Your internet is out. This isn’t the first, the third, or the 20th time this has happened….this month alone. You’ve called and called and called. When you finally DO get someone that understands English (somewhat), the only response you get is one of two things:
- I’ll make a notation on your account (their favorite)
- We’ll send someone out there within 24 to 48 hours (they probably won’t show)
Being the smart consumer from a developed country, you don’t fall for this, and demand to speak to a supervisor. You’ll be put on hold for what seems half a decade, only to be told that the supervisor is on another call and will call you back. They won’t. Welcome to the Chinese trained brick wall called Philippines Customer Service.
The playing field:
The choices of ISP in the Philippines is a slim one. The majority of them are DSL or USB “Internet Sticks”. If you can avoid these, then ABSOLUTELY AVOID THESE. The service is horrible. The signal is horrible. And if you think that SMARTBRO Internet is going to be 3MB/s to 7MB/s like they promise, think twice. Their customer service will tell you that 275KB/s is “within acceptable range”. To be honest, I use Sky Cable myself. It’s 5MB/s for 1,000php/mo (2,000php for the wireless modem plan). More importantly, IT’S CONSISTENT. My speed hardly varies, and my uptime is usually great. In fact, during Typhoon Mario, I didn’t lose Internet once. With DSL, it was a given that it would go down and stay down for at least a month.
I’m going to just save us all some time here and say that I’ve used almost all of the ISP’s here, and talked extensively to people who’ve used the ones I avoided. So far, every single one but Sky has blown chunks. So if you can, use Sky. It’s the closest you’re ever going to have to Internet like a developed country. That’s your comparison. It’s either Sky (passable) or everyone else (early death from a heart attack brought on by stress).
Getting VIP treatment.
Here’s the trick. SOUND IMPORTANT. It’s not hard. Firm, even tones. Good English. And a little name dropping. That’s right. You see, there ARE two agencies the ISP’s fear. It’s the Department Of Trade And Industry (DTI) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Now…DTI has been itching to get into the mix. They WANT to go after these ISP’s. The problem is, nobody calls them. Most Filipinos don’t even know they exist, and the ones that do can’t be bothered with the process of filing the proper complaints. Can’t blame them, though. The bureaucracy around here blows the mind.
OOPS! Did that name just come out?
So, picture this. You’re going back and forth…back and forth…finally you ask for that supervisor and get the scripted excuse. Instead of blowing up, just inform them that it’s fine. You have the Undersecretary of the Department Of Trade and Industry waiting for your email response as to how <insert your ISP here> has handled your problem, and you’ll generously wait for one hour for the supervisor to call you back. Also, make sure to get that supervisor’s name before you hang up by saying something like “Oh, may I also have your supervisor’s name to include in my report? They especially want to know if I was called back.” That’s how you get some people moving. You will very likely get your call back. If not, call again and reapply, this time a bit more firmly, and with a reminder that the first failure to call has been reported, and that DTI wants to know if they are completely ignoring you.
Back it up!
Of course, you’re no paper tiger. You’re an educated foreigner who knows how to write a good email. You just need a target for that bad boy missile of an email you’re going to write. Fear not. Start with this email:
That’s the office of the Undersecretary. She can get the ball rolling for you. But there are some important points here:
- Do NOT start off with just emailing her. Go through the process, writing down names and dates and incident report #’s. Have all of your information, including the responses you got. You have to show that you made a solid effort to resolve your problem, and that they’re simply not giving you good service.
- Be VERY respectful and courteous in your communications with DTI. If you start ranting and calling people names, you look like a loony. You will definitely get more traction with these people if you sound like a level headed guy who’s trying to resolve a problem in a civil manner. That’s the kind of people that they want to stand up for.
- If you aren’t the writing type, and are unsure about your grammar, then have someone you trust to proof read it for you and make corrections. You want to sound very professional. txt spk and such do not apply.
- DO NOT give this lady’s name (or any other name you get) specifically. ONLY use the reference “Undersecretary of Department Of Trade And Industry”.
So there you have it. I, personally, have developed this system over the past 4 years and multiple ISP’s. I now have the cell # of a supervisor for my ISP (that’s a big no-no for them to do, btw). If I have a problem, I contact her and get the job done right. And all because she thinks I’m a big shot connected with government agencies.
Give it a try, and good luck!Published in