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The Failures Of All Our Utilities

EDITOR, The Tribune.

SINCE the beginning of COVID-19 awareness in this country, companies have had to adjust the way in which they operate. Everyone understands that and so I was prepared to give them a certain amount of adaption time so they could work out the kinks. But here is my problem:

  1. I have had a land line at my home that has not been working since April. Having called BTC, they sent a technician who told me to have an electrician run a new line into the house, then he would come back and make sure everything worked. However, I signed up for a fibre optic line service over a year ago. BTC delivered the equipment to my home shortly thereafter and then, nothing. Why should I pay for a new line when they are supposed to supply a fibre optic connection?

Also, I have spoken to sooo many customer service people and explained that our security service needs a phone line to function and I feel vulnerable – but that doesn’t seem to make any difference either. I was even promised recently by their fibre optic centre that BTC would run the line connecting my house before Sept 10 and then a technician would hook up the equipment in my home – it’s Oct 5 as I write this and I still have no working phone, nor has anyone from BTC done anything.

  1. Since BPL shut down the BEC online link to download your electricity bill, I have been shut out of my personal account. In trying to set up a new account I am blocked because my email has been used for other rental properties and you cannot have more than one account linked to an email address.

Knowing there must be some way round this, I have emailed numerous times for assistance and gotten no reply. If you call the number given for customer service, no one answers.

I read that our BPL bills would go down 30 percent effective August but they must mean August 2021 because mine keeps going up with no new usage! And I can’t even get a bill to see how my usage has changed. Are they merely guessing when they bill you or are they actually reading my meter ...and if they are reading it, how do you find out if something is wrong because you can’t actually get to speak to anyone?

  1. Then we have my water supplier – Aquapure Water Company – that I have been with since 1980. Their home delivery department has suddenly forgotten where my house is located.

The once regular Wednesday delivery is now a free-for-all guessing game. When I call and complain, I’m asked to understand that because of COVID they are experiencing some problems. The only way I have managed to get water delivered is by calling and texting repeatedly the private cell of the service manager. Why should I have to do that? After six weeks of this I am completely fed up... how long does it take to get your act together and notify your customers that their delivery day is changing... or tell them you might not make your regular day but they will ensure you get our water delivery that week? Communication – why does it have to be as a complaint versus advising your customers?

  1. Finally we have Cable Bahamas - where do I begin? On Saturday the 26th, internet services were knocked out in my area due to the storm. It appears that numerous homes were affected but rather than send a technician to service the entire area, each household had to individually log a service call and, let me tell you, that is an experience. While holding for the “next available customer service representative” our wait time went from an initial 45 mins to 33 mins, to 65 mins, to 89 mins and then jumped to 149 mins. How is this possible when I was holding on the entire time?

If you do hang up in frustration and try again, many times the recording skips along and doesn’t offer the option of leaving your phone contact for someone to call you back... which I eventually did but have years to hear from anybody!

Maybe I’m being naive in expecting a company to offer service promptly when they can’t even get their TV guide page to work half the time?

So back to my original question, are Bahamian companies using COVID as an excuse for poor or no customer service? I am a single individual but have had problems with four companies recently, companies whose bills I pay promptly.

I cannot be the only person having problems – so my question is, why? Why, when companies are losing customers right and left because they can’t afford their services, why don’t we see them going above and beyond to retain their customers by offering quick, efficient service or is that just an oxymoron when discussing anything Bahamian?

Come on people, stop blaming everything on COVID and start supplying the service your customers have every right to expect and employees, stop cruising at work doing the bare minimum. Earn that pay cheque.... and recognise how damn lucky you are to be getting one.

COLLEEN DUNKLEY

Nassau,

October 6, 2020

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