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Belgacom: The last straw

Yesterday it became apparent that the office phone had problems yet again; we could not hear outgoing or incoming calls, though the people on the other end could hear us fine.

I went out and bought a new handset (the old one was rather crappy and we needed one with a better loudspeaker anyway), but the problem remained, so clearly it's something to do with the line.

I called Belgacom's customer service - after the usual insane delving through their website to find the number - and after 20 minutes on hold finally spoke to a technician. He took my details, said he would look into it, and promised to call me back on my mobile number in a few minutes. Needless to say, he never did.

I called them again this morning before leaving home to find out what had happened to my report from yesterday. Needless to say, the technician I spoke to (and I wish I had taken his name; I will always do that with Belgacom staff in future) had made no record of my call. That really is the last straw.

Not being in the office yet, I couldn't give the technical details needed. I got them to promise to call me back mid-morning; but I am not holding my breath.

ETA: In fairness, they did call mid-morning and appear to have fixed the problem! Yay! But I am still unimpressed with their failure to do anything about it yesterday.

Meanwhile I am looking at the other service providers I can go to. If Telenet now cover Brussels (they didn't last time I checked) they will get my business; they have been perfectly acceptable providers at home.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)
hee hee :-) Feels SO much like home!
If you have a good Internet connection - get yourself a VoIP phone and forget about fixed lines. As far as I remember (and will be glad if you prove me wrong) all phone providers in Belgium are the same - large, slow, and terrible to small clients. Internet providers are in a more competitive market, even though sometimes it does not help either.
PS: you can get a fixed number even for Skype! And I do not think it'd be much more expensive than using a normal telephone. OF course you'd need to use it on your computer, but if you don't want that you can get a separate unit.Here is a list for you: http://www.voipproviderslist.com/country/voip-belgium/voip-providers-belgium/
Find one that lists "Internet telephony services provider", for example these guys: http://www.3starsnet.com/index.php/shop_intro/en/

Jan. 14th, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)

Thanks indeed for this tip, which cheered me up immensely.

In the old days I remember that you and I had some dealings with Toledo Telecom here in Belgium. Were they any better than Belgacom?
Jan. 14th, 2010 09:14 am (UTC)
Well, from our experience - they are much better! Once again, just like back home, it all depends on the level of communication - smaller companies (though Toledo is not that small, it's not Belgacom) tend to have personalized relations with clients, and that allows you to have a personal contact with someone who can help you with your problems. Best contacts are commercials of course - they sell stuff, while tech support just fixes stuff and does not care about the result that much. SO, in case of larger companies I found it useful sometimes to address the commercial who sold me the contract in the first place - and let them kick their tech support into action!
And, speaking of contacts - Fabrice still works in Toledo so you can give him a call and I am sure he will be able to help, or at least point you in the right direction. I see on their website that they provide VoIP - as everything else, GSM, Internet of all kinds, fixed telephony as well - but you see, the reason why I suggest VoIP is that a fixed phone needs a pair of wires in the building (Internet does too, but that's a different pair of wires. And sometimes it does not need any wires at all). And these wires - there are very few companies who own them, usually big ones like same Belgacom. So, while telephony itself can be provided by a different company, wires are provided by those who have them in your building, and if there is a problem with the wiring - you are once again facing Belgacom. Although maybe a Toledo technician will heva better luck dealing with them than you pesonally :-)
Jan. 14th, 2010 09:21 am (UTC)
I have a 4-page complaint letter I forgot to send off to Belgacom. This all started when we added Belgacom TV to our package, and not only have we been lied to re:price of the new package, but we have had technical difficulties since then, and a less than helpful technical staff which exhibited unacceptable behaviour but when called out responded with "you should buy a commercial line then if you expect quick service".

I heard some good things about VOO, don't know if they cover Brussels. But I think that I will switch (back) to VOO when the contract permits.
Jan. 14th, 2010 09:26 am (UTC)
Thanks, Nat - another useful tip. I had seen VOO's advertisements, but of course all that shows is that they have the brains to hire a good advertising agency. Were you using them before?

Best moment of my call with Belgacom this morning, when I said I wanted to escalate my complaint, the bloke on the other end said, "Well, then you must talk to my chef." I said, "So please give me his name and contact details." The Belgacom response: "I don't have that information." Total contempt for the customer!
Jan. 14th, 2010 09:30 am (UTC)
I have used VOO for my (analog) TV for some years, and have never had any complaints. They were also surprisingly professional when we called to ask how to end our contract - gave the information and wished us a good day. I don't know how good their IT and digital offer is, but I believe it's pretty comparable to Belgacom - in any case, I don't think it can get worse technically!!

Oh yes, we never got the supervisors either! And when we asked where to call to lodge a complaint, they gave us a number ... of the billing department. Where they told us you can't actually complain, you have to write a letter to such and such address and hope it gets read.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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