THERE’S MORE LIKE THIS ON OUR NEW SITE – POLANDIAN.COM
My vote has to be given to the dearly beloved Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. or just TP as they prefer to be called these days. Admittedly, Poczta Polska provides tough competition for my vote with a strong performance in number of packages lost, sourpuss sales ladies and in worst queues, but my recent experience in trying to get Neostrada in the new home proves that it is going to take truly world-class incompetence levels for anyone to take the top slot away from TP.
Whether their incompetence is due to the 48.6% ownership of France Telecom or the 51.4% owned by Poland we can only speculate but I suspect it is the Polish side. If the French ownership was over 50% then TP would work reasonably well but only for 30 weeks a year and the rest of the time they would be on strike in support of the farmers. As it is, they work at a consistently low level for the whole year which suggests a Polish influence.
We want to install Neostrada (2Mb internet connection) into our new home. We have received and paid for this service in the old apartment for a few years now and my wife has signed contracts with them under a power of attourney from the owner. We thought this might make things easier this time around. We were wrong.
Tangent. I’m shocked at the different approaches we have now in Poland regarding what documents are needed to sign a contract for something – Neostrada, satellite TV service, mobile phone, etc. Used to be that everyone, without fail, was going to need a full Polish ID (dowód osobisty) before they would even talk to you. In other words if you’re not Polish, piss off! Those days are gone and we seem to now be in a kind of limbo-land somewhere between the old communist regime of the past and the new liberal freedom of the future. Some, like TP, still insist on maximum papers to be shown, others are okay with nothing, others with my karta pobytu (visa) and some with my UK passport but there is certainly no consistency.
So, off I troll to the TP shop in Arkadia to buy me a Neostrada, or actually to transfer the Neostrada I already have to a different address. I join the inevitably long and painfully slow queue. These “shops” are the nadir of the TP customer experience. They have at least three sales positions plus one for TP Biznes but they only ever have three humans. One human is the manager who never leaves the little enclosure at the rear and certainly does not interact with customers. The TP Biznes counter is always unmanned, so that leaves two humans for three sales positions and and a very long queue of customers who all need to do things that, for TP, will require max paperwork. The end result is that a 15 minute wait is minimum, often much longer.
I finally get to talk with Mrs Stropface the sales lady. “I need to transfer this contract to a new address please”.
“What are the current and new phone numbers?”
“022 123 1234 and 022 567 8910”
“Are you Mrs M?”
“No, I’m not but my wife has power of attourney to be Mrs M when it comes to phones.”
“Are you Mrs T?”
“Then I can’t help you!”
“Thanks for that, but what exactly is it that somebody else has to do? I mean is it even possible to transfer that contract (like most civilised countries would allow) or are you going to make my life as miserable as you can?”
“I’m going to make your life miserable. This contract has to be canceled by Mrs M, with penalties to pay for early termination (face lights up) and a new contract must be taken out for the new place, but this can only be done by Mrs T.”
“Thanks for nothing, goodbye.”
Empty handed, as usual, I leave the TP shop. My wife, armed with dowóds and powers of attourney goes later and manages to cancel the old contract. We have a choice of a fine in excess of 1,000 PLN for canceling the contract four months early (monthly cost is about 120 PLN) or we can just keep paying the monthly bills until November. We opt for the 480 PLN option. It is not possible for them to send the bills to our new address and it is not possible for them to issue one final invoice with four monthly payments on it. We have to keep going back to the old apartment to collect bills until December. My wife is also unable to open an account for the new address because she is not Mrs T.
I talk to Mrs T, who is on holiday but there is a Mr S in Warsaw who is also on the KRS (company register) as a board member and can sign papers on behalf of the owner of our new telephone number. I find Mr S who speaks no Polish and so I drive him down to spend the afternoon queuing in TP shop.
We manage to avoid Mrs Stropface this time and get someone who likes nicer. “We’d like to order Neostrada for number 022 567 8910 please”
“Okay, what do you want?”
Looking at the number of “LiveBox” modems being returned that day, I decide to avoid anything fancy. “We’d like 2Mb with USB modem for one year please.”
“Oh dear! There’s a problem. This phone number is part of a TP Biznes account and we can’t deal with it here.”
“You are chyba joking, right? This is my second visit here for heaven’s sake! There’s a sign above that empty counter saying ‘TP Biznes’, what’s that all about then?”
She makes a phone call and asks someone else about the situation.
“This can be done easily over the telephone, just call 9330 and they will come and install it.”
“We’d rather try to do it now, being as we’re here.”
“Are either of you people; Mrs T, Miss A or Mrs B?”
“Obviously not. Why do you ask?”
“Because they are the only people we have in our database for that company.”
“But Mr S here has a signed copy of the KRS and all his papers!”
“Sorry, can’t help you. One of the people on our database needs to call 9330.”
And so ends the second fruitless journey to the TP shop to try and give them some new business.
In the end we called Mrs T on holiday. She called 9330 and they are coming to install the Neostrada – in one week’s time!
While I’m here I should lay claim to a third place contender with Cyfrowy Polsat. Allowed me to open an account using only my visa and PESEL number last time around over the telephone. Went, in person, to get a second decoder and told I have to have a dowód osobisty. Had to send my wife, again bless her, who managed to get one but it’s impossible to join the two decoders together (despite being at the same address and surname) onto one invoice. So now I have to make two transfers each month to Cyfrowy. Will it never end!
Does anyone have better candidates for this award?