Saturday, September 15, 2012

Orcon - why you so useless?

This is actually a rant about software design, but that won't become apparent until later...

I have been an Orcon (an internet/phone provider) customer for the last few years, I forget how many exactly, but somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5. As is par for the course for internet in NZ, the service is slow and expensive, but they have at least been good on the customer service front and they are relatively cheap (compared to other NZ providers). I've recently moved out of my house (not out of choice) and so had to terminate my contract early, there is a charge for this, which is fair enough, I had the option to choose a more expensive non-contract option when I signed up, but chose not to. It slightly irritates me that the shared house I'm now in is with Orcon too, so I'm paying to terminate my contract, but still with them. And it irritates me a lot that I can't pause my contract because I would probably have gone with them again when I move into my new house in a couple of months, not any more, obviously.

Anyway, the charge didn't turn up, and since Orcon emails have a habit of being spam filtered (see the title of the blog post), I thought I would give them a call. It turns out that " a request was made to cancel, but it didn't work". What? It didn't work?! How does a simple cancel request not work, and why does it fail silently? Why didn't you call or email? That is pretty dumb to start with. Of course the phone person didn't know why, but she promised to re-do the request, I suppose I will have to call back to check it works. This is not a good customer service protocol.

Then she asks if I have one of their modems, because if so, I will be charged if I haven't sent it back. So I have a modem, I have no idea if it is theirs, I suspect it is, but I acquired it several years ago and it has no Orcon stickers on it, so who knows? I do remember buying my own wireless router, so at worst I have a cheap wired-modem, probably worth $10 new. It does not seem making a fuss over, given I have been a customer from multiple houses for multiple years. But the really annoying thing is the customer service person has to ask me if it is theirs. Presumably someone at Orcon knows or they wouldn't be able to charge me for it. But the customer-facing people don't.

Here comes the software design bit - presumably this was an explicit constraint - they decided to deliberately separate the knowledge about who has their modems from the customer service record. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! Who sits down and thinks that this is a good idea? What kind of idiot designs a system like this?

And breathe. So, can anyone recommend an internet/telecom provider in NZ?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This might be late, but Snap! are amazing. Are you in auckland or Christchurch?