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Helpline maze

Indicative of the branches in the TIM helpline

Indicative of the branches in the TIM helpline

This morning Clive pointed out in alarm a message from TIM, our internet service provider, saying that his 5Gb of upload and download per month were almost used up.

Once used up, the speed would slow to a crawl (not even worth trying to access the internet).

He checked on TIM’s own page and it said he’d used 4Gb, while their statistics said he’d used 2.7.

I picked up the mobile phone and settled down for a long session.

The options on the free helpline branch and branch again. The voice which conveys the recorded messages is gratingly familiar and enthusiastic. The content is almost entirely promotional.

The option for help from an operator is the very last one in each round. Unlucky you if you actually expect it to be there at the end of the maze. By the time you’ve exhausted all avenues, it has disappeared.

You have to know that the only way to reach an operator is to pretend that your phone has been lost or stolen. Now that could be dangerous! Do that in other countries or other situations and your number is instantly cut off and can’t be reconnected without protracted delays.

To add insult to injury, TIM now asks you to tap in the number of the phone or SIM card that has been lost. It was only after an otherwise unhelpful call to the shop which sold us our internet keys that I had the courage to tap in the number of Clive’s key.

And then I was too slow finding the asterisk with which I had to begin and had to hear the whole thing round again!!

When I finally got an operator, she confirmed that Clive has 1Gb left of his 5Gb, which is plenty to see him through to the renewal date of the 27th. (What happened to the 2.7 figure, though, and why are they sending out false alarms by text?)

She also confirmed that the only way to speak to an operator is to go through the farce of typing in a ‘lost’ number.

I sometimes think that it’s almost a full-time job just LIVING here.

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