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My Telefonica Disaster


Why Telefonica Movistar are causing me extreme stress part 1

Back in 2007 we bought a holiday house in an enchanting spot, high up in the hills of Pilona, Asturias, Northern Spain. From first viewing to completing on the house took around three months. Though beautiful, it occupied a secluded spot which had a very limited mobile phone signal, consequently, as we had family in the UK and wanted to be sure we could be reached, and indeed could reach someone in case of emergency, we felt a reliable telephone line to be essential. There appeared to be only one option at the time, Telefonica. I had heard some pretty bad things about this company, lots of Internet forum posts, telling tales of woe, indifference, incompetence and terrible customer service. I am however, here to tell you, that in my experience of Telefonica, these were underestimates of just how truly, spectacularly, awful this organisation is, at every conceivable level. In fact it seems improbable to me that Telefonica could actually achieve this level of appalling if they had not created a strategy to support the depth of dreadful service they give.

In the seven years we have had dealings with this fiasco of a communications company the only consistent factor has been the organisations unswerving ability to be terrible at everything. If you are offered an alternative between using Telefonica Movistar or going with two old cocoa tins and a long piece of string, think very carefully about the latter. It will probably be as effective and may save you a great deal of money as well as mental anguish.

I won’t bore you with the detail but in short it took 3 months to buy the house and then over a year to get ‘connected’ by Telefonica. Actually connected is probably too strong a word. Able to communicate intermittently, subject to weather conditions, visibility and the ability to have a conversation in an echo chamber would be more accurate.

I will never forget the look of pain and anguish on my wife, Jacqui’s face as the two engineers unloaded the antennae we apparently had to endure in order to have a simple phone. Those of you old enough to remember the film Goldfinger may recall the 1960’s version of the giant laser that James Bond narrowly avoids being cut in half by? Well that gives you some idea. It comprised a satellite dish of just under a meter in diameter, with a transducer (the thing that sticks out with a torch like thingy on the end) of nearly a meter in length. This apparatus, which would not look out of place at NASA or in Thunderbirds, would apparently need to be bolted to the wall of the house in the only spot at the time, we could use as a small terrace. Our entire outside seating area with the best views from anywhere on the property would be dominated by this monstrous, ugly and impossible to disguise hardware, there was, we were told, no choice. As Jacqui’s mum had recently become ill with dementia and our daughter was away at University in the UK, and whilst we considered calling the whole thing off, we really had no option but to concur. So up went the satellite and down went our spirits. It was some considerable time before Jacqui could actually look at this monstrosity poking out of our lovely house without bursting into tears!

Fast forward 7 years. Having paid Telefonica  getting on for a couple of thousand euro for their incredibly flaky phone and an internet connection which made watching paint dry seem like an all action white knuckle ride, at the start of 2013 the whole thing stopped working completely, no phone, no internet, no nothing just the scrap iron sticking out of the house. We made several attempts to report this but without a telephone Telefonica may as well be based on Alpha Centauri (maybe our satellite dish would have at last found a suitable purpose). This company has no other lines of communication.  So, as the equipment no longer worked at all and whilst I am happy to support worthy causes, paying Telefonica 30 Euro a month for absolutely nothing seemed, well, stupid. We set about trying to cancel the contract, this took merely four or five months and we actually ended up paying for 6 months of ‘service’ we did not have but when dealing with an organisation like Telefonica Movistar you quickly learn that no matter how low on the scale of lamentable service you may estimate them to be, they can find somewhere lower.

Then one day towards the end of the summer last year a van arrived at the house and two men jumped out and removed the space telescope.... no wait a minute.... that was a dream sequence.

One day toward the end of the summer last year 2013, having finally received confirmation that the contract had been cancelled, having had to pay a few more euro into the bank and send letters recorded delivery to confirm the confirmation. We thought we were finally free,  all that remained was the removal of the dish. We then received an invoice for 2500 Euros for the ‘equipment’.  This is the equipment we had never wanted, the equipment that did not work, the equipment that, to coin a phrase, is a ‘carbuncle on the face of an old friend’. The same equipment that we had spent the whole year trying to get removed. The equipment which was causing cracks to appear in the walls which I had to repair. 

Why would I want this stuff? Does Telefonica Movistar think I am setting up a guided missile silo? At what point does anyone actually ‘buy’ telephone receiving equipment? With conventional connections are you charged for the wires and cables that run to the house?   This is beyond absurd, if I had wanted to invest in a state of the art satellite receiving system I most certainly would not have then connected it to a joke like Telefonica.

So now I am being sued by Telefonica for 2500 Euros plus interest, despite my increasingly incredulous letters and emails in Spanish and English, attempting to get someone, anyone, from this deplorable establishment to communicate with me. I am now in the position of having to instruct a solicitor to deal with this, which of course will mean more money and hassle which is entirely not of my making. So the message from this is clear. Do not, under any circumstances, have anything whatsoever to do with Telefonica Movistar or in my experience you will live to regret it. Unless that is, of course, you decide to make use of the satellite antennae and hang yourself from it?

Cracks from the dish.

Cracks I have filled from the dish.