Sunday, August 07, 2005

Primus Telecom

Is it any wonder that incidents of (fill in yer favourite) RAGE are becoming more prevalent? Is the American model of corporate governance designed to impede and frustrate? Take Primus Telecom (an american based conglomerate)

Due to the plethora of internet and broadband "servers" that tax the limited mental capacity of me to figure out which one offered the "best" or "most economical" option - decided to take the "easy" option, and just transfer my aol dialup account to broadband. This, however neccessitated transferring to "PrimusAol". Then, in an attempt to further reduce burgeoning "communication" costs, added my "landline" and signed a long term contract.

So far so good.

Last Monday at about 8am, i needed to make a phone call. Pick up handset, and was greeted by a very loud high pitched BZZZZZZ! Um, think I, doesn't sound like the usual mellifluous dial tone. Walk 1 k to the nearest public phone booth. (these also, seem to be a disappearing species) Feed 40c into slot and dial the number given in the "Letter of Welcome to Primus Telecom". Answered with the usual fake cheery recording, "please press number 2, 4, 7, 2, 5" Eventually get to number that admits to "faults". "Thank you for calling, we have an unusually large number of calls this morning be prepared for long wait". MM, think i, must be an exchange fault and be dealt with expeditiously. Hang up and go off to work.

Monday night .. still BZZZZZ! Tuesday morning..still BZZZZZ! Am not too fussed at this point as the landline is rarely used. Wednesday morning BZZZZZ!. Am now getting somewhat annoyed.

4pm Wednesday. Stop off at phone booth on way home. Try to insert coins. coins jammed in slot. Hit phone very hard with fist, coins drop out. Re-insert coins. Eventually coins stick. Dial Primus. " hello" cheery etc, press endless numbers to try to report fault. Get to fault reporting number, am put on hold. 10 minutes.. 20 minutes, Barry Manilow begins to pall.. 30 minutes, cold wind up my butt and legs begin to ache. 40 minutes, have gone through hope, annoyance, anger, fury to some sort of determination not to waste 40 minutes. 50, 60.. 70 minutes.. have to get home for tea. Slam vandal proof handset back in cradle.

5.30 pm, pick up handset on home phone .. BZZZZZZ!!!!. Find that for some obscure technical reason the "broadband" part of line still works. Find Primus Website but cannot find facility for emails, and there, hidden away is a tiny button for "comments". AHA! Click on button and write blistering report. Report rejected, only accepts 500 words. Self counts to ten 3 hundred times. Edits blister.

Thursday morning. Still BZZZZZ!!. Drives to public phone booth. Phone booth not working. Self Breathes Deeply, walks to nearby (privately owned) Post Office shop. (forces best winning smile) Hi , um, say I, if i gave you 40 cents, do you mind if I use your phone?

By this time intelligent ideas have percolated through sludge of brain. Have decided to discount all this waffling through numbers. Dials Primus Telecom number. Presses sales number 1 for "if you would like to join". Three rings and cheery voice .. HUMAN (but with an Asian slant) .. says "hello, how can i help you..etc". "Umm," say I in my most patient voice, " am interested in Primus. Can you tell me a little about the company policy towards Reliability and Service?"

Self listens to trained response along the lines of "we are committed to giving our customers etc.." then says "OK, all very interesting, please transfer me to your supervisor." Confused silence. Self, "I want to report a fault." " Oh, I'll just transfer you to the .. " "NO. I want to speak with your supervisor. Human, if you have one." "Sir, we have .." "TRANSFER ME NOW." Click, bzzt, click, more mature voice, "Yes, can I help you?"

Suffice it to say that all of the above information was transferred in an almost civilised manner.

Thursday evening, 4.30pm. Telstra Technician arrives, spends 20 minutes, fault fixed.

Now, far be it from me to suggest that since ALL other providers RENT the lines from Telstra that there is a 'go slow' policy within Telstra, but.. it has happened before when I had the temerity to try Optus as landline provider. 5 days later a Telstra Tech turns up. Optus had to give me a 'discount' of $25 for being 'offline' for more than 24 hours. AHHH COMMERCIAL COMPETITION i hear lurking in the wings.

And the Howard government seriously believes that the FULL conversion of Telstra to a COMMERCIAL entity will be BENEFICIAL?????

What part of the word CRAP do they not understand.

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