Service? What's that?

Germans often refer to their country as a "Service-Wüste", a desert with no real service to be had for love or money. There are many companies that come to mind when you talk about bad service, one that tops everyone's list is the former German telecoms monopolist, T-Com.

All right, I hear the groaning. Add your own stories in the comments....

I had a local call flat rate, but have found that I really don't use it - who has a landline anymore? I call the US, I call Scandinavia, I call long-distance, I call local people on their mobile phones. So I want to cancel it.

I call the freephone. A Tin Lizzy answers and greets me profusely. Gawd. Instead of voicemail hell ("Press 1 for this, press 2 for that") I now have to say one of the words offered to me. But what is "cancel this silly service", is this part of my "Bill" or "Information" or "Service"?

I just guess "Information". It does not understand me, and sweetly asks me to repeat myself. I just want to push 1 and get on with it, but no, I have to pronounce the word just so before I can enter in my phone number, either spoken or typed. I choose typed.

Tin Lizzy announces that I will be connected to a competent help desk partner - and gives me a busy signal. What a flip!

Okay, I call back. Lizzy is now busy. I fume, fuss with other stuff, call again. Lizzy is back. Okay, I know the routine, I choose "Service" this time. Same song, second verse: after hearing that I will soon have a competent help desk partner I get a busy signal again!

I go to the web page, wade through pop-ups and crappy navigation and find a bitch box. Again I have to select "Information" or "Bill" or "Service", but who cares, I write a nasty letter.

An hour later the mail comes with a questionaire from T-Com. How do you like our new service? Well, that was fast! Let's see: On a scale of 1-5 (1 best) how do you rate our service? Drat, can't write in, or I would put in 9. So I check 5, pretty much all the way down.

Now, wonder what I have to do to ditch this service? Probably have to change phone companies, something not for the faint of heart....

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