Monday, 27 December 2010

France Telecom: more Orange than Lemon... this time.

Amusing conversation with France Telecom, aka Orange and telephony + internet + TV cable top box provider.

"Hello. Last time we spoke, you said that if I needed to hard boot the Livebox again, it would need to be replaced."

"Yes, I can see that from our last conversation when we reset your box together. I take it the Livebox is still causing troubles?"

"Well, this is the fourth time I have rebooted the Livebox today. Just so I could access the internet and make a phone call."

"Why exactly did you need to reboot the box?"

"Because it doesn't work unless I do."

"The Livebox needs to be replaced, yes, agreed."

"So, tell me why I should stay with France Telecom? The Livebox is buggy and always has been, you charge more a month than SFR and I don't get the same coverage as they offer for less. Convince me I should stay with you as my provider. I'm listening."

"I can suggest switching you over to our 2010 plan. It provides all calls to the places you dial most often, France Metropolitan, the UK and fixed lines plus cell numbers in the USA. This includes your Broadband internet, the TV set top box and all for 42.99€ per month. We'll even include a 3G dongle as part of the package. Plus, as far as I'm aware SFR does not offer the same TV set top box that we provide."

"They have a different one, besides, mine has never worked. I complained about it, but no one could ever figure out why it didn't work, not even the technician who came out to do the initial install."

"Hmmmm..." (sound of tapping and papers shifting...)

"Is your satellite dish working properly? Is it just the set top box that doesn't function?"

"What satellite dish? The set top box plugs into the live box and the TV is also plugged into the antennae on the roof. I don't have a satellite dish, never have."

"Ah... I see where the problem lies. You have a satellite set top box, it doesn't function without a dish."

"Why is that no one picked up on this before?"

"I very sorry this occurred, but perhaps... you never asked the right question?"

...Quite. As so often is the case here in France. People only answer questions posed. You need to know the right questions to ask. If not? Tough titties. No one will willingly offer suggestions or alternatives. Unless you happen to be speaking to a GOOD person from Assistance Sociale (and I have dealt with dreadful fonctionnaires, believe me.) Or, as was the case with France Telecom; you phone the English language help line and speak to someone who shares your mother tongue.

Say what you will about Americans, but at least as a whole we try to be helpful!

Oh, and yes, I decided to stay with France Telecom.

The last time I was struggling to explain the difficulties I was facing, (all in French) because the Livebox wasn't working, calling on my pay-as-you-go mobile phone, (which I had to recharge twice during the calls,) they suggested calling the English Language help line. One call to them, they called me back on THEIR dime and everything was sorted in minutes. SFR do not provide an English language help line. So, at least France Telecom are trying to be helpful to the Expat Community. I'll reward that with my business.

So now just to wait for a new Livebox, my dongle and my proper TV set top box. How exciting, we'll have more than just the standard five channels. I'll now get to watch 'Strictly Come Something' and find out what all the fuss is about.

(Or not...)


auntiegwen said...

Tech feckin ology

Troublesome the world over xxx

Kitty said...

Yes, exactly. Unfortunately, I know just enough about computers to be slightly dangerous. Or, well, more like, 'I can change the oil and the filter' on one.

the fly in the web said...

Happy New Year...and hoping it will be more orange than lemon...

Deborah said...

This just makes my feet go leaden and my brain lethargic. The futility and frsutration of dealing with administrative issues in France, and their remarkable knack for Catch-22 scenarios, is certainly enough to drive one off one's head.

Your persistence deserved to be rewarded, Kitty. Got my fingers crossed that it will all hang together for you.

Kitty said...

Dear Fly: If I get too many lemons thrown at me, I can always make lemon curd and lemon meringue pie, I suppose.
¡Mis mejores deseos para un muy feliz año nuevo! (Let's see if this gets flagged as a 'subversive' remark...) ;)

Dear Deborah: The rest of the story is that my older daughter spent an hour online with France Telecom customer service yesterday, and as a result, we now have 160 TV channels to choose from! The girls are overjoyed, it's a great late Christmas present.
Thank you for the kind thoughts, and I can always use the crossed fingers.

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