My One Week Battle Against Smart (Communications)

My internet connection has been restored yesterday but getting back my internet connection wasn't an easy battle. It took one week, a great deal of stress, hassle and frustration, a couple of calls and wireless center visit and a LOT of tweets in the hopes that they prioritize my case. I know there are many other subscribers having issues with the company but I kept on bugging them for some reasons, 1) I have a blog to maintain 2) I want to get what I am paying for 3) The thought of unresolved issue is making me stressful and 4) I want them to realize that they should start improving the services they provide before they accept more subscribers.

I love the company... or perhaps I used to. I never had problems as worse as this before. I may have encountered some glitches in the past four years but all those are tolerable. This recent one is simply too much for me to bear. Anyway, who wouldn't feel pissed off if something essential is being taken away? Much more if you sometimes depend on it for food, clothing, bills and other necessities to live?

Here's my "diary" on what transpired during my pursuit to get back my internet connection:

I switched on my computer but have no internet access. I waited for a few minutes but still the same. I turned off my computer, removed the cable off the CPU and unplugged the antenna power supply. I switched on and attached the cable again after a few minutes but no internet connection still. Since something like this happened before, I didn't really bother to call the customer service because I expected that things will be back to normal the next day.

As soon as I woke up, I checked my internet connection again. Nothing still...

I contacted the company's twitter @smartcares to complain. I was asked for my account number and was told that there is no reported service interruption in my area. I was also instructed how to troubleshoot, which I already did last night (unplug, restart and replug) but still can't access the internet. They also did remote checking but they can't find where the issue is coming from.

When I arrived home, I checked my internet again but my connection isn't back still. I tried calling their customer service (*1888) but the lines were all busy.

When I woke up, I check if internet has been restored but only made me frustrated. Before I leave home at around 11:00 am, I checked again but nothing.

I went to Smart Wireless Center in SM City Iloilo to complain about the issue. After waiting for like half an hour, someone in charge at the desk asked my problem and got my contact number. That's it! I was told that she already made a report and someone will contact me within 24 to 48 hours. Seriously? I get it that it's their protocol but I think it would have saved both parties time and effort if they try to sort out issues right then and there.

When I arrived home that night, I vowed not to stop trying until I can talk to their customer service representative. When finally I was able to contact their CSR, the same process ensued. I was asked for my name, Smartbro account number and my problem. I was told that there is no service interruption in my area thus I was again instructed to troubleshoot the same way I did many times already. In my opinion, if the problem is left unresolved for three days already and they find no service interruption in my area, they should have realized the problem might be in my antenna, cables or other physical settings. They should have scheduled for tech visit immediately. But they only advised me to observe for another 24 hours.

No internet connection the whole day. I called the customer service again after 24 hours but got the same answer, "no reported interruption in my area". The CSR probably consulted her superior or whoever is there and then she told me that the source where my antenna is getting signal actually has problem. My God! Why give me varying answers? Is it to shut me up? I inquired as to when they are going to fix the problem and she told me that they cannot tell and I have to wait for another 24 hours again. I want to cry due to annoyance!


I keep on tweeting and tweeting and tweeting @smartcares hoping that they'll get fed up with my persistence and send their technical team at home.

After work, I dropped by at Smart Wireless Center in SM Delgado since it is the most convenient and nearest my office. I asked for updates and the lady at the desk told me that there is already a report regarding my problem and it is still open for investigation. I also asked if she has any idea as to when it will be fixed since I am paying for the unlimited use but I am not getting what I am paying for. To my horror, she acted bitchy and told me that a reversal will be issued to my account. I wanted to bombard her with all these frustrations bottled up since the last few days but I tried hard not to because doing so will only make me look unprofessional. I annoyingly told her that I am just asking questions with the tone of "there-is-no-need-for-you-to-act-like-that". I went out of the center teary-eyed because of hatred!

Throughout the day, I tweeted and sent a lot of DM. It was midday when I was asked my preferred time for technical visit. Since I wanted everything to be back to normal ASAP, I answered "today" if possible, if not, tomorrow. I didn't get a reply from then on.

Tweeting spree once again. They sent me a DM asking me, again, for my preferred time for technical visit. They are making it appear like I didn't reply to them yesterday. I wanted to get this over with so I said "today at 3pm". However, the there is no available team this day and the earliest availability is tomorrow. I agreed!

I patiently waited. I even prepared back up plans if nobody turned up to check my problem. At around 3pm, I got a call from them telling me that they are on their way. I was working that time so I asked my cousin to oversee the check up. After thorough check up (despite of the rain), they discovered the culprit - worn out cables! According to them (relayed by my mother), their cables only last for around four years. Bingo! I have been a subscriber since middle of 2008 and it's exactly four years now. How did they miss that? They should have realized that during the investigation. While I'm glad that my connection is back after they replaced the cable, I feel sad because I have to pay for the new cable. The replacement should have been free if they can take the old cable but unfortunately, during the installation of ceiling outside, the old cable was locked there. One meter costs Php 51 thus I paid Php 1020 for 20-meter replacement cable.

After a week-long stress and hassle in addition to back logs this caused me, my life is finally back to normal. But I still await for updates regarding my rebate. I hope I won't be paying for something I didn't make use of. Other than that, I'm thankful that things turned out fine and really wish that this will never happen again, to me or to anyone who needs to stay connected especially those whose work is based online.

Of course, I won't end this rant without calling out to this company giant. To Smart Communications, it's about time you improve the services you provide and you can start by having your employees undergo training on proper manners and how to deal with customers especially irate ones and those with less technical knowledge. Acting bitchy when the customer approaches nicely is uncalled for. And I know it's business but please, don't be greedy. Before you accept new subscribers, see to it that you won't compromise the quality of service you provide. Consumers need to get what they are paying for with their hard-earned money. It's not about having billion subscribers... it's about making even just millions of people happy and satisfied.

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