Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fighting Third World Customer Service for a First World Internet Connection

Monday, July 29: Arrival in Hyderabad.  One last stay in the old Aparna apartment with an internet connection to announce our safe arrival and catch up on emails/facebook.

Tuesday: Move to Indu Fortune Fields villa.  No internet connection.

Wednesday: Visit Indu office for list of approved vendors.  Called provided Airtel number about five times.  No English. 

No internet connection.

Thursday: Mustafa (our driver) tries the number and finds out that the other end was as confused as me: wrong number.  Mustafa tracks down the right number and we schedule Airtel to arrive later in the day.

Airtel arrives at villa.  They demand multiple pieces of paperwork and try to run off with Nadia's passport.  They ask for a six month deposit and leave to process paperwork.  They return and say no deposit necessary and explain that the team will come tomorrow to instal the connection.

Still no internet connection

Friday: Airtel calls to tell us they can't send the installation team until we have paid our six month deposit.  "Fine, we'll pay a six month service deposit."  They promise to come to the villa and collect in one hour.

One hour later....nobody there.

I call to ask where they are: "we are waiting for you to confirm that you will pay the deposit."  I tell them that Nadia is leaving the villa and they need to come to school for the deposit.  I text directions and wait.  I wait some more and then get a phone call for directions.  I give the phone to security who explains the directions and soon two men with no paperwork, receipt or any information show up for the deposit.  I remember "this is India" and I give them the money anyway.  They promise installation the next morning.

Still no internet. 

Nobody shows up in the morning.

I call the Airtel rep again and he says they are coming.  An hour later the Airtel rep shows up, in person, to tell us the installation team is coming.  He realizes I'm an American and decides I'm a perfect target for his new venture: QNET.
"What's QNET?"
"You work for me and have people work for you and we make lots of money"
"Okay, but what service or product do we provide?"
"It's a business."
"Yes, but what does it sell?"
"I'm at the top but you can get others to work for you and make lets of money."
"I understand that part, but what does QNET sell?"
"Uh, you should look at the website."
"I don't have internet!"
"That's okay, I promise you the installation team will come this afternoon."

Feigning interest as an effort to keep him engaged in his effort to get my internet, I tell him I'll look it up later (they sell a number of products including the "Amezuca Chi Pendant" that protect ones organs from elecrosmog while also supplying endless energy). 

We waited all day and the installation team finally showed up.  After a nearly two-hour installation process (it was dark when they left) we finally had internet and a landline phone, which we didn't want.  They called someone on the phone to tell me my number, explain my plan, and ask me to confirm.  That person then passes me to somebody else who repeats the same information and asks me to confirm.  They than pass me to a third person who confirms that the first two had been kind in their confirmation of my information.  "Yes, very kind."


7 days of blissful internet joy:  Netflix, Facebook, Minecraft, AppleTV, MLSlive, etc...

Saturday, August 10: An email warns that we have used 80% of our allotted MB for the month.  Really? I asked multiple people about our usage and the plan they offered.  They all said we would be fine.

I then purchase additional "smartbytes" online to maintain our speed.

Friday, August 16: Another email: "You have already consumed 100% of your built in limit..."

Meanwhile, we start getting the calls and texts to let us know that we have also reached our credit limit on the account.  So, I look up the account and we owe over 9,000 rupees!

Saturday: More account credit warnings.  I call the rep and ask why our six-month deposit is not showing up on our account.  He must be wearing his Amezuca Chi Pendant because I'm not happy, at all, and he is pretty chill about the whole thing.  He replies by text: "Sure i will get ths chkd n wil get back to you on this" 

I explain, via text, that as far as I can tell he sent two friends on a motorcycle to steal over 7,000 rupees and that I'll be reporting such to the Indu management and Airtel. 

Sunday: No internet

Monday: After a few calls and texts: "It will taje some time sir."

Internet returns in the evening.  No change in my billing.

Thursday:  Text: "Good morning sir. Payment of Rs. 7555 has been updated in ur account now."

So that's where we stand.  Internet as back and everyone is happy but I suspect my adventures will continue. 

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