“Let that be a lesson to you.”
Yes, mum. She should know better: she has had an unpleasant experience with a door-to-door salesperson a long time ago. I can now understand why she was so apprehensive at the thought of having the sales representative in the house.
It was a Wednesday, and I could already see them lurking at a distance. Unfortunately, I was just returning home so all thoughts of pretending to be not at home has to be banished. She was already calling me from the gate. I waved the broadband application form at her: I had coincidently just taken one from my uni at that very same day. She did not relent. “I already have the form,” I assured her.
“Ah, yes, but we need to check whether your number can be used for the broadband connection in this area. We received complaints about the slow connection and long approval for the broadband applications, so we have to go door-to-door and check things out,” she replied. I scrutinised her from top to bottom. The logo was on her cap, t-shirt, and tag. Looks valid, I thought.
“So how do you check whether we’re covered for this area?” I asked her. She was not carrying any gadget or machine with her. How, indeed.
“I’ll just need to come in and fix it,” she answered with a smile. Sigh. No use having the form with me if the broadband connection is not available in my area, so.
She came in and used the phone to dial a toll-free number just to confirm that yes, we do have access to the connection. (Later, I found out that she need not have to come in just to check that. Another reseller offers such services online using Java. Easy peasy. I felt thoroughly cheated at that convenient excuse.) While she was doing that, I had went to the kitchen for a drink – when I returned to the hall, she was already seated on the floor, taking out the contents of her briefcase, and proceeded to tell me of the various subscription packages available, although I already knew them. Then she began filling up the registration form after having a look at our phone bill.
“I’m not thinking of having broadband for now,” I told her, totally puzzled by her actions.
“Oh. Well, you can still book a place – then when you want your account activated, you can just give us a call. You can call this toll-free number here,” she said, and went back to being busy with the form.
“And I don’t need to pay anything for this ‘booking’ thing?”
“You don’t need to pay anything, you’re just booking a place. Now, which package would you want to subscribe to?”
“Can’t I decide this later?” After all, I am not sure of my future plans. What if I jet off to another place to pursue my Masters? What if I am on call at work 24 hours a day?
“It’s better you choose one first, so that your details can be entered into our database immediately. Then when you need the account activated, you can call us.”
And this was where the trouble started. She returned three weeks later with the modem that was included in the package that I had chosen. It was an unfortunate time – late evening, and the garbage disposal truck has just made its rounds in the neighbourhood, leaving a stench on the road. She had to pinch her nose as we talked through the gate.
“I didn’t want this package now,” I emphasized to her a particularly important word.
“Ah, you can return it to the shops anytime,” Either she did not catch my drift, or chose not to. Another thing was that she left the modem on my gate, instead of giving it to me with her own hands (I would not have taken it then). Smart one. I let her go at that. I scoured through the forms for a telephone number to lodge a complaint but could not find any. I resorted to looking for it online, and was amazed to find out that the company is a part of a globally recognized organization – that excels in marketing and communications. Excel all right.
The next morning, my mother made a telephone call to the reseller’s office and was quickly attended to by a pleasant man. We made only one call. He made his own investigations and called us up at least five times to inform us of his findings. It all led to one thing:
“We have deactivated your account. I sincerely apologise on behalf of my marketing office for mis-representation.”
So sorry, Datuk. You may have vowed to give us broadband fast and cheap, but after this – no thanks. ‘Cheap’ way indeed, but not anytime soon.
Oh, and I shall continue to not pay any heed to salespeople outside my door. I am sorry if you are in this line of work, but it would do us both good if you stay away from me.
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