In the midst of a near meltdown, a friend posted the above onto my Facebook timeline. It made me chuckle, which helped avert the grand crash. Never so apt a poster than this one to describe the current fiasco.
Here’s the reason.
I used to live in Hong Kong, where internet service was cheap, fast and featured unlimited downloads, competition was fierce, and service was really good. I used to laugh at and complain about the standards in Singapore. Alas, today, I realised that things had changed. Yes, I had been told by friends in Hong Kong that things had changed since I left in late 2010, but nothing like being brought face to face with reality to have the truth hit home.
Upon leaving Hong Kong, I transferred my PCCW Netivigator internet account to my friend’s address, so that he could make use of it, since my contract had yet to expire. Upon recent expiry of the contract, I terminated the account and arranged with the customer service person (via long distance phone call) to have someone collect the modem from the security station at the lobby of my friend’s apartment block. All sounded pretty good at the time, despite the call costing me a few dollars in all. That was over a month ago. My friend left Hong Kong for an extended holiday. Upon arriving back at his apartment today, he discovered that nobody had come to pick up the modem from the security station, and received a notice from the internet service provider that they had charged HK$904 for non-return of the modem. He called the customer service hotline, and was told that the subscriber had to call to arrange for another pick up date and enquire about the reimbursement. So, I called them.
I rang the English language hotline. I was bounced from one person to another, all after having made lengthy explanation about my problem. When I finally got to the person who was supposed to be handling this issue, I found she could neither speak nor understand English proficiently. Even after telling her I am no longer in Hong Kong, she suggested that I go personally to one of their service centres to fill out a form! To add to the frustration, she informed me that it would take 4 to 6 weeks for my money to be returned to me. I asked to speak to her manager and she of course babbled something about the manager being unavailable and promised to have the manager return my call. No such luck.
My friend, who is now in Hong Kong, tried to call the customer service hotline again. This time, armed with my identification information to throw at them. Guess what? He was told that I had to – yes – fill out a form!!!! Then the person told him that they are not able to reverse the credit card charge but instead could only offer a refund via cheque! Right. Why they are unable to reverse the credit card charge, I have no idea. All I do know is that I do not have a Hong Kong bank account, and banking in an overseas cheque into my Australian bank account will cost me an amount in banking fees that I am unwilling to pay, for someone else’s mistake!
I am appalled and saddened. The once efficient and excellent customer service standards in Hong Kong seem to have fallen into the dark swirling abyss of that in Singapore. At least where the Telcos are concerned. This reminds me of the frustration I encountered when trying to terminate my mother’s Singtel account. Worse yet, terminating my late father’s Starhub account was a grand farce worthy of an award winning dramatic comedic script. My poor sister nearly had a brain stroke as she was choking on the phone, trying to tell the customer service person on the other end that there was no way my father could fill up and sign any form, nor could he turn up at any service centre, because he was well and truly dead! All the while, as my poor sister was sputtering into the phone, I could hear the monotonous drone of the Starhub service person repeat that the owner of the account had to personally fill and sign the termination of service form. The stupidity of these people seem to know no limits! After some minutes of this grand Wagnerian madness, I grabbed the phone from my sister and hung up. I then went to the Starhub service centre, armed with a copy of my father’s death certificate, and most fortunately found a service person who understood what “dead” meant and that there was no possibility for me to summon my father from his ashes in order to fill and sign any form!
Jelly fish and stupid humans. There is a greater connection there than we realise. 😀
Right now, I am too exhausted to laugh. And I do want my money back! HK$904 may not be much money to some, but to me, in my current financial straits, it is a lordly sum which I do not want to donate to the already overly fattened coffers of PCCW!
Is anyone out there at PCCW who has any sense or decency at all? All I want is basic decent service and my money put back into the credit card account that they so happily charged without making any effort to retrieve the modem. PCCW, is that too much to ask?