When it comes to service problems, it has been my experience that the megacorporations are the ones which are most frustrating to deal with. With small businesses, you can find the owner and complain directly and the owner usually addresses your concerns as quick as possible. With megacorporations, the big fish are always out hobnobbing with fellow millionaires (and billionaires), with no way for us mere mortals to contact them. All we get to talk to are grunts who don't really care about complaining customers because 1) we're just one of the many many complainants they talk to every day and 2) we can just go screw ourselves and transfer to their competitors because they will still get paid and new subscribers will take our place. In short, they don't care about losing our business.
PLDT is one such company. And this is a long rant.
When we transferred to a new apartment building last year, I applied for a new PLDT landline service. I had been a subscriber for years and although our previous landline phone occasionally had no dial tone, the PLDT branch was just a five-minute walk from our house and having the problem fixed was easy. As for the bills, I was never behind in paying them.
The new apartment building already had a connection box at the ground floor, making installation of phone lines much easier for the phone technicians. I asked the girl who handled our application if the technician would inform us first before dropping by to install the unit, and she said yes. Unfortunately, the guy dropped by unexpectedly -- I was not home and was not able to give instructions on where I wanted the unit to be installed. When I got home I just found the phone installed on the wrong part of the house. I wanted it in my room since I would be using the phone for work-related calls and I wanted easy access to my computer and paperwork while on the phone. Instead, it was installed in the living room.. (They assumed I was one of those normal people who put phones in their living rooms.) This happened first week of August 2011.
I called 171 the following morning. A total pain in the ass! I had to wait for 2 hours to talk to a CSR, then I was informed that I would have to pay P500 to have my phone transferred to my room (less than 10 meters away, on the same floor). I wasn't given a date as to when the technician would transfer the line. The following day, someone from PLDT had the audacity to contact me not about my concern, but to sell me an upgrade.
After one week, the technician finally came. He checked the connection then left, saying that he would be back that afternoon. Of course he never came back. After more than a week, I called up 171 again to follow up but just got annoyed since noone was answering the phone! The irony was killing me: there was this bigass PHONE company but noone answered their phone. Just the same music for more than an hour until we gave up. Calling 173 was equally useless -- the call was answered at once but the CSRs couldn't and wouldn't help us, claiming that my concern did not belong to their department. I even requested the 173 CSR to just note down my concern and forward it to the proper department because noone was answering 171, but he refused. Quality service at work!
August 23 I emailed their customer service department. The next day, I got a reply and two days after that, a promise that they would look into my concern.
Still, nothing happened. I called 171 again and after a long time spent listening to their music, I got to talk to a male CSR who told me that there would be a P1200 charge to have the phone transferred. I got furious and demanded to know his name and that my call be transferred to his supervisor. After putting me on hold, he came back and told me that the P1200 charge was already waived and that my problem would be prioritized.
|not my facial expression whenever I call |
PLDT customer service hotline
September 7 rolled by and still nothing. The PLDT truck would pass by our street every now and then, as if tormenting us. I again complained via email and stated that if they didn't want to transfer my phone, they should just give me a free cordless phone. After one week, I got another canned apology and a promise to take care of the problem.
When the technician finally arrived, he informed us that their team was told to drop by our place just that morning. Well, wtf? It took the customer service department one month to forward my requests?
Anyway, the technician was already there. The phone line was connected in the right place. It took him about five minutes. As a bonus, he did not disconnect the previous line so I got a free extension. We gave him breakfast and a tip as a thank you. I thought my problems were finally over. Big mistake.
The next day, the phone got static. It was hard to hear the person I was talking to. When I reported it to 173, a technician came back and informed us that the problem was with the wiring used in the building. The guy talked to our landlord and we learned that the problem was complicated since the wiring was behind concrete walls. Having a static-y phone was better than nothing so we put up with it. Sometimes the phone had no dial tone for a day or two but then would be working again. We just blamed the building's wiring system for the problem.
First week of June 2012, my phone went dead. Before, even if there was no dial tone, there was still static. Now, even the static was gone. When the dial tone did not come back after a few days, I reported it to PLDT. Hating their hotline and disillusioned by their email customer service, I tried the PLDT Landline Facebook page. In fairness to the person handling that page, I got a prompt reply and the person was honest enough to let me know that the page was handled by the marketing team and they did't have direct access to PLDT's database/system. The best they could do to help me was to forward my concern to the proper department to check and advise them to prioritize it.
After a day or two, the phone rang. It was the technician, testing if the phone was already okay. He said he would call again after 30 minutes. He didn't.
After less than a week, the phone died again. I emailed customer service but got no response so I sent a message to the Facebook marketing team again asking for help. Only then did the customer service personnel send me an email. I knew that the email CSR responded to the Facebook team's request instead of my direct request because the name he used to address me matched my Facebook name (slightly different from my email/billing name).
A technician came by again, checked my connection, and said that I couldn't use my room connection because of the faulty building wiring. He grumpily said that if he was going to fix it, it would eat up all of his time. I had no choice but to use the phone in the living room.
The landlord learned about my dilemma and offered to have his electrician check out the connection. And guess what, they did it! After fiddling with the phone jack for about half an hour, the electrician was able to fix the problem. My room phone is now working, and without static!
I got to talk to the landlord after they fixed the line. I learned that he had been having the same problem with PLDT even in his new apartment building. The new apartment building is practically a clone of the building where I live, just down the road. As of last year, he thought that the problem was really because of the wiring in our building. Apparently, when he had our apartment building built, he outsourced the electrical job to a contractor and that contractor seemed to have chosen lower-quality products. When the landlord had the new apartment building erected, he chose to handle the purchase of the materials and equipment himself, selecting the top quality ones. And still, PLDT personnel claimed that the new building's wiring was faulty and low quality! That was when the landlord had electricians double check PLDT's claims.
So, what can we conclude? Aside from having unresponsive CS personnel, PLDT employs technicians who are either incompetent or just plain lazy. Our landlord was already nice enough to have taken care of the wiring himself -- putting up a connection box so that the PLDT guys do not have to install the wires themselves. They just have to activate the phone jacks in the walls. Tsk tsk!