Mid June 2015 I receive a telephone call, a cold call from TIM the mobile arm of TelecomItalia, one of the companies whom as avid readers of my blog will be aware has in the past been subject of one of my rants.
However back to the story; the caller rang suggesting that TIM would rather like to have me back as one of their customers. I had moved away from them over six months ago when I discovered as a long-term contract holder I was paying four times the monthly amount that other TIM subscribers were being billed. Logical to move and find a cheaper provider, so I did. Anyway the caller informed me that TIM would rather like me back in the fold and as an incentive were offering me a package of 1000 minutes for all calls in Italy, 1000 SMS s a discount of overseas calls (if I remember correctly not quantified – but hey! I do not call abroad on my mobile) and 2 giga bytes of internet all per month for the sum of 10 euro. Seemed like a good deal, so after asking a further few questions and requesting that the caller repeat the offer just to make sure I got it correct I said ‘yes’.
I had to give the caller my personal details, something I really do not like doing over the phone, but I have heard from friends that this is a genuine offer, they too had profited from, so I agreed.
The sim card was to be delivered by courier within the next 3 days to whom I had to pay €15 – €10 for the first month connection and €5 transfer and admin fee – TIM would do all the transfer requests from my existing provider and also have them pass my credit balance on to the TIM account, I had to show the driver my identity card and tax code. So far so good.
Two weeks went by and eventually a driver ‘phoned me and expected me to come and meet him. A lot of discussion about home delivery and the meaning of same ensued, and eventually I drove 1km up the road to meet him, it seems his poor van cannot go over white roads, but my precious car can. As it turns out he was a great guy, born in Ethiopia but lived most of his life here in Italy, where he has worked from an early age. It seems courier drivers are not either well paid or well treated which probably explains their reluctance to travel into the countryside for one delivery. I opened the package, a sealed sim card and huge quantity of contract, then making the usual 20 or so signatures on the driver’s copy and after handing over a copy of my identity card we parted.
Getting home I took time to read the contract and saw to my alarm that any calls made with this sim card would be subject to a charge and for navigation of the internet there would be a €4 a day fee (4 x 31 = 124 euro) the charge, just for the internet, forget the calls, potentially far exceeded the €10 per month fee I had been quoted, so I called the TIM ‘customer service’. Now there is another reason for a further rant. When they are looking for your business they are the easiest organisation to call but when they have got it the easy call facility disappears it is just damn complicated to call them. I persevered pressing every option and dialing frequently the hash key and finally got through to an operator who assured me that what was written on the sim card package did not apply to me as if I read my contract carefully it was a ‘special offer’ and she confirmed that I had a monthly allowance of 1000 minutes 1000 sms, cheap overseas calls and 2 gb of internet. That was on 6th of July. By 13th I still could not connect to the internet and noticed that whilst the residual credit from my old provider had been transferred to my phone every time I sent an sms the credit dwindled, soon I got a message from TIM informing me that I have to top up my credit as there was little left! But had I not got a 1000 monthly allowance, no way have I ever sent 200 sms s a month let alone 1000, impossible. I dialled and pressed every key until a TIM operator appeared on the line.
How strange she said, it seems that you have been put on the wrong contract, TIM had given me a contract with 700 minutes to Italy and 300 to Romania….. but don’t worry within 24 hours it will be corrected and all will be fine.
Yesterday – yes you got it folks it was not fine. I received an sms from TIM asking me to call their customer service with a ‘practica’ number that is a case number, so I did. The usual wait then to my amazement the operator tells me that because I am a foreigner (I have lived in Italy for over 8 years, it is my only residence and I pay tax – lots of it to the state) the contract they have given me is correct. When I enquired why they chose to give me free calls to Romania was it random or alphabetical – had I been the next new customer would I have got Russia, god forbid, he had no answer saying that I needed to speak to his colleagues, when I asked to do so he said I could not but that I could only email them. He quoted my codice fiscale or tax code as the reason for the Romanian link, odd really I run a business here in Italy and have been accused of being ‘too Scottish’ a country for now I admit to having antecedents but Romania, never. The upshot is that according to operator LQ977 the contract I claim to have been offered either does not exist or could not be applied to me…..
I sent the email to TIM – anyone else requiring their email address it is firstname.lastname@example.org and am now waiting a reply.
It got me thinking, why are foreigners treated so appallingly in this country? The Romanians I know or have come into contact with have registered businesses and for the most part pay their taxes or so I believe (I know of one exception who did not and instead because he had done work for me all legitimately paid and with irrefutable proof of legal payment the tax authorities decided to take the monies from me because they could fine me and not him), and as with foreigners from other nations they contribute in positive way to the country. Why because I was born in the UK still thankfully a member of Europe and am domiciled here and run a business here should I be offered a different phone contract to those offered to Italians, it is outrageous and surely downright illegal.
Oh and to round off the rant, I am furious with the fact that the new blog does not have my ‘Rant’ category, like my readers I like my rant category and it was specifically requested, but like the missing video which Aldo worked on so hard to get to the required specification and was never put on the site, the rant category was brushed aside by someone. The categories seem to me to be obtuse and somewhat rude… ‘what to do’ could be an incitement to rebel or worse… and who posts an ‘uncategorised’ post, all mine have subject and content. I need to get these and the many other problems on the website rectified. Xeno-phone-obia I kinda like that title 😉