Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just sign on the line

Every so often in Culebrón a robot voice phones us offering better and cheaper telephone services. Yesterday evening, in a fit of something, I pressed the button for more information and found myself talking to a woman with a very thick South American accent.

The sales spiel was all about faster Internet, free National calls, a couple of other useful/useless services and lower prices for the whole lot. As we pay too much and only have a 3Mgb connection I was interested but also cautious. We had a hell of a job getting connected last year because the only company willing or able to put in the line was the old state monopoly company. I think that, by law, they have to pick up on providing the lines that don't make commercial sense. A bit like the Post Office delivering to some remote Highland cottage for the same price as it does to central London. In order to make it worth their while we'd agreed to stay with them for at least 18 months.

When it looked like I was going to buy I was passed to a man but when it got to the bit where he asked me for my bank details I said no, not till you've emailed me the conditions. He explained why it was essential that he had access to my money as soon as possible. I explained why it was essential that he was denied access to my money till I was absolutely certain. He asked again, I said no again. There were two or more rounds of essentially the same conversation. I believe the technique, learned in all those Assertiveness courses all those years ago is called the broken record technique, same reply over and over.

The written offer wasn't really much more than a large print sales pitch but there were certain clues to the pitfalls. In fact even one of the headline offers had been massaged down a bit, instead of offering faster Internet we now had exactly the same speed as we have at the moment. It turned out too that we would have to pay a penalty fee to our present telephone company for breaking the contract, that there would be an undefined period when we might only have dial up Internet access and that we would have to deal with all the paperwork with the old phone company ourselves.

I suggested to Adriane, we'd been on first name terms for a while now, that he should phone back when our original contract expired. You may have heard him slamming the phone down about half seven yesterday afternoon.

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