Today, I stood in the middle of my apartment and screamed.
It’s not something I normally do. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. Being fifty, I’d say my life is roughly half over and I hope to never have to do it again during my last half. (I’m sure my neighbors would be pleased if I never did it again as well.)
I’ve been dealing with my internet provider, who also provides—or is supposed to provide, phone service.
Since signing up with them last year, my service has been hit or miss. Since the beginning of August, it’s been all miss, and I’ve been missing phone service and internet access since then. I do remember the days before we have the internet, so while it’s a major inconvenience, it’s not the end of the world. (Unless you have a blog. Then it’s pretty close.) But not having phone service for nearly ten weeks is pretty crazy.
There’s a lot of grousing about French customer service. I’ve seen the good, and I’ve seen the bad. Usually the trick is to find someone who will help you and once you do, they’ll do what they can to help. And then the service is top-notch. You just need to find that person.
So far, I haven’t found that person at my cable company. And believe me, I’ve tried.
I’ve called them repeatedly, and when I finally get someone on the line (after paying 34 cents/minute, and being on hold for 20 minutes), they tell me they can’t hear me because of a bad connection. When I yell into the phone (so they can hear me), they fail to see the irony in the fact that they’re my telephone provider. When I ask them why they can’t hear me, they fail to see the same irony in it that I do. I may have lost my mind, but at least I haven’t lost my sense of humor.
Because I was going broke paying to tell them to fix the problem that they’re causing, last month I went into the the cable company office. It’s always a mob scene, so I got there fifteen minutes before they opened at 10am. Finally, at 10:20am, someone arrived to unlock the door and let us in. And I got a highly-coveted appointment with a service person.
The technician finally came, and the first thing he said was, “There’s a problem in the secteur.” Since they’ve been telling me that for the past ten months, I figured they’d had enough time to iron out any problems in mon secteur, so I wasn’t buying it.
The technician told me that I needed a different kind of technicien, which is the local lingo for, “I don’t want to deal with this.” But did offer some advice on the way out, “I wouldn’t pay anymore.”
And the last time I was without service, when I asked for a refund on my bill, I had to send a certified letter (recommandé), to request one. They did grant it, but the price of sending that letter was greater than the refund. So I’m not exactly inclined to do it again.
So if you’re wondering where I am, I’m trying to get out of l’enfer (the hell) of Numericable. I sent them the required certified, signature-required letter that I wanted to end my service, which they told me that they’d never received, and I needed to send it again.
Of course, I was holding the receipt in my hand, with their signature on it.
The funny thing is, tomorrow I’m supposed to speak to a group of newly-arrived Americans about how to cope with life in a foreign country.
I’m thinking of standing in the middle of the room. And screaming.