I've learned to be careful - very careful - about slagging people off in public. Whilst I'm not averse here to telling people how things really are and give some interesting insights, I fight shy of being critical of people and companies who may have done us exceedingly wrong. Him as throws much can find the muck being thrown back, after all ... and you never know when you'll come across the same outfit again, and perhaps need a favor from them.
We've been struggling with aspects of getting our phone system changed for the best part of a year. The old system was the right one for us when we bought it and the exchange and lines have served well, but with changing needs (and much
lower cost) services available, the time to move on was - well - Christmas 2008 or Spring 2009 if we're honest about it.
So why didn't we move on nearly 2 years ago? Because our numbers are out there and "that's a special line - you cannot move the numbers" we were told. But then, we got a number of different stories and eventually learned that a transfer WAS possible, provided that one of our other lines was upgraded. Complicated, complicated story which you won't want to hear. Hours of listening to hold music, and of going through menu systems which seem to lead you back to where you started, or (a) passing you to (b) then to (c) who tells you to call (a). I could also mention the farce of a branch of this phone company who don't actually publish their phone number ... you have to write to them into a great email void that's not answered. And eventually the transfer was set up, and was to happen in 3 weeks (fast stuff, this modern electronics, isn't it?) ... that was just before we had to fly to the USA for a funeral, and we heave a huge sigh of relief that we would have the move done and new facilities before the trip. But you may have guessed that the transfer didn't happen and we were left having to put a very unprofessional alternative in place. When we got back and inquire, it seems that the order had never entered the system and we were advised we should start at the beginning and place it again
Something struck me about a month ago.
Don't you have a legal right of some sort to take cherished numbers to an alternative provider, rather than being tied to the incumbent?
Well ... we have a Virgin Media line that's never been used for incoming calls, and so the number that was on it was pretty much immaterial. A quick call and after only two menu option ... "Yes - we can do that for you - but it will take a week until ***** release the number to us" What's a week after nearly a year! Go for it!
Couldn't be that simple, could it. A phone call to us from Virgin Media the next day, with the bad news that because the number was on a specialized line it would be 2 weeks before it was released. And a further call to check some other objections raised by ***** the following day.
Then a call to ask what we wanted to do with another number that was on the old connection too - and we confirmed that we were prepared to loose it. After all, its main use has been to receive junk faxes selling debt collection agency service.
Lo and behold ... the old line went dead after the 2 weeks, but nothing on the Virgin line. A quick panic call confirmed that **** release numbers off lines but then take a three days to connect them to new ones ... and indeed after just two days, the Virgin line marvelously became live.
So - the final stage; we had wanted a call divert that was impossible on the old service and we had struggled to get by switching for 10 months; it wasn't on he Virgin line - so a quick call. And it was quick and "yes - we can set that up; it will be there in 2 to 24 hours". Was it? No - it took just 10 minutes. And I'm impressed!
OK ... let's try this again. Our phone numbers are ...
for Courses, Hotel bookings, and anything else
0800 043 8225
our freephone number if you prefer to call that
our fax number.
We can divert the voice lines. We can forward on call busy if there are multiple calls at the same time. And faxes are emailed through to us so we always get them, wherever we are.
Like a telephone system should be.
P.S. The line is cleaner too - much better quality!
(written 2010-09-03, updated 2010-09-14)
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