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Never send an American to do a French job… October 3, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in computers, life, Marseille.

We finally figured out what was going on with our internet. For your entertainment, here is the history:

Aug 3: Ordered from www.free.fr.
Aug 20: The modem arrives and works. Glorious!!
Aug 21: 10 hours later the modem ceases working.
Aug 22-Sept 2: Repeated calls to their help line. We have to pay for these calls to the tune of 0.35/minute.
Sept 3: Free technician comes out and verifies that, indeed, we have plugged the right cable into the right line. “It is a FranceTelecom problem. We’ll have it resolved in less than two weeks” he says.
Sept 6: Free tells us that they accidentally canceled our subscription, and have reinstated it. It will take 1-3 weeks to get working.
Sept 20: We call and are told it will happen very soon.
Sept 28: We call and are told it will happen very soon.
Oct 3: We bring in the big guns.

There is, thank goodness, someone assigned to help us out-of-towners get started here in Marseille. And she is very good. I wasn’t there when she got in touch with the technical support people (which we’d not been able to get through to), but she found out that the problem is the Free’s “internet cable” is full. They have asked FranceTelecom for a new network, but have no idea how long it will take to get it. I would have loved to have seen that conversation: we pushed pretty hard and never were able to get a straight answer.

How did they not see this coming? They should have known what was happening ahead of time and pre-ordered. And why couldn’t they tell us that? I find it rather aggravating that they kept stringing us along – “it will be very quick! Just sit tight!” When it comes right down to it, it may be that FranceTelecom is dragging its feet doing this work, but Free should have been much better about it.

So, now we will cancel. Of course, to cancel means we have to send a signed letter along with the modem back to Free. That will take at least a week. And then we have to order a new service. And that will probably take 2-3 weeks to get turned on. So, probably another month without internet. What a bother! That is almost a 1/3 of my stay over here without internet.

Free is cheaper, and it gives you more than the others. As everyone around here has said, if you can get it, it is by far the best deal. That if is a might big if, however.



1. Fred - October 3, 2007

Damn! Sounds like Kafkaesque turned into Deep Space Kafka if that is conceiveable. What about carrier pigeons? Marseille you say?!

2. gordonwatts - October 3, 2007

Yes, Marseille — but I don’t think this is the town. I’ve got another similar story — and I’ll post that one as well when things finally get sorted out. At any rate, sorry about the continued lack of blog posts!

3. Damaged More Than My Ego « Life as a Physicist - October 10, 2007

[…] I guess it is time for a new portable. If only Lenovo would update their X61 with the high-resolution screen – as they have been saying since the beginning of the summer (hmmm. sounds like Free!). […]

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