Here is a typical tale of France Telecom woe.
In April, I sign up for an internet phone contract with Orange. Unfortunately, none of the three phones I have work with the Live Box, and as my life was quite busy at that time, I forget about the problem.
In May, I sign up for an unlimited telephone contract with France Telecom, so with my land line, practically all my calls are free. Lovely! It works, I'm happy.
Last week, I realise that I'm rather over-subscribed to phone contracts, and decide to end the internet phone contract as it doesn't work anyway. On Saturday morning, thus, I ring Orange who tell me to ring back later as the computers are down (they always seem to be down when I ring. What is it with them?). I thus ring back around 1pm and explain that I want to cancel the internet phone contract part of my Live Box contract.
Ooooh, can't do that, I'm signed in for a full twelve months. Oh, I didn't know? Really? Well, okay, that detail of the contract I'd forgotten as it was back in April and frankly it's not the sort of information I retain. Anyway, it doesn't work so I'd like to cancel it. It can only be canceled if there is a technical problem, otherwise I'm locked into another 7 months. Why didn't I report the problem earlier? Frankly I didn't have 5 hours to waste... at 34cts a minute.
So I call the technical department (2nd call of the day). I have a fruitless time with the technician and get cut off. I call back (3rd call of the day). The girl starts going through her routine and promises that if we get cut off she'll call me back. During her routine, she fiddles with something and my internet connection is cut, and won't reconnect. Naturally we get cut off. She doesn't ring back.
I have no internet, no technician, and no prospect of getting anywhere unless I ring back, at 34cts a minute for a fourth time. I am now in a temper. It's over two hours later and I'm wasting my Saturday afternoon which I'd scheduled for book writing.
I ring back and get a different guy. I explain the problem. He is not perturbed by my plight - the other technician who didn't ring back, my lost connection or my phone line. We sort out the physical connections of the Live Box (my cable was in Yellow and it should have been in Red), we reconfigure the numbers and hey presto it all works.
It's now 4pm and I've spent 3 hours at 34 cts a minute. Not only that, I can't cancel my phone contract and I'll have to buy a new phone if I want to use the internet phone capability (which I'm not bothered about). I'll have spent 150Eur on nothing.
What really pisses me off is that NG had almost exactly the same situation a couple of months ago. She rings Wanadoo about a problem. Wanadoo don't fix it, and destroy her internet connection while they are fiddling. They don't call back when the phone is cut and she ends up having to ring back at 34cts a minute.
Do you detect a pattern of fleecing customers here? Yes, I do too. You can be sure that I'll be writing to the director of Orange to tell him exactly what I think of his technicians and their wiley ruses to keep us on the phone and paying, and also NOT ringing back which they are supposed to do.
Phone companies are all the same. UK, France, it makes no difference. They are a band of thieves and robbers who think they have us over a barrel and treat us with contempt. I cannot advise you to avoid Wanadoo/Orange because Cegetel, Free etc. are exactly the same if not worse.
Nous sommes des couillons, des vaches à lait, des pauvres cons. We depend totally upon them, and they have us totally by the short and curlies. Beware the power of the phone companies. It can only end in tears...