Day 179 Ecuador- Managing customer service

Friday, Jul 8, 2016

It has been a productive day. Pam and Eddy went with me and Heidi to ETAPA to cancel our TV service. Pam acted as translator and I’m very happy she was available.

Customer service is different from what I experience in the US, or is it? First, I had already been to ETAPA last week to cancel my TV service and I was told that I could not do that unless I had the remote, box, and cables in hand. Today I came prepared with these things.

As I walked in the door I approached the same service desk that funnels people to TV, Internet, or Billing areas. I told the woman I was canceling my TV service and she handed me a slip of paper with several items on it that need to be completed before I could. I was not given this piece of paper last week.

I was required to have a copy of my cedula to give them. They have copy machines here, but require customers to bring their own copy with them to hand in with the hardware and other paperwork. They do not make copies for you. I was told there was a tienda down the street that could do it for me.

I also am supposed to have the copy of my contract. I don’t have this because the rep who came to my house and signed me up kept all the copies. Pam explained this to the person and what could they do. I got a pass on this item.

The final criteria is that I must have my bill paid in full before they will cancel the service. I get why they want this, but this kind of logic often baffles me. If someone was canceling because they couldn’t afford to pay their bill, would they refuse to cancel service and continue to bill charges to the customer? Also, at what point would ETAPA disconnect the service because they weren’t being paid? Things that make me go “huh?”.

ETAPA doesn’t send bills for the TV service. I guess you have to just show up at their office with your account number and pay what’s due. This was my first go around so I hadn’t paid anything yet. I also didn’t know what my account number was. They were able to look it up and I was able to pay, then I was able to stand in line for the disconnect.

At the desk of the person who could cancel my account, I was asked why I was canceling. Pam answered that the quality of my TV reception was poor. He then said why don’t you call a technician to go out and fix it. Pam said that I had tried and was told to call back in the evening when there was someone available who spoke English, and I did that but no English speaker was there to help me.

The ETAPA employee then said well we can have someone go out now and look at it to fix it. Pam told him that it had been three weeks with bad reception, multiple phone calls top ETAPA with no results, and that I already signed up with another service. The ETAPA guy didn’t look happy but he began processing my disconnection of service.

I think it is interesting I received what I consider so much push back on canceling, yet from the rep who signed me up to the telephone service reps I spoke with on the phone, no one was interested in helping me get my TV fixed. Did I mention that ETAPA is a government owned service provider here in Ecuador? Seems to me some things are universal.

At any rate, I was able to get this service cancelled. As soon as my new internet service is installed I will go back and repeat this process with ETAPA to cancel my internet with them. I can’t stress enough to do your due diligence on the best TV and internet service available where you are living. If I had, it would have saved me this headache.

Here is a tip. If someone offers fiber optics internet go with that before the regular cable service. At least you are dealing with the best technology to begin with because consistent service speed still seems to be a challenge here.

Pam and Eddy showed us more areas of town we hadn’t been in yet. We walked throughout several blocks and came to the Milenium Mall. We hadn’t known where this was, so now that we were here, we went inside and looked around. It had a movie theater, a sports bar, and an Apple store to name a few.

When we got home Heidi and I took Monte and Max for a walk. The sun was still shining but the wind was brisk. Heidi stopped along the way to buy some more plants for the terrace from her favorite lady at the nursery.

Easton has been having symptoms of “Drop Foot”. He can’t flex his right foot or toes. This is some sort of nerve issue which, among the horrible neurologic causes, can be caused by crossing the feet. He has been spending hours at a time, days at a time, reading and learning how to evaluate stocks and trade options. He crosses his feet while he does this, so we are hoping if he changes where he is sitting and stops crossing his feet the symptoms will resolve themselves. He is freaked out by the whole thing.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Chau.

 

 

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