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Topic # 201327 14-Aug-2016 12:02
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Just treat this as a need to vent. If you like, you can act like an expensive psychotherapist and just say "u-hmm, u-hmm, and how does that make you feel..?". I think that I'm happy simply unloading for now in order to get rid of my frustration. We'll see at the end. If you're able to offer advice then feel free, otherwise take this post as simply me finding an outlet. It's simpler than going postal.

 

I have a Spark personal account which costs c.$800 per month (yep, $800). I'm not complaining about that, we've a large household; 5 data hungry phones, a couple of data-only accounts for iPads, unlimited VDSL broadband and a landline.

 

In the last few weeks, I've been trying to do two things; 1. Order fibre, 2. Take an existing working pre-pay service and add it to my monthly account.

 

1. Fibre: As you can guess, fibre isn't going well. But I don't blame spark for that. Chorus are appearing to be doing their best to prove why monopolies don't have to care at all about a retail business's customers. I'm waiting on Chorus getting consent to climb up the pole to connect the fibre. The very pole that they just climbed up a week before when they cabled up the street. (Seems a bit premature for them to advertise they have completed fibre installation in my street when weeks of consent are required each time someone needs a connection, but nevertheless that's how they roll) It's also somewhat odd that they strung it all between the poles, considering that this week the entire street was scheduled to be dug up so new water mains could be laid. I'm not talking a little bit of roadworks here.. Chorus took over the street for three weeks to run fibre the full length of the poles down the street, and this last couple of weeks, the entire street has been closed as they have dug huge trenches today the pipes. Now, I understand that Spark pretty much have their hands tied here, however having selected a 200/200 unlimited fibre plan, which is their most expensive package and would push my monthly costs to nearer $860 per month, you'd think that they would take up my gauntlet a bit more and keep pushing Chorus for updates and estimates. Not really working that way, but that's not actually my gripe anyway believe it or now, I'm simply digressing through frustration... my real problem is...

 

2. Mobile:  All I wanted to do was take an existing Spark pre-pay service and add it to my account. It hasn't worked and Spark only tend to respond these days if someone has a public tantrum, so i am also resorting to whining about @SparkNZ on twitter to get a response (which does drive a response, but doesn't actually get the flipping problem fixed...). I have called them each day (wait times varied from 15mins to 45 mins), been in the retail store twice, chatted online three times (wait times of 20mins to 30mins), and even got a call back that then actually kept me on hold for a further 10 mins. I just keep being told the order has failed, so I am having to continue to use it as a pre-pay. I credited the account so I could buy a data package and now it just keeps telling me that an order is pending and doesn't progress the order. Doesn't matter what extra I try add. So, previously I had a working pre-pay phone, I then tried to give Spark more of my account based business, and to add another service to what i think is a handsome monthly income for them from a single household, and I am left with a phone not on account as I wanted, with an order problem no one can fix, no estimate on resolution, no working data on it won't let me add a data (or any other) extra despite having over $70 credit on I can't use. I'm currently having a parallel conversation with their web-chat which involve see waiting for 40 minutes for someone to come available. I started as being 3rd in the queue, moved to 5th somehow and now I am 2nd. We'll see what they can do about adding a data package some other way. But this is all them. No Chorus to blame, no other service provider that they need consent from, just them... and it has hardly been simple and the corresponding service is just predictably awful.

 

You know... this hasn't made me feel better at all. I don't know whether any other provider would care any more or any less about my custom, but in writing this out, I have some direction.

 

I shall wait for the whole fibre debacle to play out. Then as soon as I am physically connected, I will simply offer out my monthly combined landline, broadband and cell phone requirements and see which of the other retail providers can at least pretend to make me feel that my custom means something to them (note i said pretend, at times like this, I'd be even happy with the odd empty gesture and lip service, because I am not even being made to feel that the income they get from me is worth anything to them). Yep, that's the way to go... or am i just postponing doing anything until everything is working and then I'll be too lazy to change... oh, wait... that would be annoying... 


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  Reply # 1611369 14-Aug-2016 13:08
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0. Personal account or business account?

1. Fibre is available the moment chorus website says it's available. Not before. Usually that website also gives an estimate to the nearest month it will go live

2. It happens. Takes a smarter than average CSR to fix it.

Pp. You are right, they don't care. $860, 800, or 19 a month is loose change for big corporates. $10 mil, now you're talking. As long as people understand that, they can emotion themselves accordingly.

