Five weeks ago, I put in my application to have my iiNet broadband account transferred to a new address.
Yesterday, it was finally connected. It’s been an amazing process, and given that iiNet’s stellar reputation is built on the quality of service (‘we’re number 2,’ the TV ads have been mocking me for the past month). I feel it’s a sorry reflection on the state of Internet service in Australia.
First, it took three weeks to even get the ball rolling. After being assured that the application had been processed by the iiNet support staff, I had no further communication. Numerous calls to the support staff after that didn’t yield a great deal – ‘we’re waiting for Telstra to disconnect the previous line,’ they told me. ‘Let me put you through to provisioning.’
Not that provisioning ever picked up the phone. Not once in the entire 5-week process, whether I rang direct or had support attempt to transfer me, did provisioning pick up the phone.
The next step was to leave an irate message on Twitter, bearing a well-placed @ to catch the right people’s attention. It seems I wasn’t the only one to have this problem with relocating, judging from my feed, but soon enough iiNet responded, suggesting I send the rep an email and he'd look into it for me.
I did that, but again, no communication back. Now thoroughly annoyed, I headed over to the Whirlpool forums, where I know official iiNet representatives are available, and threatened to file a complaint with the Ombudsman.
From iiNet’s responses there, I got a senior contact within iiNet provisioning. Sending him an email got me my first call from the provisioning person who would look after my account. At that point I was shocked to find that the application to have Telstra disconnect the previous phone line had not actually been filed yet. I would still need to wait for that to happen, then the new phone line to be connected, and then the broadband connected on top of that.
But at least over the next two weeks I would have regular communication from iiNet provisioning. The next problem arrived a week later when billing sent me through my monthly account, assuring me my bank would soon be debited my monthly fee.
That was a problem because I had been assured by provisioning that I would be credited for the time I went without broadband. On ringing billing, I discover the communication between billing and provisioning hadn’t been that great, so that issue had to be resolved.
Finally, the broadband was connected, five weeks after the initial phone call.
In all fairness to iiNet staff, when I managed to get through to them they were helpful, and able to push through the application without any additional problems, but it amazes me that an ISP with such a reputation for customer service can have systems that mean the various departments are unable to effectively communicate with one another… or indeed systems that allow relocation applications to sit untouched for three weeks.
I was probably unlucky. For every story of mine, there’s probably 100 who had no trouble getting relocated in a timely and hassle-free manner. But if people had to wait five weeks to have their electricity account relocated, there would be rioting in the streets. It’s just as well that the broadband connection in my situation was not a critical one.