Due to the Tiscali disaster, I am now on dial-up. A bit like being forced to quaff Cava and pretend I like it after years of Krug.
28 days and counting, and they still haven't been able to fix my line. How hard can it be? Not any harder than trying to get through to a real live human being on the Tiscali help line, I'll bet. The few times I have managed to speak to Tiscali employees I've been lied to and been given excuses for why my line is down, all along the lines of that it's 'a temporary fault'. Temporary? 28 days? Who are you trying to kid?
Finally, I came close to losing it (yeah I know, I suffer from Internet dependency) and concocted a plan. An hour later, having called every number I could find for Tiscali (their website isn't exactly encouraging person-to-person contact), had the automated line hang up on me (four times!!!), threw the phone across the room in a red-hazed rage (twice) and finally having figured out that if you call the main customer helpline and go through to billing (they might not want to help but they sure want your money), you will eventually get through to a person. At which point I announce that I am a very important freelance journalist who writes for very important British newspapers and if they couldn't sort out the problem asap then they could expect a very damning newspaper review highlighting their shoddy service within the next week.
Suddenly, rather than being treated like yet another annoying customer as per each previous phone call, I am listened to, kowtowed to, agreed with and soothed. I get a 'lead agent' dealing with the crisis (no clue what that means, but I gather it's more important and more competent than the robots I had been speaking to previously) who tells me she will investigate and call me back. So far, so good. She calls me back a couple of hours later, saying that she has spoken to the technical people, and then tells me that Tiscali decided it would be a good idea to upgrade our line on 18th August. Nice sentiment, except it failed, leaving us without a service, and they didn't think that merited them getting in touch with us to explain exactly why we had no service. Then they tried to put us back onto our usual line, which also failed. Again, that didn't merit even a quick email. I mean, did they think we wouldn't notice? And here we are, 28 days later...
OK, so they screwed up big time. But to add insult to injury, we had been told twice in the past two weeks that a request had been put through to reinstate our service - a procedure that takes 5-10 working days. My special lead agent then confesses that the button hadn't been pushed either time. EITHER time. Once is a mistake, twice is looking worrying.
Gross incompetence? Couldn't care less? Happy to rake in the cash but screw you lowly customer if anything goes wrong? Tea-break more important than sorting out a customer?
Probably all of the above.
The good news is that Tiscali's shoddy service is in breach of contract, and will be terminated first thing on Monday morning. However, that still means we'll be forced to endure dial-up for as long as it takes for a new service to hook us up.
My advice? Don't touch Tiscali with a bargepole. The real test of a company is how it handles itself when things go wrong and Tiscali has just scored itself a shameful minus grade. But as always in a tussle with the big boys, it's me who turns out to be the real loser - wasted time, wasted energy, wasted rage and even more white hairs.
Tiscali. You suck.