TODAY marks one month of nothing but intermittent Internet from PLDT DSL.
Which is also to say that for the past month we’ve given PLDT a chance to deliver the service that it promises us, and which we deserve, paying customers as we are who have been using their DSL since forever. Which is to say that for the past month we have been disappointed.
That is putting it kindly. The work we do is dependent on staying up to date and in touch with the world via the Internet. We invest in the service, use hard-earned money to pay for it, not because we want to be on Facebook every day – though that is as valid a reason as any thank you very much. But where I live, we use the Internet for work. For updating websites and publishing content, for doing research for articles, and sending those articles out into the world.
Were it not for a heaven-sent cousin who lives next door and shares her Internet with us for free, and my phone’s Smart 3G service, this would’ve been a month of no work done at all in this household.
When the PLDT phone and DSL service both died on October 20, we could not even bring ourselves to dial their customer service hotline 172. Have you heard that recording? It’s atrocious. Because also instead of giving you a customer service representative, it tells you to listen to a recording of this same male voice who will walk you through troubleshooting your DSL modem yourself.
They make us do it ourselves, and don’t even have the decency to give us a real person to talk to. But of course you can stay on the line and waste a good 20 to 30 minutes waiting for a customer service representative to answer your call, too.
On October 21, I found a PLDT’s customer service Facebook page and sent them a private message. Five hours later, Iggy of PLDT informs me that there’s an “ongoing PLDT facility migration.” On October 23, all the way in Tacloban, I report to Iggy again on behalf of my household: the phone line was back but the DSL was still dead. The following day a certain Fay replies and says they are still performing system maintenance and “may not be able to handle your concern immediately.”
I wanted to say: well it’s been five whole days, so “immediately” is out of the question. Little did I know we were looking at a month down the line with no DSL.
Instead I ask how much longer the service will be down, and if we get a refund for the five days we haven’t had Internet. A certain Celle replies and says they cannot give a date for the completion of the maintenance, and requests for refunds are entertained once service is restored.
None of that sounds hopeful of course. And really: to have to request for a refund instead of being given it for services PLDT knows full well it is unable to provide is just offensive.
The PLDT DSL slogan says it is “beyond broadband.” Well you know what’s beyond broadband? No broadband at all!
From October 20 and into the first week of November, we had no real internet service to speak of. On November 8, I send a tweet to @PLDTcares, telling them this is practically three weeks without Internet, thanks to them. No one replies. I send them the same tweet three days after, on November 11.
An Eileen from PLDT sends me a direct message on Twitter and says they’ve sent a report for “immediate troubleshooting” and thanks me for bearing with them.
For three days, from November 13 to 15, the service was back. Since November 16 though, it’s been as unreliable and intermittent as it has been all month. I go back and send @PLDTcares a tweet, they send me a direct message telling me that in fact “adjustment on the restoration of the line has been completed” and they would do “immediate line testing” to figure out what’s wrong.
No one has offered to come check out our DSL modem. No one has followed up to tell us exactly what’s going on, offer their apologies and a refund for the past month of only three days of service, if at all.
PLDT DSL’s epic fail
Early morning of November 18, 30 days since we first lost our DSL service, Tanie and Precious inform me via Twitter direct message of how much more trouble this is going to be.
That is, if I insist, as I have the right to, that we get a refund for the past month of no services rendered. Because apparently the only basis for a refund is PLDT’s technical report on our account and the number of days we have not used the service after its restoration.
Which means they will not refund us for October 20 to November 16, when they themselves had said they were under system maintenance? Which means the basis is not whether or not we have had the service, but what their technical reports say? I wonder if we will ever see those reports. One wonders if we can charge them for work not done and lost due to the lack of DSL service.
Of course not. Because in this country PLDT DSL’s epic failure to deliver services that its customers pay for, goes unnoticed and unpunished. Welcome to the Philippines, protecting big business is our business. The consumers can go to hell.