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3 - 3 Broadband Disaster
Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2008 at 11:22am CDT by 347efce2
I became a '3' broadband customer in October 2007, paying 129 Euro for a modem with a monthly charge of 19.99, due to be paid by direct debit. When I received the first bill it appeared that the direct debit was operating correctly. However upon receiving the second and subsequent bills, the total arrears appeared to be accumulating. The bill made no mention that there was any problems with my bank account, and when I phoned up every month, the customer service reps were assuring me there was no problem, and the bill balances were up to date. At this point I will emphasise, that there was never any shortage of funds to cover my bills in my bank accounts.
Concurrently, I was receiving monthly account statements for a SECOND, completely different, '3' broadband account-ghost account- that was showing a monthly charge of 0.00 Euro. When I brought this to the attention of the customer service reps on a monthly basis, they informed me everything was operating correctly. They actually went as far as to say that the bills are zeroed because they were paid.
The first warning flag I had that all was not well, was when I received a letter from a debt collection agency demanding full payment of the accumulated bills. This letter being in contradiction of the advice from the customer reps that all was fine. Upon contacting the agency, I found them to be extremely rude, and not a little abusive, to both me, and my partner.
At this point I contacted my bank manager, and he informed me that '3' had made no attempts to direct debit my account.
When I contacted '3' concerning this, the customer rep informed me he had no record of my bank details. When I offered my bank account details at this point, I was informed that they could not use this bank account as it was tied up with a different '3' account. They forcefully suggested I offer a credit card to pay the arrears, which I was uncomfortable with. The only solution according to them was to pay by postal order. As the whole mess was not my fault, I demanded '3' pay the Post Office handling charge. This was agreed, but instead of crediting my real account with the 10 Euro handling charge, they credited the 'ghost' account.
When I attempted to pay by postal order, this proved impossible as there was no 'giro' form on any of my account statements.
At this stage I visited the Henry St. branch in order to resolve the issue in person. The service agent - after spending an hour and a half on the phone to the contact centre- recommended paying through my bank. He also assured me that I would be receiving a hefty compensation for my trouble. I immediately went to my bank's nearest branch where I was informed by one of the bank clerks that I would need the IBAN BIC/Swift codes to enable the transfer. On the first call I placed from the bank, the '3' rep. stated at first that they didn't have any such information only to hang up shortly after with the promise she would call me back the second she was done talking to her supervisor about it. After waiting for almost an hour for that returned call which was never placed, I rang again. This time, another representative talked to me and gave me completely incorrect information. The Bank informed me it was impossible to do the transfer as the codes '3' were offering "made no sense".
Although outraged at the trouble this was proving, I was more concerned about any potential credit rating implications and was determined to resolve the problem and move on. My next step was to do as my banker advised me to do and upgrade my bank account -purely to deal with 3 via the online/phone banking option. This was thankfully a solution for the mistakes '3' made. My bills were finally paid.
Three days later I received a phone call confirming the payment, and I was offered one month compensation for my trouble. I demanded more and was offered a second month, no more.
When the first months compensation was over I contacted '3', feeling that 2 months compensation was wholly inadequate. the rep looked into my account but could not find the account. We exchanged several calls trying to trace it. She informed me she was going to send me a new sim card as my account appeared to be closed. (The second month compensation never took place.)
In the post I received a letter thanking me for using '3', and informing me that my account was closed on the 10th of March 2008. (The ghost account took a total of 4 months to be cancelled and no-one can even tell me why this was ever created. It was even hinted to be an attempt of bank fraud at a fleeing point from one of the '3' representatives, which made me feel very insecure about sharing bank details with this service.)
After so many months of poor service, this was the last straw. My partner and I decided to go together to the '3' store on Henry Street to put an end to this. The local manager was very understanding and tried to be helpful by personally taking on several intensive telephone exchanges on the shop floor. This is where we were told that the account was cancelled by mistake by the '3' representative who was unable to find my details on the system, that no responsibility can be taken for previous assurances of compensation -by the shop's sales assistant-, that my account's cancellation fee was waived "as a gesture of good will", -even though it was not even my fault-, and that I wasn't even allowed a refund for my modem - the conclusion to the service '3' has provided me with, was suitably, wholly unacceptable.
I have spent incalculable hours on the phone and in person dealing with these problems.
Without warning I was contacted by an aggressive debt collection agency which put my pristine credit history to risk.
Every time I had to talk to '3' I was forced to explain my problems and situations to them anew. A service that isn't correctly informed about the service they are supposed to be providing.
On top of it all my bank information feels unsafe within the organisation since most of the times I was on the phone with a '3' representative, I was receiving nothing but incoherent answers as to which account it was linked to.
At every step I have gone out of my way and strived to solve these problems that were not of my making.
I have had to fight '3' every step for adequate service and, as a result of its' absence, adequate compensation.
I am a reasonable person, but this situation is outrageous enough to push anyone to his limits.
What are my rights??