After eight weeks, however, the television started experiencing connection problems and a technician was sent ’round to sort it out. The trouble was that he didn’t; or rather he did, but not for long. The next time, Tiscali managed to fix the fault online. They asked Gimlet if he had been traveling and explained that whenever he went away he should switch everything off to avoid complications. The next time he went abroad, Gimlet followed their instructions to the letter, but on his return the screen was once again blank. The problems persisted to the point at which Gimlet could stand it no longer. He decided to take his business to Sky. The customer-services operator at Sky was sympathetic and assured him that his troubles would soon be over. Gimlet could have sworn that the voice at the other end of the line was that of the blandandering young salesman he had previously signed up with at Tiscali.
“So did everything work after that?” I inquired.
“Locked in!” he replied. “If you think you can wish Tiscali a jaunty goodbye and head off into the sunset, you are wrong. It is harder to get out of than rehab. To break off relations, you are required to undergo a recorded telephone interview with a person trained in torture. The plan is to coax, warn, threaten, and to generally bully you into submission. First they inform you that you will lose your home telephone line, a statement which is patently untrue; next they insult you by offering you a better deal than the one they first gave you. Finally, they will remind you that you will be charged for a number of additional items which may have escaped your notice when signing the contract. As far as the telephone is concerned, British Telecom will guarantee that you can keep your current number. You will, of course, have to wait a minimum of five working days for a BT engineer to pay a visit. You will be informed by letter of his visit’s date, which could be any time between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Unfortunately they will not be able to provide you with broadband until after the engineer has done his work, and it could take up to 18 hours for the head office to be informed that the engineer is done. Once the paperwork has been completed and if you still wish to proceed with your broadband installation, another engineer will be sent ’round in a minimum of five working days. In the meantime you should receive a new router box through the Royal Mail. This cannot be guaranteed to arrive, but if it doesn’t you will be advised that it hasn’t by registered letter. The registered letter should arrive between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and if no one is in, it will be duly returned to someone.
“Your television service will be taken on by Sky and an engineer, etc….You will also be sent a welcome pack containing your new Sky card. This may not arrive, as many such letters are wrongly addressed. Any attempt to rectify the situation with any of the above-mentioned service providers will require you to answer some security questions which may not prove possible because of discrepancies over your mother’s maiden name. This can be rectified by the account holder writing a letter in person and black ink (Printed).”
Tiscali was sold to Carphone Warehouse on June 30th 2009 and was rebranded as part of Talk Talk in January 2010. Talk Talk was founded in Leeds in 2003.
Unfortunately Gimlet has no new investment tips this week due to technical difficulties. More when he returns from Petropavlovsk, a gold-mining project in far eastern Russia.
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