Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Telefonica Is A Bit Sucky

One of the absolute basic rules of selling stuff, especially online, is to make it really easy for your customer to pay. Make it so that the customer barely notices they've paid. We have the technology.

For reasons I won't go into (okay, it's teh recession, man, you can haz ch33zburger, g00d gess), our Telefonica payment did not go through at the start of this month. No worries, I have cash money now, I'll pay the bill.

Telefonica themselves don't handle the dirty stuff, despite having a gazillion shops scattered around the planet. You can pay into various banks (but only between 9.00 and 9.05, on Mondays or Thursdays when there's an R in the month), or any Post Office at any time.

So I go to the Post Office, hand over the bill, and the clerk types stuff into the computer.

Computer says no.

She tries a different combination of possibilities.

Computer still says no.

I'm irritated, but go away without hardly killing anybody, and return the next day with other numbers that might work, and a sunny, optimistic smile on face.

Computer said no.

You may be wondering, if you've ever lived in one of the many extant versions of the real world, why this is so difficult. So am I. The Telefonica computer system that is installed in all Spanish Post Offices wants four pieces of information: name, phone number, type of identification (CIF/NIF, passport, residence card) and the number that corresponds to the selected type of ID. Plenty of scope for error there, then, and absolutely no need for anything more than the phone number. All of the info is printed on the bill anyway, so it's just redundant, time-wasting crap.

I went home and called Telefonica. They do actually provide service in English, and the boy on the phone confirmed that all the info I gave him was correct, and it should work. Go back and try again, he said. Fuck off and die, I replied. I tell him I suspect there's a programming error in the system (yay, Keefie, call centre operatives know all about stuff like that). The CIF/NIF that puzzled you a bit earlier, well, CIF is a company registration number, NIF is a Spaniard's National ID number. I have neither. I have an NIE (Foreigner's ID number). So I think that's where the glitch is. I ask the dude if he can change the ID type to Passport. Sure, he says, and tries to do it. Ah, he says, can't do it. There's already an account with that passport number. Yes, I say, that'll be the old place in Chueca. He confirms that this is the case. But, I say, that account is closed, yes? Yes, it is, but it stays on the system like, forever.

I can't get him to understand how illogical this all is: I might have five properties scattered throughout Spain - do I need a separate form of ID for each one? He's given up. Go to Post Office, go to Post Office... is all he can say now.

I'm only trying to give them money. If any of you wanted to give me money I'd be bending over backwards to get it off you. But that's because I'm not a state-owned can't-be-bothered used-to-be-monopoly.

Oh, there we go, Internet just got cu--

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