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Topic # 23235 23-Jun-2008 09:23
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I'm sending this message via my Vodafone mobile broadband, which is the only Internet access I have right now.

Last week, as mentioned previously in this Forum, I switched from a short period with Vodafone to Snap internet, whose service has been excellent. By Friday, it was clear that both my broadband and my phone service was under the control of Snap.

My anniversary date with Vodafone is the 22nd, so last Friday the 20th, I called Vodafone to ask if they had received notification that I had changed providers, since I did not want to begin another billing cycle. The person I spoke with at Vodafone told me that they hadn't received any such notification. I told them that my phone and broadband were now with another provider, so I wanted my Vodafone account closed.

Yesterday, the 22nd, my Vodafone/Ihug billing anniversary, I lost phone service. Calls to our number gave a number unobtainable signal. An hour or so later, I also lost broadband.

Sadly, Snap Internet is not open on a Sunday, and while there is voicemail, there is no way to contact anyone on an urgent matter. Knowing it was a long shot but wanting to try to do something, I called 120. I explained the predicament, making it clear that I am not a Telecom customer but asking if they could advise how I get to the people doing provisioning of the requests. I felt that surely, if I could talk to a sensible person doing the provisioning, a look at the records would show that Snap had connected me and that in fact Vodafone had no authority to disconnect my service, since they were no longer my provider.

I was put on hold, and eventually was speaking with someone at Telecom. It wasn't until we'd been talking for a while that I realised I appeared to have been put through to 123. The Telecom operator was extremely helpful, offering to speak to her team leader and call back, saying she suspected there wasn't a lot they could do.

She called back as promised, which was most impressive, saying that there was indeed nothing that they could do for me while I was a Snap Internet customer, but should I wish to switch to Telecom, they could have me backup and running within two to four hours. I thanked her and said that I didn't find their broadband offerings attractive.

I chose not to call Vodafone, given that I presumed they had no authority to reconnect my Snap Internet, even though it seems they have the ability to disconnect it.

I resigned myself to a phone and ADSL-free Sunday.

I was in touch with Snap first thing this morning, and as always they have been helpful. They put through a new connection request which apparently is the only way to get me back online.

I was staggered to hear that there appear to be no checks when an ISP puts through a disconnection request to Telecom, to determine whether an ISP actually has the authority to get someone disconnected. This sounds like the wild west, and certainly leaves open the possibility that an ISP can disconnect someone as a penalty for changing providers.

Now here's the kicker. Snap has been told that my Internet and phone won't be restored until tomorrow! Apparently Snap say they even had to lobby for this date, which was a concession on the original reconnection time Telecom gave.

My concern is that the 123 service arm of Telecom told me, on a Sunday afternoon no less, that I could have my connection back within two to four hours if I only gave them my business. Here I am seeking the reversal of an unwarranted, illegitimate disconnection from my provider, and they are making me wait at least 24 hours. This is exactly the sort of favouritism operational separation was supposed to avoid.

This is no joke. I have a major software release to manage with my colleagues in the US, a task for which Vodafone mobile broadband is not suitable. I also have Skype conference calls for work scheduled.

I'm certainly going to investigate compensation, and the disputes resolution process. Vodafone had no right to put through a disconnection order, and Telecom had no right to disconnect me without checking the legitimacy of such an order.

Since consumers can't get to the provisioning people, I asked Snap to tell them that I intend making lots of noise about a system that allows one provider to kill the services of another, and over the discrepancy between what they will do for Telecom customers and what they will do for Snap customers in exactly the same situation.

Now it's interesting, because since I started typing this message, I now have the phone, but not Internet, back. So I presume that message was passed on. I am hoping Internet isn't far behind, but if anyone knows who I can contact over all this, I'd appreciate any guidance.




Jonathan Mosen

 

Mosen Consulting, for advice on web and app accessibility

 

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Reply # 139920 23-Jun-2008 12:45
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Internet is back now. I am so grateful to have an ISP that will go into bat for you in situations like this.

