A customer ‘care’ experience that nearly left me with PTSD!

Trevor Laffan thinks he may have suffered some PTSD after his experience with one telecommunications company
A customer ‘care’ experience that nearly left me with PTSD!

Trevor Laffan was driven to distraction by the amount of phone calls he made to one company. Picture posed by model

THE telecommunications company Eir was recently announced as the winner of an ‘Excellence in Customer Services Management Award’, and the news raised some questions about the nomination and selection process involved.

On RTÉ’s Liveline programme, Joe Duffy was inundated with listeners anxious to talk about their negative experiences of dealing with Eir Customer Service, and the majority of callers were astonished to hear they had won something for it.

When I checked the website of the magazine that had announced this award, I found this message “We’ll be back soon! We’re currently updating our website and will return shortly. Thank-you for your patience.”

Well, patience is one thing you would need when dealing with Eir, as I discovered a few years ago.

I signed up for a package that included broadband, three mobile phones, a landline and Sky Sports. That decision will probably go down in this family’s history as one of the worst I have ever made.

I think I may have suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the experience.

My story began in 2016, when I heard that fibre optic broadband was coming to my area. In October that year, a young lady called to my door from Eir, and she was happy to announce that new top of the range broadband would be available within a few weeks. I was excited.

She told me to ring Eir to order it, so I did.

I went through the usual routine, picked one of the four options, pressed the hash key, picked one of the next four options and pressed the star key, picked the option that most suited my needs, and waited for an eternity before finally talking to a human.

I told the voice about my meeting with the young lady, and I advised her I was now ready to sign up.

Well, that was great news for the lady in Eir, and she was happy to assist me, but I had to wait ten days.

I explained that I would be out of the country by then, so if she could just make a little note on my account that I wanted it set up, I would be very grateful.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. She told me I would have to ring up personally on day ten to book the broadband.

As soon as I returned, I made another call to Eir, and went through the familiar routine of choosing options, pressing hash keys and waiting patiently. I eventually spoke to a lady, told her my story, and off she went to make sure the service was still available, and happily it was.

Just as I was about to sign up, she told me that as soon as I placed the order, my Internet would be disconnected until the new broadband was hooked up, which would take a minimum of five working days, excluding weekends.

As we were heading into a Bank Holiday weekend, that disconnection period would be longer, so I decided to postpone it until after the long weekend.

When I got back onto Eir, I got through to a very pleasant young man and he listened patiently as I told my tale once more.

He checked that the broadband was still available in my area, and it was, and it should be connected in less than the five days. But there was a new problem. The portal in my area was now full and there was no room for any new customers, so he told me to try again in a week.

A week later I called back and spoke to another young lady. I repeated the entire story once more and I told her that I was ready to go if there was some room in the portal for me.

I didn’t want much, I wasn’t going to be greedy, I just needed a tiny bit.

Well, good news. There was room, but because of a huge demand for the new service, I would have to wait for two weeks, and I would be without the internet for that period.

So, the nice lady suggested that I should wait until the New Year when the demand would be reduced, and I would be able to get the service quicker.

So, that’s what I did. I waited for the new year and eventually got connected. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

Things got very complicated after that, and I lost count of the number of calls I made to customer care. Each call meant re-telling my story to a new representative and another hour of explanations and promises that the problem would be resolved, but it wasn’t.

Bills were sent to us for things we didn’t sign up for and phones were disconnected.

They reduced my wife to tears and I eventually reached the stage where I couldn’t take any more. I contacted the Communications Regulator (Com Reg). They took up my complaint and shortly after that, the matter was resolved.

So, I reckon, if any awards are being handed out, the Communications Regulator should get one.

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