Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Adventures in the Heart of Darkness

So I return from a month away to find that both our landlines--Madrid and Asturias--have been turned off. It seems that back when I blocked Movistar from continuing to extort from our bank account exhorbitant amounts for Blackberry connections never made, Telefonica got blocked as well. This is because, of course, they are separate companies.

In any case, because our January bill hadn't been paid, our phone lines were cut off. I called Telefonica yesterday, and asked that the Asturias line be temporarily restored so that I could least call the bank and ask them to authorize payment. The "customer service" representative agreed, and told me that the line would be restored for within 45 minutes. I was happy. About 20 minutes later, I got an automated call from Telefonica telling me that my service had been reactivated. I was really happy. That is, until I tried to dial out.

I called Telefonica back, got a man this time, who told me to be patient, that the automatic call telling me service had been restored didn't necessarily mean service had been restored, and that I should wait another few minutes. Two hours later, our phone still unable to dial anything beyond the Telefonica number, I called again. "Be patient," I was told. Two hours later, I called again. "This can take up to six hours," I was told. "They told me 45 minutes," I said, piteously. "And I got a call telling me it had been restored." "Wait a little while longer," the man said.

When I woke up this morning, the phone still wasn't working. I called again. "Oh, well, there must be a problem," said the "customer service" representative--this one female--who answered. "Let me transfer you to our technicians." I explained the whole story for the, I don't know, 28th time to the technician. "Well, it says here you haven't paid your January bill," she said. I said, "Perhaps you haven't been listening to me. The bank made a mistake and blocked payment erroneously. I would like to tell them to go ahead and pay you guys, but I can't because, even though you told me you would temporarily restore my phone service, and I got an automatic call telling my that said service had been restored, I CAN'T DIAL OUT.

That's when she started shouting. "WE HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO RESTORE SERVICE," she said, loudly. "AND EVEN IF WE DID, IT COULD TAKE TWO DAYS." "So, why," I asked, "did they tell me it would take 45 minutes, and why did I get an automated call telling me it had been restored? Isn't it possible that there's a problem? And if re-activation of the line takes 2 days, and you only give me 2 days to repay the bill before cutting off the line again, isn't it possible that the phone would never be restored in the time you alloted for payment? "FINE," she yelled at me. "YOU'LL HAVE PHONE SERVICE WITHIN TWO HOURS."

Neither of us believed her. And rightly so: 12 hours later, I still can't dial out.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Timofonica...we love them so.


Sending sympathy your way from the Manzana Grande.

ananda : sanskrit for bliss said...

Hi, I'm interested in featuring your blog on the National Geographic Traveler website.

Not sure how to get in touch with you so please email me at


Mary Beth