Am contacting Tuanz and the Commerce Commission about the issues this raises though.




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  Reply # 139929 23-Jun-2008 13:06
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Just a couple of things Jonathan,

Firstly there a couple of things here and there is probably a bit more to this, if your had the phone line with SNAP a request from Vodafone to cancel a service would get rejected as it would come back as not a Vodafone customer, this works the same if try to move from ISP to Another, If for example we thought the Customer was a Telecom Customer when infact they were a Vodafone custy and put this request through to move them we would get rejected as an unknown customer.

You can not cancel other companies customers, I would possibly suggest that the Broadband was in fact moved but the actual phone line was not, I would go back to SNAP and get the confirmation details from them that both your DSL and Phone was moved before you cancelled services with Vodafone because I think looking at this and knowing the processes that the phone line may not have been. 

So I think you may want to do a bit more checking first before going off to TUANZ and the ComCom as there will be more to this, getting confirmation from SNAP that everything was moved and the dates that it occured should be your first step, if they do show everything was moved then you will have actual evidence. 




Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink

             

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Reply # 139930 23-Jun-2008 13:08
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Thanks, did this already. Broadband was moved on Tuesday, phone on Thursday.




Jonathan Mosen

 

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  Reply # 139939 23-Jun-2008 14:10
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Hi Jonathan,

Good to see your internet is back up and running. I can assure you there are checks in place which stop one provider from disconnection another providers services. Due to the way we have to do this however there is a slight breakdown. First we need to do Broadband, and then Tolls and and then move the phone over. The way TNZ Wholesale works is we can only have a single service order open at once so we must wait for each request to enter a state of completed before proceeding to the next. Unfortunately Vodafone beat our EVR (Voice Reassignment) with their relinquish request and they were quite entitled to do (since the phone line was still theirs at that moment).

You spoke with Simon this morning who submitted to the voice & broadband connection, as the lines were intact the voice was connected within 20mins and the broadband scheduled for thursday this week. Simon then escalated this with me as he thought 4 days was a little rough considering the situation. I got on the horn and here we are now.

Sorry for the loss of service that you experienced during your transition to us. We are looking into improving our procedures so we can avoid this in the future.

Some good news for you however, this month I have taken on 2 new staff (new, not replacing people who have left etc) and another one next week. Extended Saturday & Sunday support is coming :)

Ralph.




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  Reply # 139948 23-Jun-2008 14:54
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Yes this is what I thought would have happened Jonathan your phone was still with Vodafone, there are checks in place to stop this and I as said you can not disconnect another Companies customer so this type of situation would be very unlikely, 

So it came down to you cancelling the phone line whilst is was still with Vodafone you were just a bit too eager....So lucky you didn't head off to the ComCom or TUANZ because whilst I understand the frustation not having all the facts and and posting about it leads to misinformation.
I take it you will now make a "lot of Noise" and address the compensation issue with SNAP and not Vodafone Wink.




Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink

             

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Reply # 139953 23-Jun-2008 15:05
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Hi Ralph, thanks for the clarification. It is interesting because when tolls and smart phone services are activated, I guess the consumer feels like all of the services are up and running.

There are two issues of concern to me, the first relating to Telecom's claim to be able to get things up and running so quickly, and the second relating to Vodafone choosing to disconnect the line when I made it clear I was changing provider, and was only notifying them to avoid unnecessary billing. Their action seems overzealous to me. Their systems surely should be able to take into account a closure of the account once all activities have been transferred over.

For me, what has been very satisfactory is the way you guys at Snap went into bat on my behalf, doing some advocacy to get my Internet back so rapidly. It's going that extra mile that fosters loyalty. Simon was brilliant.

Nice to know if anything like this happens again, God forbid, I'll be able to reach you guys on a Sunday.

Thanks again.




