Saturday, March 11, 2017

M1-StarHub saga continues; it's the fixed-line now

The frustrations of my move from StarHub and M1 continued this morning. This time it was over my fixed-line telephone.

In my last post, Moving from StarHub to M1, meeting the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, I related my frustrations over the service I had encountered for my broadband.  But fortunately, it ended up well only because I was able to get the help of a computer-savvy friend, not the M1 contractor.

The fixed-line problem started last Thursday (March 9), a day after it was switched from one telco to another.  All the phones in the house suddenly went dead.

I called M1 to find out why.  I managed to get customer service officer Melanie on the line.
She was the officer who had called me after my first blog posting as she wanted to find out more about what had happened.

As she wasn't able to send a technician to my house, she decided to guide me on how to troubleshoot.
After what seemed like eternity, she finally gave up and said she would arrange for someone to come over to get things fixed.

She also warned me that the technician would have to charge extra if there was a need to run extra wiring.  I agreed as it seemed fair.

Come Saturday (today),  another M1 technician named Teo came, with his chubby son tagging along.  He asked me for the location of the box containing the splitter.  I didn't know and he also couldn't find it.

Later, I brought him to a room on the second floor where the old StarHub router and the new M1 Assus router were.  He simply disconnected the StarHub router, came downstairs to my computer room where the Huawei modem was, plugged a line into one of the ports and then connected it to the telephone wall socket.

He tested it and, hey presto, it worked!  Soon, all the phones were ringing.  I asked Teo what he did.
He said he just had to pull out the StarHub line that was still in the router's port.

Then came the surprise --  he said he would have to charge me $50 extra.This was in addition to   what he would be billing M1.

Was there any extra wiring done?  No.   Was he doing any extra work that was outside what he was contracted to do by M1?  I don't think so.

So what was the extra $50 for?  In his invoice, he wrote: "Install a link-up tel point at ONT".
I don't know what ONT means, but there was certainly no installation of a telephone point.

I told him that I disagreed with what he was charging, but I would still pay him as I did not want to have an argument with him. I also said that I would be bringing the matter up to M1.

And this is what I am telling M1:

1.  Your installation service sucks.  You do not know what your contractors are doing. You allow them to charge your customer for service that is supposed to be part of the contract. The first M1 contractor wanted to fix a extra router that wasn't needed. And he didn't even complete the job. The second was just doing what he was contracted to do and yet had the gall to bill me for $50.

2.  Your customer service officers are generally good but are not sufficiently empowered to ease the pain of your customers. Telling them to say, "Sorry, I know where you are coming from.." does not help. Do allow your customers to speak to someone with the authority to resolve their woes.

3.  You are understaffed.  You cannot be trying to solve technical problems through explaining to us on what to do over the telephone. Many of us are just not tech-savvy.

4.  You cannot keep reminding us about your service charge. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth. When you send a technician to our homes to look into a technical problem that is really yours to resolve, remember that this is a service that you have to provide -- if you hope to withstand the fierce competition that is at your doorstep.

As a shareholder, it is my responsibility to see that you remain tip-top...even if I have to go to your AGM to raise the issue as there seems to be no one with authority to whom I could speak to.

Maybe it would also be a good opportunity to meet up with Ms Karen Kooi. 😊

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