So, having had a gutsfull of Vodafail, about 18 months ago we got offered a deal with 2 Degrees. Now these are the local Minnows of the Telco world – trying to take on the might of Telecom and Vodafone and significantly reduce the rip off charges we have to pay for the privilege. Although it’s worth noting that this came about because of a frankly ridiculous claim via the Waitangi Tribunal that the government of the time could not sell the 3G network as it was Taonga (essential a treasure).
In 1999, the New Zealand Government auctioned off 3G spectrum radio spectrum licence. Rangiaho Everton claimed that the auction breached the Treaty of Waitangi because she believed radio spectrum is taonga and the government has no right to sell it. Everton lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal, which was upheld. It was not until Labour won the 1999 election that Māori were allocated one of the four 2 GHz 3G spectrum licences at a discounted price plus $5 million to develop it
For this reason I never really wanted to deal with the company; while I have a fair amount of patience for the Tribunal process and the righting of historic wrongs, things like this take the piss and make a mockery of the system, as well as causing a great deal of tension and frustration throughout the country. . However, one really good thing they did was stop the higher charges for calling between different accounts. You see Telecom and Vodafone both charged different rates depending on whether you were calling another of their customers, or a customer of their rival, and overall their prices were a helluva lot cheaper, but then they had a big discount in buying the licenses – but at least they passed it on. With 2 degrees, it didn’t matter who anyone’s carrier was, the call price was the same. It makes a huge difference. Of course it’s worth noting that 2 Degrees are also using infrastructure built and maintained by either Vodafone or Telecom, and have a tendency to whinge about having to pay Vodafone / Telecom for the privilege.
Anyway, we could also set up a Business account, with both phones on one bill. This was a significant improvement on our Vodafone account where we had a bill each. And our first bill with 2 Degrees was about $30 less. So I was a happy bunny.
And that’s when it all started to go horribly wrong.
I actually cannot remember why I had to phone 2 Degrees, but it was probably something to do with paying the bill. Only they couldn’t talk to me. Without Hubby’s permission.
Red. Rag. Bull.
Now we have had this before. It happens when the account is in his name, and I am trying to sort something out because – let’s be honest here – he earns money and is working , and I am not – so it’s a waste of his time and our money for him to prat around trying to sort out issues with bills. Which is clearly not something we considered when we set up the accounts. But it’s an easy fix – either we set up the account in my name, or I get added to the account as an authorised person. Which works really well until someone doesn’t read the file and offends me by telling me I’m not authorised when I am, or like ANZ tells me I not the account holder, my Husband is, when it is in fact my account.
Only in this case – it is a JOINT account. MY phone is on the account, its half MY bill and MY details are all on the account. So I do NOT need me husband’s permission to discuss the account. And I made this clear. And told the guy on the phone he was NOT to bother my husband. He went away and came back again and said that this was fine and he could deal with my query.
I did not find out until later that evening that the lying little shit had – behind my back and expressly against my wishes – phoned Hubby to check I was his wife and could access the account.
Both of us were furious.
And as luck would have it – I was then asked by Colmar Brunton to fill in a survey about Mobile Phone companies.
So I did. At length.
In this survey, I clearly laid out the issue, which I consider to be highly misogynistic and outdated. And in the section where it asked if I would like to be contacted about my comments, I expressly stated that they should do so, but ONLY if they called MY number, and did not call Hubby first to gain his “permission” because it would not be granted and I refuse to deal with such appalling and insulting behaviour.
So a couple of weeks later, while sitting in a café with my parents, I get a text from Hubby stating that 2 Degrees had called and as agreed he did not give permission. Then, and only then did I get some guy from 2 Degrees calling me about the survey.
I told him that I was already aware he had called my hubby first despite my explicit instruction not to, and that this was clearly unacceptable and stupid. He made some crappy attempt at justifying this on account of blah blah blah – permission, not authorised blah blah blah. Really? Did anyone read my survey comments? Is comprehension of English an issue at 2 Degrees??
Anyway – not willing to deal with this bullshit any longer, I told the guy that I did not give HIM permission to speak to me, and he should bloody well bugger off.
And put the phone down.
We resolved to cancel out contract at the end of the 12 months, and that we would never again call 2 Degrees, or contact them except via email – where I can write the email and sign it as Hubby. Seriously – these companies are idiots.
As it happens, we didn’t actually cancel the contract. Life got in the way, and we were too busy to look at alternatives. That all changed a few weeks ago. We decided that I needed data access on my phone. (While most people are paranoid about various government agencies spying on them, those same people often have GPS tracking on their phones, and tell anyone who cares to know where they are and what they are doing every 5 seconds. I’d rather not to be honest, so have Data switched off ). Now, I refuse to deal with 2 Degrees, because I am not allowed. So Hubby rang them, and lo – without needing MY permission, was able to make a significant change to MY phone which could result in higher charges on MY bill.
So now I was pissed.
I raised this issue on 2 Degrees’ Facebook page, and was asked to give them some details. So at least they want to talk to ME now. The upshot of that was that no, I was not authorised on the account, but Hubby could send them an email and authorise me. Apparently this has something to do with – wait for it –SECURITY.
It has stuff all to do with security. It’s MY phone. If your company can’t tell from a phone number, birth date, pin number (which Hubby has to ask me for to access the account), security questions and the fact that the bloody account has my bloody sodding NAME on it – then your security system is a pile of sticking horse manure and who ever wrote it should be sacked. (And BTW – for a suitably outrageous fee – Hubby can fix you up with a sensible system But only if you ask my permission first!)
Now, the person I was dealing with tried their best. After being told that this was never gonna happen – like – “Over My Dead Body Sunshine!” never gonna happen – they offered a “goodwill payment of $39 for my troubles. And authorised me on the account. Only this was too late. I had decided enough as enough. You had one chance – you don’t a second. It is not our policy to deal with companies that do not treat both of us as equals. We are both directors and shareholders of the company, and if it’s good enough for the IRD, the Government and for us, then its damn well good enough for the mobile phone company.
I was asked if someone could phone me to discuss. I said thanks but no, I wish to move on.
So someone rang me.
I tried to be as polite as possible, but did emphasise that this was not OK, that we did not want to be troubled again, that we were leaving the company, and not to ring again.
So they rang Hubby.
Yep – still not accepting that what I say goes, they tried to go behind my back like a 5 year old after sweeties having being told No by Mummy, tries to see if Daddy is an easier mark.
Are these people for real?
Do they really think Hubby is going to pick up the phone to deal with this crap? Well, he didn’t. However I did send a message back to the 2 Degrees via Facebook telling them to get lost. I was not terribly polite about it. On saying that – I was a whole lot politer than Hubby would have been had they actually managed to get hold of him.
And this is where telecom comes back into the tale.