Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The dishonesty of telecoms providers

There are a number of candidates for the wall outside TMP HQ when the great day dawns that the Great British Public see sense. At the head of this queue is the Chief Executive of Orange - whose micky-mouse phone service is a blight on the nation.

In fact, if I was a Russian subversion strategist seeking to disrupt the UK economy, I would probably get the Order of Lenin if I had managed to sucker so many British people into relying on a cellphone service that simply doesn't work in large areas of the country. After all, lacing a victim's coffee with Polonium is a bit too brash and selective - buggering up millions of people's ability to communicate effectively whilst kidding them they're getting a great service is a far better wheeze.

However, Orange are not the only operators deserving of a swift execution. Moving a number from Orange to another network (O2) technically takes seconds, instead of course it takes a week if you are lucky - in our case, nearer 14 days. If O2 was allowed to start charging only after a successful porting of the number, I rather suspect the delay would be minimal.

But try calling Orange on the phone to complain. Indeed - try calling any one of the new age telecoms or Internet companies with call centres manned by browbeaten automata to complain about anything. For a start you'll be paying through the nose on an 0871 or 09XX number if you are calling to complain your phone doesn't work, and thus by definition, you are being denied service!

The decent into dire customer service over the past 10 years seems due to a combination of offshoring and what operators claim is "fierce competition" that doesn't enable any of these poor impoverished souls to make enough money to provide a proper service any longer.

So one of the first laws TMP will enact after our landslide victory will be that all complaint services are made available on 0800 numbers; all calls will be recorded and posted on publicly accessible urls, and companies that do not answer within 3 minutes will be obliged to pay the caller 50p a minute for waiting, rising to £1 a minute after 5 mins.

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