Jonathan Mosen

 

Mosen Consulting, for advice on web and app accessibility

 

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Reply # 139956 23-Jun-2008 15:13
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maverick: Yes this is what I thought would have happened Jonathan your phone was still with Vodafone, there are checks in place to stop this and I as said you can not disconnect another Companies customer so this type of situation would be very unlikely, 

So it came down to you cancelling the phone line whilst is was still with Vodafone you were just a bit too eager....So lucky you didn't head off to the ComCom or TUANZ because whilst I understand the frustation not having all the facts and and posting about it leads to misinformation.
I take it you will now make a "lot of Noise" and address the compensation issue with SNAP and not Vodafone Wink.


Phil, I think you miss the point, which is that as far as the consumer is concerned, me in this case, the transfers had taken place. If you are able to track your toll calls, smart phone services etc from your new provider, it's a reasonable supposition to make that you are  now with that provider. Given that I phoned on the last business day before my new billing cycle, I don't consider this too eager.

But additionally, I think if you notify a carrier that you are changing providers, systems should exist to ensure that service is not interrupted, while minimising overbilling.

It is this issue, plus the other I raised, that is already in the hands of the Commerce Commission and I make no apologies for that.

I am surprised at the stance you are taking, given that you are a relatively small but growing player in this market. This process of changing providers needs to be made as bullet proof as possible, lest consumers conclude it's just too much bother.




Jonathan Mosen

 

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  Reply # 139998 23-Jun-2008 18:42
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Was just trying to point out Jonathan, that they did nothing wrong so will have no case to answer as it was in fact you yourself that cancelled the phone line, you advised your supplier of the phone line to do so and they followed your instructions.

Would we like a smoother process...absolultley, but we are limited by a very cumbersome process and backend systems, most of these are to do with the provisioning process through Telecom Wholesale, all Carriers are aware of them and the process needed for moving lines, Number Porting etc, we know the limitations and have to work around them at present and we know we have to tell the customers what needs to happen or not happen (don't cancel your billing untill everything is moved), we would love for it to be a better process but this is no small system that Telecom use and the cost of this is huge, simply saying it should be better dosn't relate to actuals I'm afraid, if we waited for it to be seemless we would not have Number Porting, Naked DSL for another few years yet.

Changing providers is difficult to manage, we ourselves have issue's with this as do most of the SP's (service providers), so yes we would like for it to be better but it's due to the before mentioned platforms, and as your ISP has pointed out in this thread the phone line was not moved as it was still a work in progess they should have told you this, my main point here is that really the issue came about because you were not informed of the process or were not aware of it through your ISP, you made the call yourself to cancel the service and it was always easy to point the finger at SP's when we do things wrong but this time no one did anything wrong, yet the comments still look to put the blame purely at the SP's feet and you don't seem to accept any responsibility, yet you were the one that cancelled the line which forced a closure of the phone line.

If you had been properly informed of the process you would have been told not to cancel any service untill it was all moved, so while I sympathise with your issue , I believe your ISP should have informed of the process as this is where the breakdown was, I also don't beleave this is a issue for the ComCom and you must take some responsibilty as even though the processes are not as simple as we like it was you and not anyone else who cancelled the phone line. The ComCom will see it the same way I believe, your choice to pass it along off course as is your right, but I will lay odds that if they do look at the issuethey will see nothing wrong with the process, All they will see is a Customer who cancelled a phone line before his new ISP had had it moved.

Please dont take this as being rude or accusing Jonathan it's not to be, I am just trying to highlight that SP's get blamed for a lot of things but sometimes it's just a honest mistake on a customers part and I think this is what has happened here. 




Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink

             

https://www.facebook.com/wxccommunications



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Reply # 140011 23-Jun-2008 19:21
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Hi Phil, no I certainly don't perceive your comments to be in any way rude.

What I actually did was cancel the Vodafone account, telling them as I did so that I was cancelling it on the basis that I had transferred services to another provider. I did not ask them to disconnect the phone line. That may seem like semantics to you,but it is not to me as the customer. I did not ask for my service to be disconnected, I asked for my account with that particular service to be closed, and made it clear that I was getting service elsewhere. I appreciate that as an outgoing customer, they probably didn't feel like they owed me anything, but to me the distinction is an important one.

