Telkom Teletubbies My Life 13 MAY 2008

TelkomAh, if only Telkom was as user friendly as a Teletubby – which of course unfortunately they aren’t, a fact that more than just a few South Africans have testified to in the past.

Funnily enough, my own experience with Telkom started out sweetly enough. Just before my move here to Gordon’s Bay Chantelle and I went to the Telkom Direct shop in Tygervalley where we spoke with an exceedingly friendly and helpful lady by the name of Anneline who got us all signed up for the Closer 3 + ASDL package and then did her best to fast-track a line installation date for us so that we could be up and running by the time I moved in on the 1st of April.

And that’s about when my good experience Telkom ended. From that point onwards we had numerous miscommunications with Telkom and its technicians, resulting in at least two installation call cancellations and then finally a confirmed installation call for the 29th of April, a full month after the point where I had actually needed the line active and running already!

Thankfully this time Telkom stuck to their guns and I organised to be at home on the 29th, refusing to set foot out of the house until that damn technician had arrived. As the day grew longer I grew more and more worried that he wasn’t going to pitch but thankfully just before I could call the coast guard in to come and look for him, I heard the doorbell ring and there standing on my doorstep was my much awaited technician.

In the end, the job didn’t take all that long to complete and the technician was pretty decent bloke, and pretty soon my two points in the kitchen were wired and open and the technician bade me farewell as he left for his next appointment. Excitedly I awaited Chantelle’s return from work and off we shot to Telkom Direct in Somerset Mall to proceed to stage 2 of the process.

Unfortunately for us though, long weekend fever was already in the air and we were met by an absolute stonewall in the shop. No one was interested in helping us, looking up our contract or even just giving us some information – these guys were on holiday already, and nothing but nothing you were going to say was going to dissuade them. Chantelle was on the verge of jump kicking over the counter and taking the consultant out when I decided that it was time to go and we hurriedly backed out before the fuming rage of C could be unleashed.

More than a little pissed off, the two of us then marched across the corridor to Game and purchased a phone instead, so that we could at least test if the damn line was working or not at home. I found a nice plain and simple Panasonic, exactly what I was looking for, and off we twaddled back home to test it out.

Success! According to the ‘consultants’ at Telkom Direct in Somerset Mall, we don’t have a contract, never even mind the ASDL connection, but there it was… a ring tone. Okay, admittedly it sounds like an engaged ring tone, but we are able to make and receive calls on the line so it looks A-okay to me :)

Which then brought me back down to Earth with the thought of “Well, now what about the ASDL which you now apparently don’t qualify for?” Luckily for me though, I have a consumer rights little fighter in my corner and C was not going to take this matter lying down. No, the next day she was in Bellville sorting matters out (well she was actually there for a doctor’s appointment but Telkom was second on her list, I assure you). Amazingly enough, as she later relayed to me, on walking into the Telkom Direct shop in Tygervalley, standing in a queue and then finally approaching the very same Anneline lady from before, this woman actually recalled who we were! She remembered my surname, our new address and pretty much all our details – and not just remembered, she even went as far as to help us out again!

Sifting through our paperwork, making phone calls and organising our stuff, she eventually told Chantelle that we just needed to wait until Monday for all the upcoming public holidays to pass and then she would phone us and organise the final hurdle, following which we need to come and collect the modem from her! Talk about a Telkom superstar employee! This is the type of person that makes you want to write to the boss singing all their praises!

Okay, so she was sick on Monday and Tuesday in the end, but we did end up getting our modem on the Thursday and I did get around to doing the self-install on the Friday and I did get around to doing the line activation on the Saturday, but now I finally have everything up and running and my ASDL headache has now been resolved. Ah, no more worries and my home office is finally complete! :)

Of course, the only drawback to having everything finally in place is that I can no longer blame the crappy Vodacom connection if I don’t feel like working any more!

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.