Good evening… Well it was evening when I started writing this. Now its a late night. Almost midnight.
I was always one of those people that was defending Eir Ireland when I’ve heard it being criticized… I had my 25 mbps download and 6 mbps upload speed and I was happy. I am not anymore and I am about to write about my recent adventures with this major Irish ISP.
It’s a day before St. Patrick’s Day of the year 2016 – I am sitting here all upset and aggravated and decided to share a bit of my grief with the world. Sometime ago I’ve found out how impossible it is to move account from one person to another. I wrote about it here. This bit of the story will mainly focus on getting the new account with Eir Ireland which itself has been quite adventurous… and is not over yet.
I came back home from work on Monday the 15th of the February 2016 and I was told by my beloved wife that the Internet is down. I rang Eir and found out that they have cut the line because (as we have previously agreed) our flatmate applied for his account to be closed month ago. Great – I thought – now we will be able to sign up for our own account and we will be able to get on like nothing ever happened. I was told by the Eir representative that 24 hours must first pass from the moment that one account was closed to the moment that we are able to apply for a new account for the same address. No problem. I called Eir the very next day full of hope and joy. Sales rep (a girl which name I won’t be able to recall) listened to me very carefully but when I’ve mentioned that I will need a static IP for my e-mail server she said that I will have to talk to business sales rep. She asked if it was ok for her to transfer me to one and put me on hold.
This is how I was connected to a guy named Patrick. Patrick was very polite and well mannered. He answered all my questions and gave me very detailed information about everything I needed to know. I was told that I will be better off signing up for a business account rather than the residential one. I expressed my doubts about it because I do not own a business in Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter). I was told that I do not need to be a business owner to be eligible for the Eir Business account. I asked him specifically about the bills and the amount on the bills and he said that I will only pay approximately €5 more than if I applied for the residential like and that the whole bill will be around €50 including vat. I was surprised but after a while he talked me into signing up for a business account. He said that our phone line will be active within 24 hours, he asked me for a e-mail address – he told me that I will get the information sent to this account as soon as my phone line is active. Just to let you know at this point – exactly a month since this conversation took place and I’ve never received a single e-mail from Eir till today… He told me that the modem / router will be “overnighted” to me with a courier company and that I should have it soon. This has raised my hopes because I was told that people are waiting up to 2 weeks to get their internet up and running. I was told my router will be here and I will have my router here tomorrow? Nice – I thought – I don’t really know why people are complaining about Eir – this is a sound company… The conversation with Patrick was long and very productive. I was quite pleased.
I used my XT894 with Android 6.0.1 as an access point, got Internet connected over the 3G network and decided to use that as an emergency broadband for the house. Not great speeds. Lot of problems… but it worked. Few days later I’ve shared my opinion about the Three.ie mobile broadband on Twitter…
2 days later (on Thursday the 18th of February 2016) very early in the morning I’ve received a text message from a company called “Nightline”. The text message basically stated “we have your router and it will be delivered to you today”. Since they did not indicated when exactly “today” will they deliver the router my wife has changed her plans for the day and stayed home just to make sure that she is here to sign for the package when it arrives. She was waiting all day for nothing. Package has never arrived. The very next morning (Friday, 19th February 2016) I have received another text message from “Nightline”. It was exactly the same as the one I received previously so I’ve contacted “Nightline” thru their website form and was told “Sorry – not our fault – the delivery truck broke down. It will be delivered today – definitely”. Very unreliable service. Very unpleasant situation… The conversation which took place over the e-mail was not great either. My wife has yet again decided to alter her plans and stay home to sign for the package.
“S**t happens” I thought and went to work that day. I should have my internet back tonight when I come back home – I thought. But I had a gut feeling that something is not up to the snuff and I’ve asked the @eircare on Twitter if what I thought was correct… Unfortunately I was right. I was told that since I’ve applied for the broadband on the 17th (I actually applied on the 16th but 24 hours must pass for the order to be processed…) I will need to wait 5 working days which meant that I won’t be able to use the Internet till Wednesday the 24th of February 2016.
Later that afternoon, I have received a text message from my wife stating that she has picked up the router. I came back from work and opened the box. Oh no… – was my first thought. Why you ask? Well… Before e-fibre was available in our area we had a “normal” Eircom Broadband. The modem was a hanging on a wall Zyxel. Then we got the e-fibre broadband. Our modem was replaced with wall hanging F1000 e-fibre modem / router. Now I’ve received a F2000 e-fibre modem / router… and guess what? It’s a free standing modem that cannot be hanged… I have my “Internet” corner designed in such way that there is no space for free standing router. There is no shelf or a cupboard near it. 2 screws in the wall. That’s all… Tried contacting @eircare at Twitter but they can offer only a limited amount of advice…
In the meanwhile I’ve discovered few other “bonuses” that the F2000 modem provided… The admin password was limited to 20 chars… The NAT (or should I say NAT hairpinning) wasn’t working correctly – which meant that my external services were accessible for everyone from outside my LAN but I could not access them… and the port forwarding was a major pain in the butt to set up (and was not working correctly when was set up). I called eir and asked them for advice. They told me to keep using the F1000 router – which I really gladly did. I’ve configured F1000 to my liking and kept waiting for the 24th of February. Finally it happened. Internet was back. I was delighted – right up to the moment when I’ve checked my speed… I was only getting 15mbsp download / 5.5 mbps upload. I called eir and asked them to check what is the story. They changed my profile from 15/6 to 25/6 and told me I should be getting my usual speed 24 hours from now. Fine. No problem. Not sure why but I had a gut feeling that the guy that was setting it up for us didn’t really know how to do it. He told me he needs to “consult a colleague” and put me on hold. I had a hunch… I was right again. 24 hours later I was still only getting 14.3 mbps download and 5.9 mbps upload speeds. I wasn’t happy.
