Dealing with Telecentro prepared me for the battle with Telecom. After all these years of living in Argentina I am no longer afraid of the phone. Any immigrant with tell you in a new country when you have to learn the language, the phone is not your friend.
Argentina is not like the USA. There is no "Press 1 for Español, Press 2 for English" and so on. You get rude operators who speak Spanish and really do not want to help you when you are calling a large business. When you have to call a smaller business or doctor's office you get front office person who may or may not want to take the time to listen to you.
The first years I lived here I was mortfied of using the phone. It was easier to actually get on the bus and go to the place I needed to go to and talk face to face with the people. When I would call on the phone, they usually would just hang up on me. They would not even try to understand me. At least in person they didn't have a choice. They could be rude to me, but they had to talk to me.
Then as my language skills improved I found that I could call on the phone. Instead of hanging up on me immediately the response became "Que necesitas? No entiendo." I would painfully explain what I needed or wanted. Sometimes I was amazed at how insensitive and rude people could be. At times it would mean a trip on the bus to the place I needed to do business with.
Many times an Argentine would step in, appalled at how I was being treated. It goes with being a foreigner, an immigrant. You take the good with the bad. It is much different living somewhere than being on vacation. You try to tell people there is a big difference between coming here for a few months and living here and they just don't get it.
Now I have language skills. I divide people into two categories. There are people who compliment me on how well I speak. They say I speak better than many native speakers. Maybe, maybe not. They have no problem understanding me. I make appointments, carry on intelligent conversations with these people. At some point there is the request for "MY STORY" as to why I am in Argentina. Not a problem.
Then there are those other people. The ones who demand to know "MY STORY" before I can begin my business or personal transaction. The ones who insist that they cannot understand me or that I am not making myself understood. These people are usually rude and impossible to deal with. When I stand my ground with them, they are shocked, and accuse me of having an attitude. Unfortunately these people make my life and the life of many immigrants, whether we are North American, European, or Asian, miserable.
After finally getting my email running with Telecentro, I got a bill from Telecom. Guess what, they started to bill me for Internet .. again. They even acknowledged that my Internet service had been cancelled, but they started it up again at a different rate, unsolicited of course. So I called them.
Try to call Telecom. They tell you to call 112. Try to get a live person on the phone. Robot hell. Pressing 0 does nothing. I decided to pretend that I want new Arnet service. I get a live person on the line and tell them what has happened. She asks for my phone number. It takes her ages to pull up my account. Why do they ask for my number? I had to punch it in when I called. Plus they have caller ID. It is one more way to annoy the customer. She starts to sell me on this new offer of lower service. "I don't want it." I tell her. "I have Telecentro now." She starts to tell me that I have to accept it. I tell her that I don't want it, I never ordered it, and I am not going to pay for it. My service was canceled in May." I am told that I was not clear when I canceled my service. I threaten to call the Defensa del Consumidor. I am put on hold and transferred.
The next person gives me a hard sell on the newer lower service. I explain one more time I do not want this service and I am not going to pay for it. I tell this person I cancelled my Internet in May and I have Telecentro. I did not order this service. I want it off my bill or I am calling the Defensa del Consumidor to make a complaint. I am transferred again.
The next person asks for my phone number and how can they help me. I explain the situation AGAIN. She tells me to hold. She comes back and tells me when I cancelled my service I was not clear and they thought I just wanted a lower rate. I want to strangle this person. They are such a bunch of thieves. I cannot believe it. I tell her I was offered a special and I turned it down because I already had Telecentro, plus I was not charged this rate on my June bill, just this bill. I am told to hold.
She comes back and wants to know when did I cancel my service. I tell her May 12. She puts me on hold again. She comes back and explains what a great deal this new offer is. I tell her I do not want Arnet. I have Telecentro. I do not want these charges on my bill. Take them off. I am told I have a bad attitude and that I should learn how to talk to people. Me? Assholes. Who taught them customer service? I think by now, almost an hour later, most people would probably just pay the 30 pesos a month to not have to talk to Telecom anymore.
I am transferred again. This time I am asked what is it exactly I do not want to pay. I cannot believe this. I tell the woman I do not want to pay for Internet service I did not order. Once again I must go through the whole story. Once again I am on hold. She comes back and says next month I will not be charged for Internet because NOW they understand that I do not want anymore Internet service. I ask about this month.
I am told that I have to pay for this month. I tell her I am not going to pay for a service that I did not order. What is it these people do not understand. She tells me that I need to understand, I tell her I do not need to understand anything. Again I am told I have a bad attitude and am put on hold.
Finally Ms. Snippy comes back and says I must talk to someone in "Reclamos" if I really do not want to pay these charges. Oh no, I am dying to pay for something I never ordered. Please please take my money. I am transferred to Reclamos.
I am asked to put my phone number into the system. I am told my phone number does not exist. OK. They did not ask for the area code. I try with the area code. I exist. Thank God. You see sometimes they want it with the area code and sometimes without but no one ever tells you, it is one of those great mysteries of Argentine life you need to figure out.
The woman from Reclamos comes on the line. I tell her my story. She puts me on hold. She comes back. We do not agree on the amount. She puts me on hold. She comes back. We talk again. She puts me on hold. Then she tells me that I will get a new bill and that will be the amount to pay. Finally. After 92 minutes. At least I wasn't disconnected.
Then she asks me if I use a wireless phone. I tell her yes I do. She tells me my phone is not authorized for use by Telecom. What the hell? Before I can stop her she launches into a sales pitch about a phone they have for sale. I tell her I am not interested. I am told my phone is not authorized for use by Telecom. That I cannot use my phone.
"You mean to tell me all the telephones sold by Fravega, Easy, Carrefour, are not authorized by Telecom?" she doesn't answer. "I do not want to buy anything from Telecom. If this is the case then I want to stop service of my telephone right now and I will use my cell phone." "No, no," she says. "It's OK, thank you for calling Telecom." Yeah, thank you too. Me harto.