Obviously in retrospect I wish I hadn't made that call. I did so after asking my ISP on Friday if Vodafone would be notified that I had left, or whether I should make a call to let them know. I was advised to call just to be on the safe side. Snap have apologised for that and that's fine.

But we are looking at this issue from two very different perspectives. You're looking at it from the perspective of the Operations manager of a very successful ISP who probably cops some flack when it's not deserved, seeing a customer who didn't follow ideal process. Fair enough. But I'm looking at this issue from someone who sought to minimise the cost of a very brief and unsatisfactory flirtation with an underperforming ISP, suffering at the hands of a very fiddly process.

Now systems are often suboptimal. We on Geekzone are going to realise that more so than most people I suspect. But your average consumer is not going to accept that having transferred your broadband, transferred your tolls, and transferred your Smartphone services over to your new provider, your old provider still has the ability to turn absolutely everything off because they have control of the phone line.

By terminating the one thing they still had control of, they of course were able to terminate everything else that they didn't have control of.

And there is another aspect to this that warrants consideration by the Commerce Commission in my view. For some people, the telephone is an essential service. Medical alarms may be connected to a phone line. I have a family member myself with a serious medical condition, who wears a pendant that makes a phone call when the button is pressed. If systems aren't in place to make damn sure that a phone line isn't disconnected when that was not the intent, then this industry has another Folole Muliaga case waiting to happen. The retention of phone service must be paramount.

The discrepancy between when Telecom's retail arm could get me back up and running and when telecom's wholesale arm said they could get me back up and running via my ISP of choice is also of interest to me.




Jonathan Mosen

 

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  Reply # 140038 23-Jun-2008 20:44
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I work in the electricity industry and switching ISP's is very similar to switching electricity retailers.

If our customer decides to switch to another retailer, then they do not have to advise us that they are taking their business to another retailer.

The switch retailer gets in touch with us within 24 hours to advise that they will be switching supply as of a certain date. This is to ensure that both retailers are aware of the switch. We will then organise to send the customer a final invoice. All electricity sites are recorded in the National registry. The National Registry will show a certain address as "switch in progress, power company a to power company b". Once the switch is completed, the National Registry is updated also. When both retailers are advised, this guarantee's there will be no disconnection during the transtion.

Now i believe Mr Mosen asked Snap if he needed to advise Vodafone of the switch. He was advised it would be best to to be on the safe side. I dont see anything wrong with this at all.

When Vodafone was called to advise of a switch of retailer then they should have just noted the change and not organised to close the account, even if there was no indication at that time of Snap requesting to take over the supply. Can perhaps review the account again in say 2 or 3 days to see if the request has come through before any further action. I believe the Vodafone CSR should have held off any action until confirmation had come through.

Glad its all worked out in the end though.

Im now a broadband and phone customer with Snap and happy with their service also.




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  Reply # 140619 26-Jun-2008 01:02
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just on the side here from how i see it

a line is a line, and it must be associated with a retailer
If an order has been put through to vodafone to cancel the account, but keep the line active, who does telecom bill if snaps order hasnt been put onto the line yet?
There is no one. Vodafone has closed the account and removed their ownership of the line, and the churning department at telecom hasnt applied snap's, it must become a dead line.

I would imagine the churning department would go through the same process when snap's order arrives- telecom would disconnect the line - even for a few seconds, while it is reconnected to snap.

Now the important issue which i am interested to know is why telecom retail could get you connected faster than snap?
The only real reason i could imagine is that sundays are not very busy and they could have put the order through, yet monday has the telecom wholesale deparment alot busier and they couldnt process the order as fast because of an order queue

on the other hand i wouldnt be surprised if telecom retail can make changes to the exchange itself where as other providers have to send a fax with an order form to the office at the exchange or something like that.




Ray Taylor
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