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  Reply # 1611374 14-Aug-2016 13:39
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That is a pretty depressing story (and a pretty depressing first response). I don't know if this is the rule or the exception, but there do seem to be a lot of these kinds of complaints here, mostly in regard to Spark, Vodafone and Chorus. Maybe there should be a thread dedicated to this kind of thing. Being a small country, New Zealand seems to facilitate, if not actively encourage, monopolistic behaviour. Maybe it is an inevitable result of a small market. Is it also an inevitable result that big companies systematically crap on their customers (if that is in fact what they do) and couldn't care less about providing a reasonable service? Or alternatively, are they really so incompetent that they just keep getting this kind of thing wrong? Are Chorus installers incapable of connecting two wires of the same colour together? Is one department really unable to communicate with another in the same company? Is this a New Zealand disease?

 

So why does this kind of thing seem to keep happening here? Or is it, in fact, the exception and do the big companies weep in shame on the extremely rare occasions that it does happen? I would be genuinely interested to know.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1611376 14-Aug-2016 13:46
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Well I guess if the post is to the tune of a rant, then the responses would highly likely be different from a post requesting assistance or asking questions? Perhaps?

Edit: to be fair, these things happen whether you're with spark, 2d, voda, skytv, etc

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  Reply # 1611390 14-Aug-2016 15:00
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I've been waiting 8 weeks for a pole approval for UFF to install UFB


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  Reply # 1611393 14-Aug-2016 15:11
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Rikkitic:

 

 Being a small country, New Zealand seems to facilitate, if not actively encourage, monopolistic behaviour. Maybe it is an inevitable result of a small market. 

 

 

 

 

You just need to look at the building industry, NZs media etc. Very little competition these days, and many are now owned by large overseas companies, who end up buying competitors consolidating the market. A consolidated market isn't good for consumers in terms of pricing. As a result we end up paying more than they do in many overseas countries, which as a result makes NZ poorer as more money goes offshore to investors. 


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  Reply # 1611394 14-Aug-2016 15:23
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atomeara:

 

I've been waiting 8 weeks for a pole approval for UFF to install UFB

 

 

 

 

 

 

??? OT but really

 

 

 

UFF is owned by WEL ....  that is almost as bad as talking to yourself; need I say more





 The views expressed by me are not necessarily those of my employer


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  Reply # 1611396 14-Aug-2016 15:41
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Hi there. Jason Paris from Spark. I head up the business unit that you are having trouble with. You are right - fibre is a nightmare for many customers at the moment as the industry struggles with this new process. It maybe Chorus letting you down but you are our customer so it is up to us to sort it. No one is working harder than us to sort this for our customers.

Your mobile issue is disappointing and certainly not the level of service that we set for ourselves - sorry that we have dropped the ball on this for you. Can you email me your account details and I will get all of this back on track for you: jason.paris@spark.co.nz.

Again apologies - I can assure you that we really value every customer who chooses to be with Spark - even though it doesn't feel like that sometimes!

JP




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  Reply # 1611404 14-Aug-2016 16:01
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Where in NZ are you based? If consent is required it's obviously not a Chorus pole so consent takes weeks.

 

Here in Wellington the vast majority of Chorus UFB infrastructure is only on Chorus poles, not Wellington Electricity poles. Obviously if a lead-in requires use of a WE pole then they require consent from WE to use it. Chorus also have pretty minimal overhead work as the network is all underground with the only overhead equipment being pillars on the Chorus poles. The vast majority of their UFB deployment is all underground, unlike Taranaki and Northland where it's 100% overhead.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1611407 14-Aug-2016 16:18
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JasonParis: You are right - fibre is a nightmare for many customers at the moment as the industry struggles with this new process.

 

Hi Jason,

 

Good on you for fronting up and accepting ownership of the issues.

 

I'm interested in your comment about the "struggles" with UFB.  I've had UFB connected in my house for 30 months or so now, and a quick Google search showed that UFB connections starting coming online in September 2011 - that's almost 5 years ago.  So, the question is "At what point does UFB stop being a 'new process' ?"

