Customer Service, Anyone?

Got a letter in the mail from Swisscom a few days ago (the Swiss telco incumbent carrier) with a reprint of a bill I hadn’t paid. The summary on the back was titled ‘account balance as of march 1, 2001’. The details indicated a billing period from january 16 to february 16. Since we’d left our apartment by january 6 as we relocated to California, I figured I’d simply call them and get that error corrected. Right? Wrong…

There was an 800 number at the bottom of the page so I first called that. I knew it wasn’t going to be free since I was calling from abroad but it was the only number printed there. IT ended up access to that number was completely blocked from abroad! Now how did they expect me to get in touch with them? At that point I also realized that had I not asked the Swiss post office to forward my mail, Swisscom would simply have taken legal action against me without the letter ever reaching me in the first place. Yes, it was sent to my previous address in Switzerland. And yes, I had told Swisscom I was leaving the country back in december last year. How the hell did they expect to find me at that Swiss address two months later?

Since at that point I still needed to get in touch with them, I had to find a number to call. “Let’s try their web site”, I figured. Well Swisscom’s website doesn’t seem to be geared towards existing customers since there’s no customer service phone number posted there (or at least I couldn’t find it within 5 minutes). I ended up looking up one of their offices in the yellow pages.

The girl on the phone was quite nice – and after all she wasn’t responsible for all that administrativia I’d had to go through. Still, she ended up telling me very naturally that this was my december bill. We were now in march 2001, and Swisscom was sending me a december 2000 bill at an address I haven’t been living at for almost 3 months. I can only wish competition heats up further on the Swiss telco market and forces these leftover monopolistic practices to go away.

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