Sunday, January 27, 2008

Normal Service will now resume

Thanks to very poor co-ordination between France Telecom and Tele2 we were without telephone or internet for 4 days.
Our main phone supply was France Telecom. France is slowly coming around to competition to its major services: phones, gas, electricity water etc. Internet supply was through Wanadoo, who were bought out by Orange and both are linked to France Telecom.
When the nice man from Tele2 made me an offer I couldn't refuse I agreed to sign with them for internet access and unlimited telephone calls.
I had presumed that the unlimited calls were through the box, in the same way that with my Orange Livebox I had a second phone line that was thru the net and thus unlimited and free. Except that that phone line hadn't worked for nearly a year, since the last time the Livebox was "en panne". But I was so relieved when Orange restored my internet connection I didn't dare disturb them for the second phone line.
So . . . weeks had gone by since the phone call from the Tele2 man. A letter had arrived confirming that we had agreed a contract, but still no hardware, when one afternoon the internet stopped, and half an hour later the phone was no longer working either. "le numero que vous avez demande n'est plus accesible" Great.
When I got home from the factory I tried the various France Telecom service numbers from the cafe but got messages saying they were busy please call back later.
Why were we cut off? I couldn't understand it. Everone joked that it was because we hadn't paid our bills, but the next bill was only due in a few weeks. And they hadn't sent a warning letter as they do when the bills are late.
When I finally got through to France Telecom the next day I was told that we were no longer clients because we had signed a contract with a new supplier.
"But I haven't received anything from the new supplier!"
"Ah, but that is not our problem"
"Will I lose my phone number and email address? I've used them for 4 years now, I can't inform all my friends and computer programs won't recognise me"
"I can't tell you that sir, perhaps you should call our customer service number tomorrow."

The next day, telling my tales of frustration in the cafe, Michel tells me there is a package for me. (The cafe doubles as a post office)
It's the box from tele2. But I don't have time to install it, the factory beckons.
When I finally got around to installing the box I decided to first remove all the Orange/Wanadoo stuff, then trawl the registry for stray entries.
I followed the Tele2 instructions for setting up there box, plugged the phone in and Hey Presto! the phone had a dialling tone. We could call out again. Calling in still gave the same "le numero que vous avez demande n'est plus accesible" message.
My computer couldn't connect WiFi (not capable) The ethernet connection said I didn't have an ethernet port and they hadn't supplied a USB cable. Bastard!
Playing around with the PC settings I find my Ethernet port is disabled. Enable the bugger and Whoosh! I have internet access again.
I filled in the new client online form and Whoosh! my phone is now working with the same phone number.
When I downloaded emails there were about 60 messages backlogged, among them a mail from Tele2 telling me that i was about to lose the functionality on my phone line, but this was normal and was the indication that I can now connect my Tele2 box.

So everything would have been OK:
IF the box had arraived at the same time, or before the email, and
IF France telecom hadn't cut me off before the email arrived.

Is it because it's France or are all telecomms services this flakey?


At 12:52 pm, Blogger dND said...

It's all that flaky. My friend changed to Tele2 and like you spent nearly a week without 'phone or Internet. She ended up threatening to write to the chairman; She had all the equipment arrive but they just didn't set up her account.

France Telecom is no better either - I wonder if any UK companies would like a trip over here. I really miss my BT connection. It might have been expensive but it worked and worked well.

Welcome back by the way, I did wonder where you'd gone. I was beginning to think Google reader wasn't checking all the blogs I've got listed.

At 9:34 pm, Blogger Breezy said...

No better in the UK according to my friend who couldn't get sorted with broadband internet access for months despite trying BT, Sky and NTL

At 6:51 pm, Blogger travelling, but not in love said...

Strikes me that you got away lightly Stew - French utilities companies have been known to pick up us 'etrangers', f*ck around with our lives for weeks on end and then spit us out with no care or feeling for our personal situations.

Every conversation I have with EDF, GDF, France Telecom, SFR, Veolia, etc leaves me feeling dirty, violated and like less of a man than I was when I picked the phone up to make the call.

And don't get me on 'how I was nealry evicted three days before christmas'. My blood pressure can no longer cope with that tale....

Glad to see you back.


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