A couple of people have asked after the grumpy old man in me over Christmas, well he is back.
I turned over the channel to Setanta Sports an hour or so ago and it had gone. Not literally, but I was being invited by the on-screen message to take out a subscription. All well and good, but I already have one.
After calling Setanta and selecting the ‘existing customer’ option complete with its five minute minumum wait, I redialled selecting the almost instantly answered ‘new customer’ option.
I explained our plight to ‘Kirsty’ on the other end of the line and we went through the usual ‘security’ questions before she left me holding on the premium rate number whilst she went to find out why the service had disappeared.
It turned out that Setanta’s ‘system’ was at fault and we would be switched back on within the hour. Fine then, no real harm done. Then Kirsty announced that they would “waive the reconnection charge on this occasion”. I begged her pardon and she said “we won’t be charging the reconnection”! How absurd, I observed, that they would even think of such a charge when their mistake had inconvenienced us. It seems that they cannot simply switch us back on as it is assumed their system is infallible so any reconnection would be as a result of customer intervention.
Kirsty explained that our usual billing date of the 11th of the month would from now on be the 3rd as a result of the reset. I checked the payment details on record with her and then asked if they would therefore be taking a pro-rata payment for this month seeing as the next eight days were already in credit from the last payment. On no, it seems that the system is unable to do that and we were to be billed the full monthly fee again, thus paying twice for the next eight days. Casually, Kirsty explained that is was only a few days and that’s just what the system does.
My response shall be condensed into a few words for the sake of brevity in this blog. ‘Breach of Contract’ and ‘Obtaining Funds by Deception’. Kirsty was asked to try again.
Eventually she returned saying that we would not be charged for the period from today until 3rd February, thus giving us three free weeks for the inconvenience. She was quizzed about the billing procedure and came up with a plausible explanation as to how it might go to plan, however, as ever I shall not hold my breath and instead fully expect to be billed again on 11th January then again on 3rd February, thus just moving the double billing period to next month.
Yet another hassle free, automated billing system that causes customers more trouble than it is worth. Full marks to Setanta for the free weeks but unless I had complained so fervently, the nonsense about recharging a further full month would have left us out of pocket. How can firms allow operators to spout such absurd – and illegal – rubbish, and how many old and/or vulnerable customers just go along with it? I shall be spending the next two months, at least, checking that they don’t over-charge us. Another waste of my time because big firms NEVER get it right.