The Customer is Always

Case 1

After several years of being charged 28cents to send a text from France to Ireland, I was thrilled when new legislation was voted for in April 2009, slashing the prices of texts Europe wide to 13cents. Hurray, I thought, that’s my phone bill halved straight away.

My service provider thought differently and despite many visits to the shop and calls to the service centre, I was always treated like an annoying little fool who hadn’t a clue what she was talking about.

Frustrated, I changed to another telephone server, let’s call them Orangina - they assured me that texts, in line with European law, would be 13cents to anywhere in Europe. Cool!

My first bill arrived and, eye boggling moment, would you beleive it, they were also charging me 28cents a text. I marched to the store with my bill in hand demanding to speak to the salesperson, who of course, was not there.

“Why are my texts not being charged at 13cents to Europe?” I asked politely

" It is nothing to do with us, you must ring head office"

“No, I bought the phone here, YOU sold me the deal, I want an answer from you”

Sigh. Eye roll. Rapid fire discussion with colleague. Sigh. Gallic Shrug. Squints at bill as if it smells…

“Ahhh, but these texts are not to Europe, madame!”

“Mais , oui, they are to Europe, they are to Ireland”

Mocking laugh. Eye roll. Condescending look.

Explanation arriving in simple dumbed down tones …

“BUT. IRELAND. IS. NOT. IN. EUROPE. MADAME” says my lady as she folds up my bill and turns to another customer

“Cough , splutter, of course Ireland is in Europe, you anorexic tanned bitch”

“Non madame, Ireland is not in Europe”

The conversation continued in this vane for a while. I refused to leave the shop. She eventually agreed to look up wikipedia to see if Ireland was actually in Europe or not but she really really wasn’t convinced.

I’m still waiting for my refund! And I’m still being charged 28 cents a text …

The IT director has just changed my mobile to this lot:

A bit early to say how it will go, but after lengthy research (his favourite pastime when work gets boring) suggests that this is about the best deal you can get at the moment. It could all be different tomorrow, of course!

Thanks, Stuart but can you send texts from a Skype phone? The whole mobile phone business really annoys me as it’s such a rip off. I have been told that there have been changes to the legislation that came into effect at the beginning of February but I haven’t explored them yet.

You can send texts via Skype now, but you need to put funds on it. 0.124€ to France, 0.092€ to UK, 0.102€ to Ireland all TTC. The inconvenience of course being obliged to use the computer.

There’s always Skype though no good for texts…