Called them again the very next day or the day after that cannot remember. They were trying to help. Kept putting me on hold. Kept “consulting mentor” and “trying something else” but no matter what they did they were unable to get the speed back. I was after work. My wife cooked dinner while I was on the phone with Eir technicians but it took over 2 hours, maybe 3… The speed didn’t changed and the only thing that I achieved was to talk them into sending the field technician to check the line as one of the technicians said that the only thing that could be a problem was “a bit of voltage on the line. The eir technician took down my mobile number and told me that “IF the field technician will need to access my premises they will give me a call half an hour before”. At the end of the call I was deadly tired, hungry and frustrated. I ate my dinner and it was nearly a bed time for me as tomorrow was another working day. Wasted my entire evening trying to sort it out.
After a few days – while I was at work I got a miss call from my wife. This is a sign for me “call me – something is happening”. She rarely calls me when I am at work because I don’t like to waste my bosses’ time with personal calls. Usually I call home during a tea and / or lunch break. If she calls me – it means something is up. I excused myself from the office and called her back. “The eir technician is in the house and checking the line… You were suppose to call me and let me know if they were coming…”. I was, yes… but then HE never called me so I was just as surprised as she was… She gave the phone to the technician who told me that the line and the router that I am using are 100% fine.
In the meanwhile I’ve received first letter from eir… with my first name misspelled. I rang them and asked for the name to be corrected. Later one of the eir staff on Twitter confirmed that it is now spelled correctly.
I was so desperate I even tried the online chat…. With extremely poor results…
I tried again at later date… Same thing… Chat seems dead and buried – just like the eir “community” forum where more adventures like this one here can be found… People complaining because they were charged more then they should be, people complaining about the speeds… etc.
I called them few days later in the evening. The same story. Wasted 3 – 4 hours on the phone. At some stage I was standing next to the router for over 30 minutes with my (quite heavy) laptop in my hand. I couldn’t put it away because of the LAN cable length. Nightmare. In the meanwhile technician was “trying something” and “consulting his mentor”. I think it was 21:30 hours when we have finished. I remember that the technician said that he has ran out of ideas plus he shouldn’t really spend that much time with one customer (some sort of internal policies) and that his shift finished 20 minutes ago so he is unable to help me anymore because he should be home already. His big solution to the problem was for me to reset the F2000 modem, plug it in instead of my F1000 modem. Plug my laptop using the LAN cable and then give them a call.
I had a few very difficult days at work. It’s one of the busiest times of the year for us right now so I kind of gave up with the eir helpline calls. I gave them a week, maybe 8 – 9 days. In the meanwhile I’ve purchased 10 meters long cat6 LAN cable on e-bay so that I don’t have to stand like the freakin ejeet next to the router. Checked the speed again. No change. Finally last week I’ve decided I needed to call them again. It was a long weekend for me as I was off from work for 3 days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday 12th – 15th of March) so I called them on Friday (11th March) after work to have it done so I don’t have to think about it over the weekend. Plus I remember that they were announcing that their call center is getting some sort of maintenance / updates.
So I called them. I was on the phone with the technician (I think) till nearly 22:00 hours. At the end of the call he said he has no idea what’s wrong. I am connected to the correct port, I am set up with the right profile. Everything seems fine – but I am not getting the speed. He confirmed my mobile number and said that he is sending some sort of “advanced field technician to check the fibre cabinet”. And that the technician will call me if he needs access to premises.
Weekend came and went… well almost… On Monday I’ve received another bit of correspondence from eir… My first bill… €129.74… WOW! I was shocked… Wait what?! HOW?! WHY?! So I looked closer… There were 4 figures on the bill
1. Broadband from March to April 2016 – €29.79
2. Line rental fee from March to April 2016 – €20.96
3. Connection charges – “one time” fee – €20.65
4. Part period charges (charges for broadband and line rental from the period February to March 2016 – €34.08
Those figures summed up nicely gave a total of €105.48 on which 23% VAT was thrown in and the total figure was €129.74. This told me one thing. My next bill WILL NOT be around €50 as promised but more in the region of €61… How? Well First two figures mentioned above are the monthly charges that are constant on my bill. The next two are just one time connection charge and payment for the period from before my first bill. So… If you sum up figures 1 and 2 you get €50.75 and you have to throw 23% VAT on top of that… So nearly 1/4 of the €50.75 (€11.67) will be added on top of that. That told me that my next bill will be €62.42… That’s not what I was told.
