Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Vodafone Story, Continued.

Earlier this week while no one was home, someone came and disconnected our DSL.  Suddenly we had no internet at all.

Of course, it was our friends at Vodafone.  Yes, we always paid on time; in fact we have seen on their screens that our credit is at the absolute highest level.  And yes, we still had a contract, until October 2013 in fact!  (We'd thought it was only until October 2012!)

The problem is that when they ended one of our contracts, they chose the wrong one to end.  The two DSL contracts were through two branches of Vodafone, "DSL" and "Mobilfunk", neither of which seems to actually realize the other exists.  When they canceled one of our accounts to end our four-year streak of paying twice for one service, they canceled the "DSL" one.  So, when the account ended, they sent someone to disconnect us, even though we still had the "Mobilfunk" one.  (Sorry for all the irritating quotation marks, but I want to be clear about when I am talking about "DSL" the Vodafone branch vs. DSL the service we are paying for. Despite the misleading names we were indeed paying for DSL service through a company named "Mobilfunk".)

After lots of arguing over the phone about the situation, we were advised by a Vodafone "Mobilfunk" tech that they could not reconnect our DSL, because only the "DSL" branch can authorize this action, and "DSL" refused (via phone) to do this because our contract is not with them.  So, really, when they canceled one of our accounts it should have been the "Mobilfunk" one, not the "DSL" one, but of course no one over there has any idea about anything, really, so ...this happened.  The tech further advised us that the only reasonable way to resolve the situation was to completely cancel our remaining DSL account (the "Mobilfunk" one) and just start over.  So, it was canceled too.

And we are not starting over with Vodafone again.  But, that's another problem.

Since we already have O2 for our cell phone contracts, we decided to use them for DSL too.  So, we went in to get all set up with them, and it turns out that it takes


to connect the line and actually have DSL at our apartment.  How Germans are able to accept this level of customer service, which is shitty beyond the capacity of the English language to describe (and we can be pretty colorful, I'd say), so, so, UNBELIEVABLY absurd, I do not understand.  At all.  Why, Germany.  Why do you just take the dry rusty pole in a very uncomfortable place.   WHY.

So, we had to pay an extra gazillion Euro to buy a surf stick so we can actually access email, plan trips, monitor our bank account, and all the other functions that make internet access non-optional in the modern world.  And, surf stick access is a lot slower than DSL, and it's limited, so ...ugh.  Just ugh.

In the rest of Vodafone news, we have submitted yet another request to have our money refunded and are awaiting the official results, at which point we will take them to the VZ to see if they can help us out (assuming it will be rejected).

Honestly, Germany is a very freaking awesome place to live, but sometimes you wouldn't know it...


  1. What a confusing, frustrating mess.

    Good luck with the Verbraucherzentrale. When I was getting the BS two-step from Deutsche Telekom about how they kept claiming I couldn't receive the service I'd ordered, I went to the VZ.
    They said yeah, you can pursue them, but it's not worth it. They hold all the cards.

  2. My gosh it's like you're writing my diary.

    The customer service is not much better here in the NL. It took them a month to hook up our internet and when we asked them why, their response was basically "because that's how long it takes". But that was KPN. Our mobile phones are through Vodafone, though, so I know what special kind of Hell it is trying to deal with them.

    When it comes to customer service, the point goes to the U.S. I'm afraid.

  3. Ouch, I'm sorry you're having to go through this. We had to wait 4 weeks to get internet when we moved to Munich, and the technician said we were lucky - usually it's much longer. It's disgusting how bad these services treat their customers here. And the icing on the cake: whenever something goes wrong, you have to pay to call them to tell them about it. How is that OK?

  4. I must say - they still have a lot to learn in terms of customer service in Germany.

  5. I have come to the realization that Germany is a great place as long as you are never on the "customer" end of a "customer service" transaction. Then things get ugly.

    Our internet set-up fun included: Cable internet company telling us they service our address when they don't; DSL tech coming out only to find our building's electrical closet is locked; our Hausmeister not showing up to his appointment with the tech to let him into the electrical closet; and finally our preferred phone jack not in working condition. I think the whole process probably took two months, beginning to end.

    Germany can be good times.

  6. Thanks for making me miss Germany just a little less today.

    I will do a little dance for you guys when this whole cluster is over. In the meantime, I will continue to grumble about German customer service or lack thereof.

  7. I can relate to parts of this quite well- when I moved into my apartment, it took more than a month to get my Internet set up. It took several weeks for them to even call me back to talk about the possibility of setting up an installation.

    Then the installer showed up outside of the time frame they said would be used, and I had to run home from work to make it happen.

    Similarly, I got one of those godawful surf sticks to get me by until I had proper Internet at home- it was somewhat miserable to have no decent connectivity in that time.


I love commenters!