It is vaguely kind in tone. This is upsetting because I had earlier spoken to two of their operators after receiving a letter yesterday threatening me with jail. The first operator, an utter bitch of a South African woman hung up on me after I started asking questions. I wasn't rude or shouty, just desperate to find a solution. I'd been at the hospital until 1.30 am with a seriously ill partner and I really didn't need it. What I wanted was empathy and understanding. I phoned back and spoke to an equally stubborn male who managed to screw me for money I don't really have by basically threatening me. Oh how they must have laughed at my plight as I told them what I'd just been through. Another punter with a sob story, how quaint. I really hope your guts rot inside you and put your family through five years of agony too. Maybe you'll just be lucky and die in unimaginable pain. Here's a tip for Equita: instead of bullying £150 out of me, sack one of the arseholes who work for you. You'd save far more in the long run.
Doesn't end there. Later yesterday evening I finally receive a call from the Tiscali supervisor telling me he's noticed that the service appears to be running. I tell him yes, it is. It has been for several hours now. He says there appeared to be a fault at the exchange. Ho hum. I tell him that I told them this yesterday and that I wasn't a numpty, I'd been through all this before with Tiscali and that I'd been given the run around. He said he'd look into it.
Here's a hint. When you think about taking up a service with anyone, anywhere, try this test. Call their customer service line a few times. If you ever hear the words "All our representatives are busy at the moment" or variations thereof, forget them. If their service was any good in the first place you'd be able to get through straight away. Think about it.