When Bad Service Is The Norm


I’ve been complaining quite a lot recently – going through automated instructions, patiently waiting for the operator, complaining, complaining on to the next official on the line and then on to the next one. And none of my frustrations seems to find a solution.

First came the electricity problem – the power line in my house has lower voltage than it should. Instead of 220-240 volts, I get 180-190. Since mid-August I have done a host of things: talked to the electricity service man responsible for my district, visited the local electricity branch, filed a complaint with their general quality control office, talked to other inhabitants in my district and urged them to go and complain as well. We got assurances, that they will solve the problem. Now – exactly one month after all these efforts, the power line in my house is still as bad.

The second problem I have is with my internet provider. I’ve got Orange’s Flybox for internet. I’m paying 16,000 AMD per month (around $40 US) for a 2 mbps connection. The problem is – I’ve got excellent connection in the mornings and past midnight. But after the afternoon and evening hours the connection lives a life of its own – it comes and goes as it pleases. I’ve called Orange’s service person, went to their service office in my district. The responses I got were basically this – everyone has the same problem, so just live with it.

My third problem is with Beeline’s HiLine internet. A friend asked me to fix their internet. It turned out their internet had been cut off while the family was away for two months. When they came back and made all the overdue payments, their internet didn’t go back up. I checked the modem and found, that their DSL line is not working. Went to Beeline’s online assistant, told about the problem, filed a complaint and got a promise that it will be fixed. They didn’t fix anything. Next day I tried their tech-support phone number, got promises that it will be fixed and nothing happened again. Today – almost a week after the original complaint, my friend still has no internet and I’m tired of going through their automated assistance system again.

All these stories just teach me and thousands of Armenians like me one thing – bad service is the norm and complaints won’t help. Just live with it.

PS: I don’t intent to give up and will continue complaining about all three problems I mentioned above and dozens of others I am having to live with every day. But this really takes so much energy and time, that I sometimes feel it is easier to just leave this country for good and live somewhere, where consumers are approached with care and citizens are taken seriously.

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