Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bredda Jackass Gon' on Holiday

A polite version of this story has just been submitted to the local newspapers so let's see how they deal with it. Meanwhile, I can vent in my own way here.

I have my mobile phone and depend on it just like every one else, so I am not shocked to read this morning that Cable and Wireless (who operate our regional star, LIME) made profits of over US$500 million/B$1 billion during the past year. The Caribbean operations were glittering, pulling in the best revenues of the whole pack and cutting operating costs. Pity the poor 1200 souls who will be laid off in the Caribbean region, then.

But pity done. Jackass running wild with LIME on his tongue.

The past day has heard me screaming loudly and boiling internally at the ostrich called "LIME". I am reading books on arson as I write. The story in brief, and it's not the first time.

"Catch 22" has nothing on this:
  1. Each postpaid mobile phone customer has a credit limit; but the company rarely communicates this unless it is exceeded. Bong!
  2. Occasionally such a customer will get a text message saying that he/she has exceeded the credit limit and that the bill should be settled to avoid disconnection; note that this message comes ahead of the date that a bill is due (in my case the bill is due to be paid January 22). Bi-bong!
  3. The customer pays promptly but the service is still disconnected. Tinkle that bell.
  4. The customer calls 'customer service' repeatedly to find out why the service has been disconnected. 'Customer service' confirms that the bill has been paid and the balance is zero, and that service will be reinstated. But it is not. This can go on for a while, in my case, 24 hours. Banggarang bang!
  5. The customer visits a LIME shop, this time at Sheraton Mall. A LIME representative confirms the bill has been paid but that there still remains a balance outstanding. The customer has no way of seeing this and therefore settling it! This is what must be paid to have the account reinstated. Abangarang bang!
  6. But, LIME at Sheraton cannot accept payments for these bills! One has to go to a Sure Pay outlet. Fortunately, there is one in the mall. One pays, and hopefully one will get reinstated service.
  7. Sure Pay do not take electronic card payments such as from my Scotiabank debit card, but only take cash or check. I have to find an ATM. Clang the bang can!
I have gone through this wringer with LIME/CW and their credit limits at least three times in the past 12 months, and cannot get them to understand that if you see a bill and settle it, one normally takes it that there is nothing more to pay. "Pending charges' are not available for the customer to see until they are billed, yet it is these that block the account! Which part of "stooopid" don't they hear? Imagine going to a restaurant and eating a meal, then paying the bill only to find the door barred when you try to leave, with the owner saying that there are some charges still pending, due to the shippers of the key lime pie. When you ask to see them you're told they are not available for you to see, but in the meantime take a seat. They impound your car and tell you to have a nice day. Would you be fuming?

I am really tired of getting the bureaucratic ostrich in the sand reaction each time I make this point to LIME/CW. If the 'customer service' available by phone or the customer checking his/her account online cannot see these charges then there is something really wrong with how this company does its accounting. Which part of hard ears they don't understand?

My anger and frustration were at their peak today because in amongst all of this havoc created by a bureaucrat, the island was gripped by a total power outage. So, in addition I had to deal with:

LIME being closed initially and an operative saying, "We open the doors 30 minutes after the power come back". OK, I wait and meet a mad Bajan woman talking to herself outside, saying that she's not going to wait for the power to come back, and she's trying to tell me how Bajans are normal people. I let her speak to my friend, Thesephone.

Sure Pay's operative in Courts told me, "De systim down; we get powa cut." I ask when it may be back up. "Don' know." Back she went to looking at nails.

I find another Sure Pay outlet in the Mall but they send me to have to get cash out of the ATM, hoping that the power outage has not affected the cash machine. Thankfully, money flowed out like rain.

I do not need to go onto Facebook to vent as suggested by some in a recent post on Barbados Free Press.

But, this place is just one hair wringing experience after another and people seem to just laugh it off. Here ye. We are on the cusp of development. Laugh your head off, then, and kick it into the gutter for good measure.

Jamaicans have the right expression for this. Dem bad to rahtid!

1 comment:

Dazum said...

agree.I got rid of anything to do with C@W LIME Home & Business Phone and Caribsurf. Im still getting bills from them as if nothing happened. I now use a blackberry from DIGICEL as my home & business Phones. TeleBarbados for my internet and they will soon be bringing out landlines.

Keep up the good fight.