In advance I'd like to apologize to everyone if this comes off as a rant or general troll topic. I only wish to put my experiences with Slingshot into a public domain in the hope of meaningful conversation. Also If my grammar fails me hopefully everyone will forgive me.
2012 has been a year of new things for me, searching for a new job, a new apartment, and finally I decided that a new ISP was also in order. Previously I have partaken in the services of Vodafone, Snap, Telstra Clear, and Orcon, all of which have given a reasonable degree of service and incentive to stay for the full term of contract.
This year Slingshot seemed like the best ISP for my local area (which happens to be the same area as your main office, the Auckland CBD), Long story short despite all the tv ads, internet banners, and flashy websites, I have experienced half a month of frequent disappointment, frustration, and confusion within this much marketed "better place". So at my tipping point I thought I would give a short log of my time with you in the last month.
Around the beginning of February (8/2/12), after much thought and advice I decided to join Slingshot for my Internet services. After going through a few ISP's I assumed this would be a simple procedure as always.
Calling up Slingshot started simple enough and I was even happily surprised with very handy call back service for mobile phone (A nice touch for people without landlines). The automated directory was clear and useful, and I was quickly put through to a call center staff member. This was however the point that things started to go sour.
The staff member was nice but very unsure throughout the entire process, leading to many instances in which I was put on hold for short periods. The typical name, phone, chosen package questions went without a hitch, but the major fault arises with the property address. My address which for privacy I wont list, was asked once, then again, then there was a unnamed issue during which I was put on hold. Back off hold I was asked again, and finally it was confirmed or so I thought.
Later in the call after the legal yes, no's, and prices, I was once again put on hold after being told there was an issue with the property address. It was really interesting that despite living in the Auckland CBD there was seemingly issues confirming it within the system. Either way after coming back off hold I was told that my address had been listed incorrectly and I would need to be transferred to another department to get it fixed, so back to hold I went. There was only a certain amount of times I was willing to say H for Harry/House/Horse, but even so I was connected back and told for a second time the problem was fixed and I wouldn't be transferred after all.
Finally I was told a welcome package would be sent in the mail and would be sent a text confirming the connection date, both of which opened up new problems down the line.
The Wait Period
After my interesting call the Slingshot rep, I received a text (9/2/12):
"Hi Slingshot here, on 15 Feb 2012 Slingshot will be activating your new broadband services. Check your email for further information. we will text you the day b..."
I was also sent an email confirming this so I counted the days and waited to be contacted. The connection day came and rather then a linesman call I received another text and email (15/2/12):
"Hi Slingshot here, on 20 Feb 2012 Slingshot will be activating your new broadband services. Check your email for further information. we will text you the day b..."
At this point I still had not received my welcome package in the mail, so confused I called back Slingshot, what I found out was rather interesting. After explaining the situation the new rep informed me that due to the issue in changing the address in the first call, it required that a new request be opened with the lines company. So if you work it out for every minute that my address was adjusted when I first joined meant that my connection request would be delayed by a day (so 5 min = 5 days). In regards to the welcome package I was told it had been sent, but as a act of good faith they would send a second.
Connection day round 2 arrived (20/2/12) and this time I was contracted by the linesman to confirm a time he could drop by to connect us. The entire process was fast, on time, and he had great customer service.
It was after he had left that I struck about a problem while programming my modem, during my first call to Slingshot the customer rep had never asked or confirmed a password for me to connect to the network. Also for the second time my welcome package had not arrived in the mail, so back to the phone I went.
After the waiting period I was finally put through to a third new customer rep, who despite being friendly said that to security reasons he could not tell me the original password ,of which I was never clearly told during my first call. Confused I asked what we could do and I was told I could set a new password to replace it. Finally I inquired about my welcome packages, which I discovered had been sent to the first incorrect address, he then confirmed that a third would be sent in the mail that day and would arrive at the correct address within a day or so.
Logging On and Billing
For the next hour or so after changing my password I was unable to connect to the internet even after receiving this text (20/2/12):
"Slingshot here! Your services are now live. To connect to the internet please re set your modem. Enjoy!"
So after trying and failing to connect I resorted to using my cellphones 3G service to log into my account and the sites help section, only problem is that Slingshots online help section crashes Iphone browsers. To fix this I had to tether my Iphone to allow my laptop to use 3G. Once that was sorted I went to check my account which despite only just connecting had been invoiced over $182 which came over as a tad strange. Checking the charges most of it was fine $91 for the month in advance, but I found I had been charged $49.95 twice for my connection fees (listed under the 'Other" section of the invoice).
Calling back for the forth time and being connected to a new rep, I was told that when my address had been changed during my first joining call it had also added an additional connection fee. This extra fee was voided off and I was transferred through to technical support for my connection issue which I was told was overcapacity so I hung up. Awhile latter I finally connected but this lead to it's own share of issues.
Usage and Network Faults
Since Iv'e started using Slingshot internet there have been many long term problems with my connection despite switching between two different modems. Firstly over the last few weeks the lag and buffering issues with many video applications have been frustrating, but not so much as the second issue of frequently being disconnected entirely from the network once every 10-15 minutes for about 3-4 minutes or in the case of peak times not even connecting again at all for 20 minutes or more (During offpeak I can't connect at all). This means videos crash, pages fail to refresh, and worst of all when I'm having to redo whole job applications because the page has been disconnected from the companies server (ie Seek, Trademe, Telecom etc). Also as a side note the International speeds have slowed to a crawl.
This all also brings to question what the point is in me paying for a 50 gigabyte plan if I can't seem to be connected long enough to use it, which due to my online use of a Xbox360 and PS3 I fully intended to use but can't because of massive lag or disconnection (Mass Effect 3 comes out tomorrow so this is a little annoying for multi-player).
Also although I realise that it is never your intention, there have been 2 massive faults which have made internet services unavailable, all of this in the first month of my connection. It's a bit funny that the reps the travel the Geekzone forums have much helpful and up to date on issues then on the Slingshot customer forums or network update sections (I really mean this, you guys are great).
All of this leads to today in me typing this letter, I have still having issues with the internet my current solution most of the time is to use my 3G cellphone data which has been faster, and more consistent then my wired modem, let alone the fact that I have yet to receive my third welcome package in the mail. This makes me wonder, am I welcome in slingshot? Considering my location shall I walk to your main office to say hello? and finally is it worth staying with your company?
I'm really sad to say after all this my partner and I are deeply considering paying the $199 disconnection fee after only a month, I don't enjoy doing it since everyone deserves a chance but what else can I do if this is what a year of Slingshot service entails.
So I'll close this letter or wall of text by asking a simple set of questions:
"Is this a better place? and am I welcome here?"