So I called eir’s 1901 number and spoke to a very polite but not very bright young woman (I think Stephanie was her name) who tried to tell me that I was definitely wrong and that the sales rep told me it would be €50 excluding VAT and that she does not understand what do I want from her… At some stage I got upset and I raised my voice for which I apologized later. I know Stephanie is not responsible for my troubles. She is not the cause of them either. It’s internal chaos, lack of the information flow and general mess that are responsible for my trouble… She promised me that she has escalated my case and that the manager will listen to the tape from the archives (my original call with Patrick) and he will call me within 24 hours. Monday – my last day of the long weekend was ruined. Who of you would like to receive a €130 bill when you’re expecting €80 at the most…
I went to work on Tuesday, I was sure that at some stage I will get the call from the eir’s manager and I will be told it was a mistake and everything will get sorted. At some stage I got a horrible migraine… Took couple of ibuprofen pills but that didn’t help. I took couple more but after an hour I asked my boss if I could finish bit earlier today as I am not feeling very well. One of my co-workers gave me a lift home around 16:00 hours.
After I got home I’ve noticed 2 eir vans parked in front of my house. My wife told me that these 2 gentleman arrived several minutes earlier and were testing the line. Very polite guys. Very reasonable guys. I found out few things from them and when we were chatting one of them realized it was something he did in the past that’s causing all the trouble. He was sent to diagnose a technical issue and when he was doing that he disabled “vectoring” on the cabinet because it was “bringing the whole box down”. They both said that they will write a report and that eir will have to send someone to deal with this issue.
Vectoring – as I was told – is a kind of a signal booster that is reducing the amount of noise on the line and is boosting speed. Without the vectoring present my line would not get the full speed that it should be getting. It should be added every (if I remember correctly) 700 meters from the cabinet and since I live about 950 meters from the cabinet the vectoring SHOULD be present but isn’t.
Just to add – I did not received a call from the eir manager so I rang 1901 and asked what’s the story. This time I was told it takes up to 48 hours for the manager to listen to the tape and that he will call me definitely tomorrow.
I was off today (Wednesday the 16th of the March 2016). I was cooking, attending house chores and messing with stuff. At some stage I wrote few things on Twitter. One of those things was:
And then added:
That of course was met with a prompt reply from one of their Twitter staff. Which told me how very sorry she was that I feel this way… It’s so nice of them (and somewhat condescending) when they feel sorry for me… It really helps me a lot that somewhere out there is a person that feels sorry… No not really… Anyway. What happened after nearly blew my mind. I was basically told that “eir cannot guarantee speeds”, that I should check “Terms and conditions” and that they cannot help me but they advise me to spend more time calling 1901 and allowing technicians more time to troubleshoot this… At this point I stopped the conversation, removed eir and eircare as my followers / following on Twitter and moved back to the house chores. I allowed them at least 20 hours of my time during which I was on hold or performing some troubleshooting instructions. My wife has changed her plans twice because of unreliable courier company they use. I have been pushed over from one technician to another. I allowed access to field team twice now. I had 25 mbps download on the same line and I was told by the sales rep that “I will get even more as they will pump speed at me”. I was lied to about the amount on my bill AND I AM THE ONE TO BLAME because THEY cannot guarantee speeds and because I should read “T&C” more carefully?
I’ve been waiting till nearly 16:20 for the eir’s manager to call me. Around that time I said to myself enough waiting and I’ve called 1901 and asked the customer representative what’s the story. I was put on hold and lo and behold – the next time I’ve heard a human’s voice it was a manager… Lee. Lee seemed to be in a rush – maybe he was already thinking about green Guiness… maybe he was just annoyed that such a insignificant person like myself was wrecking his head with such a minor thing as a overcharged bill – anyway… He was not very polite. At some stage he barked at me and said “I will listen to the tape now” and put me on hold. The conversation that I had with Patrick took over 20 minutes. Manager came back on the line maybe 90 – 120 seconds later and told me he will put me onto “a new billing system” which meant I will be paying €49.50 per month and not €62… He then asked me for my direct debit information. I was reluctant to give it to him but he said that to avail on this special offer I need to set up direct debit… Before I gave him this info I was also asked if I was “a sole trader or limited”. At this stage I told him that I am not a business owner. I told him that I was told that I do not have to be a business owner to be eligible for the eir business broadband account. He asked me who told me that. I started listing eir Twitter staff, eir business representative, Patrick… He said they were all wrong. Next thing I knew he gave me a 8 digit order number ending with a letter and told me to call 1901 in the next 24 hours because he closed my business account and I will be switched to a residential one… You can add another thing they blame me for now… I was treated like a garbage by some impatient and rude youngster who got the managers position because he can blow people off and (I bet) staff is afraid of him… Tomorrow is a St. Patrick’s day – I doubt that the 1901 lines will be open but I will check. For now this is the end of the story… but it will be continued in the future. You draw the conclusions from it yourself.
P.S. I am pretty sure that they feel sorry that it happened to me and that I feel this way…