Saturday, 5 June 2010

I wish I hadn't signed a contract with Belgacom

Think back to the 1970s, when telephone services in the UK were run by the GPO. It was pretty dire, right?

Fast forward to the 21st century, and in Belgium we have something called "Belgacom". Now imagine the GPO, but without any desire to help their customers at all, and you might get an idea of what it is like trying to get anything to work.

Belgacom controls everything in my home - TV, telephone, internet access, the lot. I consider it to be a bit too expensive, but what really irritates me are all the little boxes and the miles of wiring that fill my home to service all this technology.

If anything goes down, it is a nightmare to get it fixed. We had to call an engineer out recently - the call out was free, "but you 'ave to pay 70 euros because 'ee was zere..." Their box was broken, but I had to pay.

Tonight I wanted to watch the news. I have about 100 channels - all pure garbage - except for BBC1, which is the only channel I look at. Tonight the service is "temporairement indisponible", which is French for "It don't work". None of it works, the whole service is off the air. Nearly 100 euros a month, and it doesn't bloody work.

I used to get TCM as part of the package, which meant I could at least watch an old, half-decent movie from time to time.  Without any reference to me, the customer, it was withdrawn, and now I have Al Jazeera, and some other Arabic channel that I have no interest in whatsoever. I suppose this reflects the changing demographics in Belgium. I would complain, but that would make me a racist, of course.

Every expat, of whatever nationality, has their own story about wasted days waiting for a Belgacom engineer, call-out charges, hostile customer services, etc. 

I only wanted to watch the bloody news, I can't even do that in this dump.

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