SmarTone-Vodafone has a silly song whenever they put you on hold.
Basically the lyrics tell you to keep smiling and be happy, but how can I when something is wrong with my phone or internet?
And I was particularly annoyed when my wireless modem konked out on me on Wednesday morning, just a year after using it.
I was in too much of a rush to deal with it before getting ready for work and thought I'd just fix it when I got home that evening.
After rebooting it and trying to reset it like the two previous times it happened to me, nothing happened.
I called the technician hotline and when I was put on hold I heard that song over and over again... until the young woman who clearly was no technician, told me she could not fix the modem remotely and I would have to bring it into the shop.
"So you can't help me? I can't get on the internet?" I asked exasperated and realizing how much I depend on it for my home online infotainment -- yes information and entertainment.
She just politely went over the same script she was supposed to say, apologizing for the inconvenience caused and that if I brought it in to the shop it would be fixed in two hours.
This morning I went to the Causeway Bay customer centre and while I was waiting to be served, that annoying song was on again including a video to go with it. How delightful.
The customer service guy told me it would take three to four hours.
When I pointed out I was told it would take two hours, he said it would be done in two to three, but they just wanted to give themselves some wiggle room.
So I went back to my office and waited... and waited... got lunch... and waited.
Almost four hours later I called the customer service centre and another person had the responsibility of breaking the news to me that the part to fix the modem was not available and that it would take two to three days to fix.
"How can you not have the part!" I said now very annoyed that no one bothered to call me thinking I wouldn't notice.
"What am I supposed to do? I have to get online!" I said. "You have to lend me a modem," I demanded.
I also demanded to speak to the supervisor and he called me within the promised 15 minutes. He again apologized and promised to lend me one in the form of a USB thumb drive, but that it would take another hour or so to sort that out.
And just before I was about to call again the first guy I saw at the customer service centre called back to say the USB was available for pickup and there would be no extra charges to use it -- unless I damaged it.
So I went back again in the late afternoon and had to go through more paperwork just to borrow this USB as he took down the serial number for it and gave me the hotline number in case I had problems installing it.
And guess what? I did have problems installing it and called the hotline.
This time I had a technician with very good English and seemed to know his technical stuff, but we still couldn't get connected online.
He even had the gall to ask me if I had another modem to try out. "If I did, I wouldn't be having this conversation with you!" I said exasperated.
It was at this point I was ready to inflict some serious physical injury to someone, anyone related to SmarTone-Vodafone, for the incompetent customer service I'd experienced, the complete runaround I'd been given all day and now this USB wasn't working.
But then he checked with someone for more technical advice and miracles of miracles, I was able to get online with this temporary USB.
One of my colleagues suggested I switch and get my wireless service from NOW, which is offered by PCCW. At least the technicians there show up at your door within 24 hours to help you.
Nevertheless perhaps I can have the last laugh.
The loaned USB has a serial number on it taped on by the staff. In front of the number it says "Loner" rather than "Loaner".