 

My question isn't supposed to sound snarky, but I'm aware that without some explanation it probably would come across as such.  What I'm really trying to ask is what does the industry feel is a good lead-time for new technology and/or processes, and how long should we, as customers, expect the "big players" in the market to have these processes running in a smooth and seamless fashion.  My personal expectation would be in the period of a few months (to clarify: from product launch, NOT the development time), and not several years.

 

I don't recall other large areas of new technology in recent years (examples being "3G" & then "4G" for cellphones, Digital TV, Telecom's own "XT network" rollout, even "VDSL" broadband) being nearly as problematic, painful, and slow. 

 

What has made UFB so unique and hence painful for the end user?

 

 


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  Reply # 1611408 14-Aug-2016 16:20
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JasonParis: Hi there. Jason Paris from Spark. I head up the business unit that you are having trouble with. You are right - fibre is a nightmare for many customers at the moment as the industry struggles with this new process. It maybe Chorus letting you down but you are our customer so it is up to us to sort it. No one is working harder than us to sort this for our customers.

Your mobile issue is disappointing and certainly not the level of service that we set for ourselves - sorry that we have dropped the ball on this for you. Can you email me your account details and I will get all of this back on track for you: jason.paris@spark.co.nz.

Again apologies - I can assure you that we really value every customer who chooses to be with Spark - even though it doesn't feel like that sometimes!

JP

 

 

 

Nice to see someone grab these types of things and try and help. Thank you!

 

 

 

To be fair I've seen industry feedback that Chorus are exceptionally understaffed right now, and this is creating pressure everywhere. I heard that recently they had fault response times > 1 week when SLA is 3 days, and there isn't anything they can immediately do to fix it. 

 

It's crazy frustrating, but it happens. 


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  Reply # 1611413 14-Aug-2016 16:35
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WOW $800 mth, for residential you must be reasonably highly valued.

 

Do they do those family mobile packs, where you pay for 10GB and can share between 5 or 6 phones in the household & all the phones get unlimited NZ calls/texts? 

 

Use wifi at home to reduce data? Make sure you got good Access Points set up. 
Also set up voip for your landline when you get fibre.

 

I had some problems with spark about 2-3 years ago, they miffed up my billing something chronic. The service itself was good. Mobile coverage is good, internet speeds we consistant, but yeh just some pi55 poor communication, even between them and chorus. I was gonna have a rant a few years back, but I held tight and it was sorted. I am no longer a spark customer for everything except 1 mobile my wife uses, mainly because I work at another ISP.

 

 






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  Reply # 1611416 14-Aug-2016 16:41
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jamesrt:

 

I don't recall other large areas of new technology in recent years (examples being "3G" & then "4G" for cellphones, Digital TV, Telecom's own "XT network" rollout, even "VDSL" broadband) being nearly as problematic, painful, and slow. 

 

What has made UFB so unique and hence painful for the end user?

 

 

None of the examples you give require any digging. They all just need new things on the server end and a new customer premises equipment, which in most cases is customer installable.

 

They don't require streets being dug up, people's garden being disturbed, and a new customer premises equipment which can't be installed by the customer. You also don't need to deal with the council, body corps, people who share your driveway, the fire department, the power company, etc etc.

 

 


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  Reply # 1611456 14-Aug-2016 17:07
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DarkShadow: None of the examples you give require any digging. They all just need new things on the server end and a new customer premises equipment, which in most cases is customer installable.

 

They don't require streets being dug up, people's garden being disturbed, and a new customer premises equipment which can't be installed by the customer. You also don't need to deal with the council, body corps, people who share your driveway, the fire department, the power company, etc etc.

 

OK, Fair point.

 

I'm surprised, however, that these processes seem to be taking several YEARS to "bed down"; and I'm surprised that after a couple of years of offering product to the end user, the perception from a major player in the industry is still that they are "new" processes.

 

 


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  Reply # 1611553 14-Aug-2016 20:43
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Sounds frustrating dmartora. Hopefully Jason Paris can help you.

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  Reply # 1611701 15-Aug-2016 09:22
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Really good to see these problems being picked up from GZ posts.  Well done company reps.

 

Just one reason I am more than happy to be a GZ subscriber. I have been helped directly from here as well.

 

There, back pats all roundsmile


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