For those of you who have ever questioned the existence of Hell, I'm here to tell you that it is real ... and I have been living in it for the past five weeks.
The Devil I unknowingly chose to dance with is better known by its earthly name — Vodafone.
It wasn't a big ask ... I simply wanted to change from a capped data plan to unlimited. Easily fixed by sending an email from one department to another, requesting the lifting of the current cap — no switches to be flicked, no technicians needed to attend, and the modem was already in place.
It could have been achieved instantly but I conceded that it was probably easier, for billing purposes, to commence the unlimited service at the start of a new account cycle.
My trip to Hell was under way.
As an underhanded way of roping me into a 24-month contract, I apparently needed a whole new modem which would arrive in five-to-seven business days. It didn't.
It took two further phone calls to discover the original order had not been "actioned" or had been "lost" — I'm not sure which Vodaphone Ninja was right as they were hard to understand at the best of times, safe and sound in their call centre far far away.
A new order was placed but, in the meantime, I kept having my internet service cut off, with messages that I was out of data. That was basically forcing me to agree to purchase more, even though a call to Vodafone verified that I did still actually have data available.
I was told that it was just a warning message and assured that no extra charges had been incurred on the account. I got no satisfactory response when I asked how my service could be cut when I had not exceeded my limit.
It was like being held hostage and felt like corporate blackmail.
The new modem arrived the very next day. Hooray, I gleefully thought, unlimited at last. I ripped into that courier pack like a kid on Christmas morning.
I unplugged the old modem, installed the new one and prepared to be amazed.
No ... of course, it could never be that easy.
An altogether new Ninja, one of several I had now dealt with, told me on a call that lasted for 64 minutes, most of which was spent on hold listening to God-awful music that was making my ears bleed, that connection would not be possible until the following Monday.
I let them know in no uncertain terms that I was not a happy camper and that I had better not receive any more bloody messages demanding I purchase more data. I was assured I wouldn't, and they would just keep topping me up with 100-gig packages as required. I took them at their word.
Meanwhile, I went to the letterbox where I retrieved the Vodafone account complete with an extra $100 worth of charges for additional data.
The slow smouldering singe of Hell had now progressed to full-out flames of fury, stoked by inept Ninjas serving their tyrannical master with so much lost in translation.
Anyhoo, that's whole other story — let's just focus on the unlimited part.
The weekend rolled by and, yes, you guessed it, I received more data demands and internet cut-offs. I became too afraid to open my browser.
Monday came and went ... more calls, more delays.
Now a tech man had to visit, and that happened late Wednesday. He fixed the problem but still I couldn't connect.
More calls, the last of which actually reduced me to tears and I hung up wishing a real Ninja would appear to put me out of my misery. Kill me nunchucks, a death star ... I don't care just please end it now.
It's Thursday, the new and altogether unnecessary modem is finally doing its thing but it didn't have to be this hard.
I've risen from the ashes, just in time to do battle with Vodafone's accounting Ninjas — #wishmeluck
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