I was transported back to an earlier time, last night, as I sat listening to hold music being told that my call is important but that all the customer service agents are busy right now, and I realised that I don’t really do this any more. Much as I loved living in London, it seems as if I was always hanging on hold trying to sort out some problem or other. I still remember the time that I spent so long on hold to Homechoice/Tiscali trying to sort out some problem or other with my broadband that I listened to an entire Leona Lewis album before someone answered. Happy days…
But I can’t remember the last time anything like that happened.
Maybe this is the real reason why I haven’t been blogging so much since we moved to Melbourne. There just isn’t enough to get pissed off about here (and on the rare occasions when I have to call my lovely ISP, iinet, they even do this wonderful thing where you just hang up and they call you back, and then use the caller ID to pull up your account details before you even start talking to them…)
Of course it goes without saying that the company I was on hold to was in the UK: I’ve decided that it’s finally time to extricate myself from the company that hosts my other web presence. Originally this was hosted by an excellent small hosting company called Freedom2Surf, who I picked about 10 years ago when I first set up that site in a vague attempt to make it look like I’d done at least one extra-curricular thing at uni that I could put on my CV. And they were great for about 5 years, until they got taken over. And taken over. And taken over again. Following the most recent takeover they have been completely rebranded and I now find myself a customer of Talk Talk Business.
I’ve moaned about them before, but general laziness has always kept me from doing anything about it. But with the latest rebrand the old F2S website account area is gone. I used to be able to log in and check my account details, see past invoices, and update my account settings, address and billing details. Now I have the My Talk Talk Business Portal, which provides almost zero functionality. I can log in to this and see that I have an account, but that’s about it. No invoices, no pricing, no indication when my hosting or registrations expire–everything just leads to a message telling me to phone a UK 0800 number if I want to do anything. That’s a bit of a deal breaker for me, though, given that I live on the other side of the world now and it’s not massively convenient to have to call someone in the UK whenever I need to do something…
I can’t even update my address details because their wonderful portal has been coded to accept only UK postcodes and phone numbers. Oh and when they rebranded they also sent me a letter in the mail to my house in Australia containing my login password, which they had apparently been storing in plain text all this time. Oops.
So it’s time to sort this out: unfortunately I just paid for a new year’s hosting and registration before the rebrand, but as a first step I thought I’d try to get the .co.uk domain that I have registered with them (www.pastemagazine.co.uk) moved over to my other (cheaper, better) host (who are probably preparing to sell out to Talk Talk as we speak…) so that they will be the ones who bill me when it comes up for renewal in a couple of months. 20 minutes of hold music later, and having been passed between 3 departments, I finally get through to someone who can help me:
“Oh yes. You need to send us an email to request that, as all cancellations have to be in writing.”
Thanks. Wonderful. Thanks so much for writing that on your website… Now can I have the last half hour of my life back?