Why Bigpond Sucks Part II

By Mike Wheeler

I have received a few comments on my story last week about the problems I was having with Bigpond, as well as a couple of emails wondering what happened in the final outcome. You will be pleased to know that we have finally cut the umbilical cord, but not without a few more frustrations.

As you know I had a lot of trouble dealing with the call centre due to the language barrier. Before I go on, I will say that in all cases, the people on the other end of the line acted professionally at all times and were never abusive or condescending in any way. This is important, because the blame for my dilemma does not lie at the feet of those people, but those quite a few rungs higher up the ladder.

So on to my next problem. My wife, Kate, finally had enough of the sloth-like responses and being a grab-the-bull-by-the-horns kinda person, tried for a third time last Friday to get reconnected. And low and behold there was success! After about 90 minutes on the phone, miracles of miracles happened, we had the net up and running. Joy! Joy! Joy!

So, the following morning I jumped on the computer to download the details of my son’s cricket game and…no internet. Hhhhhmmmmmm. Now what? After umpiring a very tense and ultimately enjoyable semi-final (our team one), we came home to the aforementioned problem, which was really beginning to become a drag. So Kate – who has one of those slow burn tempers that takes a lot to get going, but once it does is like steam train on full throttle – got on the phone again to talk to our friends in the Philippines. After giving over her details once again (they did mention that they had had four calls from us in the past three days. Yes, we know, so why do we need to go through the rigmarole again and again) the guy asked her a couple of questions. He then said “I just need to consult with my colleagues, can I give you a call back in 10 minutes?”

“Sure,” said Kate.

That was at 3.30pm on Saturday and we have not heard back. So we call Bigpond to cancel our service on Sunday night. It is not lost on me that the cancellation call centre is based in the Gold Coast (a fact that was mentioned as part of the introduction the customer service person gave when she answered the phone), nor, as mentioned in my earlier piece, that one arm of Telstra’s business, where you pay them to help, is based in Sydney. Probably the most contentious, and important part of the company’s service – technical support – is based 7000 kilometres away. I’m sure this is part of the problem.

Our customer service rep from the Gold Coast was very pleasant, but then asked if they should prioritise a service person to come and see us. Um. No. Too late. And why does it have to get to the point of cancellation for that service to be offered? Shouldn’t it have been offered at about phone call number two on day one when we said it was a modem problem? Silence on the other end.

“Is there anything I can say or do to make you change your mind?” said the rep.

“No,” I replied.

“Are you sure, sir? she said. “If you give me the go ahead the service will be cut off in one minute.”

What service, I felt like saying. We haven’t got one, which is why we’re cancelling. She was making it sound like we were on death row and we’d turned down our last meal.

“I’m sure,” I replied.

One minute later the service was ended, and just for good measure we are going to be charged $15 a month for every month we didn’t see out our contract ($135). I don’t think so. There are two parties to a contract. We have met our obligations up until the point Bigpond were either too lazy, or incapable of, meeting theirs.

See you in arbitration.

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