Where do we turn to then?

Monday, March 13, 2006

My wife found this article at INQ7.net: When Filipino tech consumer complaints fall on deaf ears. If the Telecom industry is deregulated then where do consumers turn to when they are being abused?

I have personally seen how bad customer service gets at Smart WiFi. I've been a long-time Smart and PLDT subscriber. I've had no major complaints before Smart WiFi, except for a small billing error in my PLDT bill a few years back. Overall, I'd say the level of customer service was acceptable. That is until I got Smart WiFi.

I had mine installed September 30. That was quick, considering I applied for it a week earlier. Good times wouldn't last though. The next day, my connection unexplicably died. I sent an SMS to the service contractor. He went back and replaced the antenna and POE. That solved the problem in the meantime. October 13 to December 1, I could not connect. My connection was live,but I was unable to load any webpages. After several calls, I got a schedule for a field visit by tech support. The person who came by took one look at my monitor and immediately deduced that my computer was the problem. He only asked one question. He asked if I was using an OS other than Windows. I showed him what I was currently running -- Ubuntu. Then that was it. He left.

Took me another 4 weeks, 2 very irate calls to supervisors and several threats to cancel before I got another schedule. The new field support guys came by and replaced the damned equipment (antenna, cable, POE). The connection worked. That was December 1. From time to time I still get low speeds and typical whole day outages.

My threats to cancel were met with statements that I had to pay for the rest of the year if I cancelled. That made me feel bad. I was being shortchanged and I had to suffer more for it??? I'm really just trying to finish the year and then I'm cancelling my subscription. Overall, Smart's WiFi has been a bad experience. Six weeks and I did not even get an apology. I got a rebate but that was limited to the number of days without a connection. No free time for the inconvenience, no apology email, no nothing. I was even threatened with pre-termination charges when I called to cancel. I mean where do we go when we're being threatened with large pre-termination charges to scare us into submission? I mean aren't breachs of contract a two-way thing? If consumers have pay for pre-termination, then telecoms should pay for severe lapses in their services. Consumers like me are only asking for fair treatment and way to have our issues addressed. So here goes my question again. Where do consumers go when they're being abused?

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