Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Daily Report: Cabull and Footbawl

Four days ago, Epril went to Parasat and signed us up. "Make sure to get the digital box and digital package so that I can watch World Cup," I told her.

What the guy at the company told Epril (apparently) was that there were no digital boxes, and asked if we would take an analog box temporarily instead. What Epril heard from the guy at the company was that there were no digital boxes on hand today, and that they would come out once they had a digital box in a few days and install it then.

So the Parasat guys got here today and did the installation. It wasn't until they were almost done that I noticed that they were installing an analog box. "Sorry, no digital boxes," I was told.

There are three problems with this: The analog cable box only goes up to channel 99. So the digital channels that I'm already paying for (in the 100's, 200's, and 300's... which are the ones I most want to see... History Channel, 4 Discovery Channels) I won't be able to watch. Second, based on what I've heard, some people wait weeks or months for digital boxes from Parasat. (They are always out of stock.) Third, World Cup is on channel 354. My analog box can't show that.

"But sir, you can watch World Cup on the analog box." (Well, that must be true since Steve down the street has an analog box and I've been watching World Cup there.) "Can we install the analog box and then come back in a while with the digital box?" At first I said no, because I figured once the guys left me with a completed installation, they'd possibly forget about me and my not having a digital box; better leave things unfinished to ensure their return. Then I said yes, because I still wanted to watch World Cup and it was entirely possible they wouldn't return anyway. "We'll be back with a digital box," the installation guys said as they left.

An hour later, I get a phone call from Parasat. (1) "I'm sorry sir. We are out of digital boxes." (2) "No sir, we don't know when more digital boxes will be arriving... maybe a week or two weeks... but as soon as they do, we'll get you a box." (3) "Yes sir, you can watch World Cup on your analog box. It's on channel 26, Pay Per View. Just agree to pay 500 pisos and we'll turn it on for you."

The first part was annoying because it meant that I was getting sold something of which Parasat had no supply. The second part was really annoying because, as far as I'm concerned, "I don't know... a week or two weeks" is the same as "I don't know." But that last part just pissed me right off: I had to pay again for something I had already paid for with my digital subscription.

So I went on the CDO Expats group on Yahoo and wrote (with language condign to my pissed off mood) about what had just happened. In the other members' replies were the hoped-for condolences and commiserations and shared bad experiences with Parasat. Also, I know that Parasat keeps an eye on our Yahoo group for disgruntled customers (of which there are many): If you go into a Parasat office and yell at them, it won't do any good. But go on the internet and make a stink...

Within an hour, a lady from Parasat who is a member of the Yahoo CDO Expats Group had posted a reply to my original post, apologizing. She guaranteed me that my World Cup Pay Per View would be free. She guaranteed me that my bill would not include the digital fee until I got a digital box. An hour after that, she called me back saying a digital box had just been left at the office from a customer cancelling his or her account and would I care to have that installed first thing tomorrow? Then, at 8:00 tonight, the cable guy showed up at my house with the digital box and installed it and refused all tips.

Now I appreciate that. But there are two facts to consider. First, Parasat is a company that has 3 things without which it cannot survive: (1) Lots of big satellite dishes to catch the signal, (2) lots of cable to carry the signal, and (3) lots of cable boxes to broadcast the signal. So first: Why would Parasat ever run out of cable boxes at all? When I went there 2½ years ago and wanted digital, I was told they had no digital boxes. When I went there 1½ years ago and wanted to upgrade to digital, I was told they had no digital boxes. So this stupid situation I was in is not something new.

Second: I'm certain that I am not the only person waiting for a digital cable box from Parasat right now. I'm certain that the digital cable box in my living room should have gone to someone else who had been waiting longer than I had: Someone who didn't go online and yell and swear as loudly and publicly as I did. I realize that's a bit of a damned-if-you-do / damned-if-you-don't thing to lay on the people at Parasat who went out of their way to help me out. But I'm a bit too polite to write this blog post without apologizing to the person whose box I received: in case anybody who is waiting for a digital box from Parasat is reading.

Anyway: I've got my Parasat digital cable installed after a bunch of unnecessary frustration and ranting. Parasat: Get your act together, and figure out a way to keep an intelligent supply of digital boxes on hand. It's simply bullshit that you keep running out of something; that you can't learn your lesson after 2½ years about how many boxes to order from your supplier so that you don't run out. Really.

Anyway, I was up at 2:30 a.m. to watch the Netherlands score one of the prettiest goals of the World Cup on their way to a 2-3 victory. They are my underdog team of second option (after beating my Brazilians) to beat either Germany or Spain. Tomorrow night is the match the world is waiting for: It's literally even odds on Germany or Spain.

1 comment:

David said...

If I had known about the expat yahoo group when I was having my experiences with Parasat back at Frontiera perhaps things would have been different. Instead, every chance I get to tell people how bad Parasat is, I do. And without returning the 4,000 pesos they stole I'll never stop.