Monday, October 22, 2012

Saturday morning when I got up, my internet connection and my phone were working. Why is this significant? Because for most of September and October sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, my phone would go down and the technicians from the telephone company could not give it a permanent fix.

By their third visit, they were blaming my telephones and my house wiring (which they installed just 2 years ago). So fixated on blaming my telephones and in-house wiring were these guys that, once they had confirmed that the line was working up to the pole outside my house, they simply ceased to troubleshoot any further and blamed my equipment. Over the course of 3 weeks they blamed my telephones, my wiring, my modem/router, my line filters, even the weather!!...but failed to troubleshoot beyond the pole.

A week ago a tech came out and when he started his blaming the customer song and dance, I lost my temper and read him the riot act and demanded he go up on roof and check the wiring from the pole to my house and from there, the wiring up to the first telephone in the series, and to replace it if it looked worn. He balked. He called his supervisor to complain about what I was asking, moaning about how long it would take to replace that wire. I refused to "no" for an answer and I actually yelled at the technician (something I seldom do--my maid has worked for me for 5 years and I haven't raised my voice to her even once in all that time).

My husband stepped in and spoke to the supervisor who informed us that the technician told him we had illegal extensions and that was causing the problem. Hubby had to get out a phone bill to prove our extensions were installed by the phone company and we paid a fee every month for each of them. The technician pretended he couldn't read the bill when the supervisor asked him to verify that. Finally, he was told to comply and my husband actually went up on the roof with the technician to ensure he did as I asked.

And guess what? On the roof they found the wire that lead from the pole to the kitchen phone had lost some of its insulation and the bare copper was exposed to the rain, wind, birds, falling leaves and whatever else. The technician replaced the wire, but remained unconvinced that it was the source of the problem. But I got up on Saturday and my phone and my ADSL were working...and this morning it was working, despite a hellacious electrical storm last night.

 I, for one, will not be surprised if they keep on working since the one place the technicians repeatedly overlooked in their troubleshooting had a fault and that fault was finally corrected. I expect things will work just swimmingly, at least for a while...until something new comes along to toss me off the internet again...


  1. Hi ... saw this article (see link below) and was reminded of your problems with Honda and the S2000. Not sure if you've been following the Ilka Dunne Audi fiasco.

  2. It seems too stupid to ask how many unproductive trouble calls financially equal one productive solution call - that may take too much time. Shreak - makes me crazy. Norine

  3. Unlike electricity, when the phone is down the failed line doesn't do anything to the company's revenue. When the electricity fails, my meter stops turning and Eskom stops making money. My phone could be dead for a solid month and the company would still be able to bill me fully for the down period. And, coincidentally, when the power goes down, the power company is Johnny-on-the-spot to find and fix the problem; the phone company has, in my experience, taken up to 12 days to send someone out to fix a problem of their own making.

    Nothing like a guaranteed profit to slow down the wheels of efficiency, eh?

  4. I agree, and it seems strange they cannot figure out the labor costs of sending a tech out 6 times to avoid a repair is more costly than a fix-it-once-right call. Do they think it is like medicine - that if they ignore you long enough you will just die? Norine

    1. Actually, Norine, a lot of people DO give up! Because of the legacy of apartheid, people are reluctant to register is not in the culture. Instead, they grumble amongst themselves and feel ill-used but don't go to the source. I am sure my pharmacy thinks I am the complainingest person on the planet because I have actually gone to the store management and threatened to escalate to the national HQ if they don't stop messing up my orders.

      I know at least two people who have given Telkom the boot--we have no decent competitor (the only competitor is NeoTel and I hear they are just as bad) and have gone completely off the grid and are 100% mobile. We may actually do the same thing if the cost of data via WIFI goes down. Right now, for the amount of data we use, that is a prohibitive cost. But Telkom is losing market share to the cell phone world and they only compound the problem with their arrogance and incompetence. They are NOT the only game in town anymore, and if they want to survive, they need to wake up and realize that sooner rather than later!

  5. Update: This post was written 22 October, today in 9 January--2.5 months later. Guess what? Phone and ADSL lines continue to function normally...


Your comments welcome! Anonymous comments are enabled as a courtesy for people who are not members of Blogger. They are not enabled to allow people to leave gratuitously rude comments, and such comments will not be published. Disagreement will not sink your comment, but disagreeable disagreement will.