Are you ready to hear a fairly long, relatively boring story about getting television at the cottage? Well if you are, then this is the place to be…..and this is the condensed version.
Television and Internet At The Camp
Sometime ago we started finding that getting half decent television reception at the cottage was becoming difficult. We were down to one out of three possible channels and no amount of tweaking or changing the old antenna in the attic made any difference.
That, coupled with a recent CRTC requirement for television broadcasters to change to digital by September 2011 convinced me that it was time to make an upgrade, particularly since we are spending a lot more time at the camp these days.
So…can’t be much to that, call the local cable television provider, sign up for service, get hooked up and then sit back and enjoy Blue Bloods and endless reruns of various versions of Law and Order and CSI.
While we are at it, and in a spending mood, might as well get an internet hookup at the camp too, so I can bring you live reports on all the cottage summer action while it’s happening.
So we called our local provider, Eastlink, and asked for a hookup of television and internet.
“No problem” the nice phone rep said, “We’ll have someone there in a couple weeks to hook you up!”
We waited patiently for the techs to arrive, and they finally did a couple weeks later, as we saw the white service van come into the driveway we shouted with glee. (actually with delight, we don’t normally watch Glee, although by now anything on TV would be good) I started thinking about watching Doctor Oz have a live prostate exam on national television by lunchtime.
The two techs got out of the van, acknowledged me, but only so-so, their attention seemed to be taken with looking up at the wires etc. I stood aside and waited while they looked and pointed at the wires, talking to each other in low mumbly tones typical of technician types.
Finally one of them approached me, “Who do I talk to?” he asked, and I could tell it wasn’t good news.
So you know what that means…..yup…..I pointed to Wendy who was standing in the doorway and said, “Her.”
He told “Her” that there were no wires running to the camp and therefore we needed wires….duh….I thought they would have known that already, since we told them we had never had cable before, but nonetheless, he continued, saying that we would need a “site survey” done, could take at least 3 to 6 weeks, and oh, by the way, “That travel trailer next door is on the right of way, it has to be moved before any wires can be installed…..”
With that he said he would order the survey and they piled back into the service van and were gone, lickety split up the driveway, off to spread some more joy to awaiting customers.
So we waited….and waited….and waited….Wendy phoned a couple times and got unsatisfactory answers such as “we are waiting for the survey” that kind of thing.
She started phoning each week to see if anything had been done. “Nope not yet, but you know those engineers…slow”
Finally a fellow showed up on this past Wednesday. Nice fellow, he said he was doing the survey. He was plotting the coordinates in the GPS and it would go to the engineers.
It looked like a job I would enjoy, driving around in a van looking at roads and power poles and plugging coordinates into a laptop.
He said we’d hear something soon…..but he didn’t seem to think that there would be a problem, it looked pretty straightforward. We mentioned the issue of the trailer on the right of way next door and he didn’t seem to think it was an issue, nothing to worry about.
We sat back to wait for word as to when they would be arriving to do the work.
We’ve been listening to CBC Radio a favorite of mine, but Wendy, not so much.
I started feeling relieved, thinking I would be soon into blogging real time, and to be honest, getting a little excited….that is untill the cell phone rang that afternoon.
“This is Eastlink calling, we’re sorry to have to tell you but you are outside our service area, we cannot hook you up.”
Cannot hook us up??? The guy was just there saying it looked OK to him. Wendy told the person who phoned how the fellow had just told us it looked OK.
At that point the Eastlink who called said, “I will have to call you back.”
However, she did not call us back. The next morning Wendy called and asked what happened she did not get a call back.
This time the staff person said, “You have to wait for customer service to contact you.”
At that point Wendy asked to talk to a supervisor, to which the staff person replied, “She(the supervisor) cannot tell you anything diffferent then what I am telling you.” (*and to think that Eastlink’s slogan painted all over there vehicles is, “It’s That Easy”)
Finally she put us through to a supervisor. The supervisor said, “You are out of the service area, it will cost $3000.00 to hook you up.”
At which point Wendy said, “So are you going to hook us up?” and the supervisor said, “If you are going to pay the $3000.00”
Uh-huh, well we like television as much as the next person, but not enough to pay $3000 to watch reruns of Seinfeld. So we ended our discussions with Eastlink and said, “No thanks.”
Well we still want TV and internet, so we gave Shaw Direct a call, the person there couldn’t have been more helpful, and in no time she had us hooked up for satellite television, close to 200 channels….whoo hoooo!
Unfortunately they don’t do internet, but alas, Aliant does, and they were more than happy to sign us up for wireless internet service.
Not bad, especially considering that they are both coming next week to hook us up and the entire monthly cost for both is actually cheaper than Eastlink, and we get more channels….OMG happy days are here again!!
Eastlink indirectly did us a favor through what I would describe as one person not knowing what the other was doing. At one point in the discussions above I asked Wendy if it was possible that perhaps someone at Eastlink did not like us and was jerking us around on purpose.
I actually condensed the story a bit as there were some additional back and forth discussions as well as the ones I mentioned because of all the times that Wendy called to inquire as to our order status.
But that is not the best part….oh no, it gets better. Remember the $3000.00 they told us we would have to pay for hookup? Well this morning we had a message from Eastlink, and here is what it said, “We are able to hook up your cable after all, and I am putting the order in to have the wiring started but I cannot give you an exact time when that will be done.”
No more mention of the $3000 or having to move the trailer, or us being outside the service area…..
Needless to say Wendy phoned Eastlink back immediately to advise them to cancel the order, something we had already told them at the time that they wanted $3000 to hook us up.
I worked for the Government for close to 30 years, in a customer service environment. In government you hear a lot about “If this was private enterprise it would be a lot more efficient and customer friendly.” Uh-huh…if only that were true.
I have learned a lot from this experience and one thing for certain, it pays to shop around and, if someone quotes you a ridiculous price, don’t be quick to agree to it, there is apparently a lot of confusion going on within the workings of some television cable providers.
To be clear, it’s not so much the issues/problems Eastlink had with our order, it was:
1) The feeling that one person had no idea what the other person was doing or saying;
2) The call indicating we were out of their service area;
3)The $3000 which was ridiculous and then the call back indicating that the $3000 was no longer an issue….and finally, the whole business about them telling us we had to “wait for customer service” to contact us, we couldn’t contact them essentially.
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