I am rewarding NET (and myself) for Caught Being Good awards today.
Short backstory and filling in my non-Brazil-residing readers:
*NET and Telefónica are two iternet/cable/phone companies here in the state of Sao Paulo. Telefónica is slightly cheaper, but evil, and NET is not. It´s very much a case of ´´you get what you pay for.´´
*It´s still common in Brazil for people to have illegal cable and illegal cable boxes (remember those?) at home. It´s called something like ´´TV a Gato´´´. I don´t know exactly how to use that in a sentence, so I like calling it ´´TV Gatinho.´´
*Our new apartment was already equipped with an illegal cable line. Alexandre assumed it was from NET (because most of them are). He was also worried that all of the apartments had it.
*For these reasons, Alexandre accepted the evil, evil Telefónica company for our internet.
*Alexandre finally got through with a sales rep (only took him a week on the phone, because their phone line is bad (irony) and you can´t order services in store?!), and they told him they had a term of one month to actually come and install the internet. He accepted that agreement and ``forgot´´ to tell me.
Ok so Alexandre is still technically in his training phase for his military doctor job, which means he spends like 15 hours a day on base. Then he leaves me at home, alone, with no internet, no way to work or talk to people. Not gonna fly.
We´ve bickered about it almost every day... me, insisting on just paying NET and doing the right thing, him, insisting that I be patient and wait for Telefónica. Most of our arguments ended with me saying things like, ´´and THIS is why Brazil doesn´t develop! Because people accept service like this! Be the change you wish to see in the world!´´
I tried calling Telefónica to hustle them along a bit, but you can imagine how unsuccessful that was. My phone call with the evil bitchy customer service robot ended with me saying, ´´you should look for another job, because I don´t know how you sleep at night with this one!´´
Now Alexandre is at a training camp for 3 days, cut off from civilization, carrying a heavy backpack and learning how to treat snake bites on soldiers in the rainforest and things like that. He´ll come home for one night, just to go back out with another group for 2 more nights. I feel just as isolated without internet or other people at home. I think even Gatinha is sick of me.
He told me that if I got really desparate, I could just go down to the cell phone companies and buy that 3G internet USB thing that you guys talked about. For my American friends, it´s just that-- a USB thing that you connect to your computer and use cell phone internet for computer internet. But it has time/data limits and it´s way expensive and not good.
I called the owner (who is also the previous tenant) of our apartment to ask her what was going on with this illegal cable situation, what company she had for internet, etc. She explained that the illegal cable was only to her apartment, that it was a company that she had that NET ended up buying out, but because it´s not digital cable, they haven´t cut it yet. But she said no one´s paying for it and it´s only a matter of time before NET figures it out. She said it´ll only take one NET technician coming to the building (whether to check someone´s line or install new service) for them to figure it out and turn off our free cable.
I decided that enough is enough. With Alexandre buried somewhere in the mato, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I walked myself down to the NET store and signed up for internet and cable. Their combo packages aren´t even that much more expensive, especially if we were paying for regular internet and 3G internet. And their maximum time required for installation? 3 days (NOT 1 month!) AND they call me beforehand to say when they´re coming. AND they work on Saturdays.
The customer service differences between Telefónica and NET was just night and day. The doorman at NET opened the door for me. The customer service rep pulled up a chair and offered me water. She had phamplets and explained all the plan options clearly and was honest about price changes once the promotional prices run out. She had a caculator on hand so I could figure out how much the plans would cost over the long-term. She gave me a copy of the contract (!).
Before signing her contract, I called Telefónica and canceled our unfilled order. It only took 25 minutes of holds and transfers and new ´´protocólos´´ (confirmation codes) to write down. I thought it a small miracle that I was able to cancel the order, even though it was in Alexandre´s name.
So NET gets a Caught Being Good award today. And I´m giving one to myself, too, for going over my laissez-faire, bad-service-accepting husfriend´s head and making executive decisions and figuring things out myself. I highly doubt I´m the only person to ever have a partner with this kind of personality. HIGHLY DOUBT. But I want to pat myself on the back nonetheless.
By the time he gets back from his training, the house will be wired up again.
I shake my fist at you, Telefónica!! And also give you the finger. At least they got no money from me and I feel like there is some semblance of order and justice in my world.