Problem Solved?

When encountering a problem you have never had to fix before in a foreign country, it can be overwhelming. The sea turtle speaks of her experience with customer services in the UK.

Recently, my dormitory suddenly suffered network outage inexplicably. My roommate and I have never touched the router or any lines, but we just couldn’t connect to the internet. Because our dormitory is on the first floor, my mobile phone’s signal is also very poor. My world seemed to lose its color. Network outage is probably torture in the 21st century. Of course, calling customer services in the UK to solve the problem can also be considered a kind of torture.

British customer services are mainly divided into online customer service and telephone customer service. The online customer service is similar to the Chinese Taobao customer service, but the waiting time is definitely longer. Before, it took me an hour to call the SIM card company customer services to change my data package. Yes, an hour. No exaggeration at all. Having learned from my last lesson, this time I directly queried the company responsible for collecting our network fees through online customer services.

After explaining the situation, the staff member first said a few polite words before transferring me to another department. I explained the situation again before I heard “Of course, I am willing to help you, but we have to spend a lot of time. If you do not want to wait, we recommend that you directly ask your network company to solve it.” Yes, the customer services staff are super polite, but no problems were solved.

After understanding the situation, we were told they would help us to do a test and the network should be restored within a few hours. I said “thank you” numerous times and hung up the phone. However, on that day, my roommate and I were excitedly waiting for the moment when the network was reconnected, but nothing happened until nighttime.

I had to call customer services again. After being transferred to another department and listening to more songs, the next voice on the phone used a bunch of technical jargon which I didn’t understand. Eventually I was told that it may be a problem with the router. And that it may also be a problem with the cable. I was told “You can ask the cable company.” Embarrassingly I didn’t even know which company’s cable was connected to my home. So how were we supposed to solve it?

With the chance that the router might be broken, my roommate and I rushed to buy a new router. Unfortunately, the network still didn’t recover. I had to continue to call the customer services until I almost exploded. This really became quite frustrating. British readers I’m sure will know what I’m talking about.

This time the customer service staff member gave me a completely different reply, and I was about to collapse. “Could you please just send an engineer to my dorm to check what’s happened? The remote customer service calls are really low effective,” I almost desperately asked the person on the phone. In a polite but empty voice, the response was, “Of course, you can ask the engineer to check the problem on site, but if the engineer finds the problem is not something on our part then we must charge the appropriate fees. Therefore, if you need the help of engineers, it is best to confirm where the problem is.”

Well, there was a new challenge. In order to avoid being charged for the engineer, me, a person without any idea of what I was doing, would have to check the cable by myself. The customer service staff explained very patiently how to do it, but I just couldn’t understand it. Finally, “You first need to find a small white box. Then there is a line on the small white box. You need to unscrew the screw to check the situation within the box.”

I ended up sitting on the floor with a screwdriver and wondering what to do. The customer service staff had to tell me another test method, connecting a landline phone to check if the cable can be connected. I became even more desperate. Why would I have a landline phone as an international student?

All this nightmare finally ended with the appearance of our landlord, thankfully. After contacting him for help, the landlord said that he did not have a landline phone at home, but he would ask someone else to borrow one. I was so relieved. With the help of the landlord who came to our rescue, we finally determined that the problem was the internet company’s fault. It’s a miracle that I can now sit at home and write this article in a reconnected network.