Cellphone redux

Diogenes's picture

It is the day after KPN, the telephone company, was supposed to install our new home phone service. Our previous service was with Ziggo, our cable TV/Internet provider. We had problems with the Ziggo phone service, so we decided to switch.

Yesterday, at about 1:00pm, our Ziggo phone stopped working, as expected. But no one from KPN ever showed up. Now we have no dial tone. If anyone attempts to call us, it just rings busy.

The new KPN phone line is not working. I have connected all the equipment according to the instructions. Lights that are supposed be ON do not light up.

Ironically, we still have internet because we have 2 service providers for the next 3 weeks. Fortunately one of the providers (Ziggo) is providing this service. With internet, we can phone family and friends in Canada for 1.7¢ a minute using Skype, and we do, in part to tell them that our phone is not working.

But all I really want to do right now is phone the telephone company to ask why no one showed up yesterday, and to let them know that we now have no phone service - quite the opposite of what we had expected.

As a new customer, I have to say that I'm not impressed.

I tried using the computer, the internet, and Skype to call the phone company, but Skype did not connect to the KPN 900 toll number.

I have a fully charged emergency cellphone but with expired credit. So I walk to the local supermarket to purchase a €10 top-up. At home I attempt to activate the top-up, but without success.

motorolaRazrF3a (8K)

Our phone is a Motorola Razr F3 el-cheapo unit with the dumbest user interface ever. There was no manual. After a couple of hours of searching on the the internet I figure out that perhaps the phone number itself has expired. This is a new concept to me.

So I walk back to the supermarket with my phone for a remedy or a refund on the €10 top-up I just purchased. The clerk has no idea why my phone does not work and says it isn't possible to give me a refund.

So I'm pissed off now and walk home; get over it; and walk back to the store to buy a new phone.

While looking at the new phones, it occurs on me that maybe I can just buy a new SIM card. Another clerk, this one more savvy about phones, says "Ja" and sells me a new SIM card with a €5 credit for just €10. It also includes a €10 mail-in credit rebate, making it seem to be too good to be true.

SimCardInaCan (11K)

The SIM card kit comes in a tin can that might have contained chicken soup in normal economic times. I ask for a bag to carry it home.

I'm realize at this point that I am seriously falling behind on technology, maybe the economy, and definitely on the art of communication. I don't even twitter. I have never been a twit, at least not intentionally. The times, they are a changin'.

- 2 -

I open the can and pull out a piece of plastic that looks something like a credit card that has been violated by a mad train conductor. A piece of plastic the size of a postage stamp breaks off from the center of the card. This, apparently, is the actual SIM card itself.

I install the new SIM card. The phone kind of works but I'm not sure if it works properly. I call the activation number but I get lost in the menus because my dutch is not so good. I phone home and it rings busy. I walk back to the supermarket so I can talk the the sales clerk that sold me the SIM card. He had offered to help me if I had trouble with the telephone menus.

I hand him the phone and ask him to activate the card. He is happy to do this, but a look of confusion soon crosses face as he tries to figure out the dumbass user interface of the cellphone and the automated telephone menu system that is used to activate top-ups.

Eventually he calls his own home and hears his voice mail picks up. He hangs up and says that I had probably activated the phone myself.

I thank him for his help and walk home again, thinking that I should get serious again about learning Dutch.

Next: How NOT to cancel a service that never existed