I always dread having to change anything having to do with our telecommunications infrastructure, as for some reason normally well-organized Germans manage to screw things up *every* *single* *time*.

But the teenager will be back in house and since his current girlfriend is a long-distance call away, I think a flat-rate would be a good investment. I went to their web site to check the prices and maybe book the Germany + local flat rate.

The web site was impenetrable. It is full of flashy pictures and Great Deals that come with Wee Tiny Footnotes explaining that after the honeymoon period everything will cost twice as much. They offered me movie flat rates and really fast DSL (tempting, my current provider, 1&1, slogs along at "up to 1 Mbit/second" which really means "maybe 200 Kbit/second if we feel like it and 19 if you are downloading anything important") and telephones and all sorts of gadgets. But where could I book an upgrade? Why is it so difficult buying something simple?

So I called the free number and spoke with a lady. She was reading from a script sheet and had trouble pronouncing things. She said something like "mirwersteuer" and when I asked what that was she started reeling of the definition of value-added tax. Ah, Mehrwertsteuer. Now I wanted to know what the difference beforetax was to what I pay now, as the bill only adds the tax in at the end. When I finally figured out that it was 10 Euros a month, I said "Fine, please book that for me from August 12."

Yesterday I got the confirmation in the mail. 60 Euros surcharge for a tariff change! And the change will be effective July 20.

So I called the toll-free number again this morning, and this lady had a look. "Hmm," she said, "you changed from ISDN back to analog, did you?" I did no such thing, I'm not crazy, none of my phones and my DSL from another provider would not work! "Good thing you called, yes, this is just an additional service and not a change of tariff. I'll fix this and send you another confirmation."

Maybe T-Com should invest a few Euros in actually training their people. Stupid stuff like this costs us both money.

I suppose I'll end up with a movie flat rate on the next confirmation....

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