Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings

31 October 2008

3-Mobile broadband “Catch 22” nightmare!

Filed under: Uncategorized — freelancefundraiser @ 2:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

It started out so simply, as these things do, then grew into a horrific nightmare, leaving me feeling totally helpless, angry and frustrated.

I use a 3-USB mobile broadband modem to link my Asus EeePC (Linux OS) to the internet. Yes, I know 3 doesn’t support Linux, but the system works fine and the Linux software copes with 3 OK.

This morning I receive my monthly statement. “Hang on, it’s £1 more than previous!” I think, looking down the numbers. “They’ve never notified me of any changes.” So I go online and their web page states 5Gb mobile broadband £15 pm. “Hang on, that’s 2Gb more than I get allowance and still only £15?”

I decide to ring them, that is another story in itself. Needless to say, nothing is simple, I have to make at least three separate calls and there is no direct line to customer accounts.

I finally get through to someone in Calcutta or another part of India. Heavy accent, hard to understand. I explain my predicament, why is my bill £1pm more? “Ah, we sent a message via text to your mobile.” “But I don’t have a 3-mobile!”. “Ah, well we also sent it to your Modem Manager.” “But I don’t have one, I’ve never seen one.” “What make of computer are you using?” “An Asus EeePC running on Linux.” “Ah, that will be why, we don’t support Linux. However, if you go online and register with My3, you can get your monthly statement and your charge will remain at £15. Simply register and we will send you a Password to your Modem Manager.” “So how can I receive communications from you, like my Password, if I can’t receive them?” “Please hold while I transfer you to technical support.”

(Pause on hold for a minute)

Person No:2 “Hello, Mr Richards, I understand you have a technical problem?” “No, I have a billing enquiry.” (Explain yet again the Catch 22 scenario) “Oh, that’s easy, simply upgrade your PC to Windows OS and you won’t have a problem.” At this point I erupted. I don’t think I swore, but I did tell him what a pathetic, stupid answer that was and that I chose to run Linux and what were 3 going to do to ensure I received communications from them?

(Pause on hold for a minute)

Person No:3. I go through it all again. At last, someone with answers. “Just put your £-USB Modem SIM card into your 3-mobile phone and you can see the text.” “But I don’t have a 3-mobile phone!” Here comes the clincher: “Ah, well just go the the 3-shop where you bought and take your modem SIM card, ask them to put it in a 3-phone and read your Password.” Well, why didn’t I think of that? Simple. “There’s just one question, how do I receive any future messages from 3 that I don’t know are being sent to me?”

The call ended with the 3rd person asking me was there anything else he could help me with!

Three things really bugged me from this experience:

  1. I think their operators are trained to speak fast, so you can’t get a word in edgeways. They never stopped to listen and let the customer get their point across
  2. All of the operators spoke in such a condesending manner, like, “There, there, it’s all right”
  3. The fact that 3 seem totally unprepared to accommodate Linux as a valid OS to support for their products.

I can’t wait for my contract period to end, so I can change providers!

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