Last Friday night, I was rudely interrupted while doing some online research. My Internet service (DSL) was disconnected. I figured it was another outage and started doing something else. After about an hour, I found out it wasn’t just a simple outage.
I never realize how much I depend on being online until I no longer am. This website operates online (static files) and I have to be able to upload to it somehow. I use Wi-Fi only on my mobile phone – I don’t pay for any data services.
There are multiple people to blame, perhaps I am as well. I may have been able to avoid this disconnection if I hadn’t had the ringer turned off on the landline. PLDT, my ISP, only contacts me on the landline. I have no way of knowing, but they could have tried to call me before disconnecting me. In my defense, someone from PLDT’s telemarketing division tries to call me at random times during the week, trying to sell me an upgrade. I’ve told them to stop calling me, but they won’t.
This is the first time we paid the monthly bill at the SM Store within the SM City Olongapo mall, which we paid on the second. Or so we thought. Whoever punched in the account number screwed up two numbers and the person who got the receipt didn’t double-check it (that was a bilas of mine, Alex). No one looked at the receipt after that.
This is also the last time we’ll pay the bill through the SM Store. From now on, I’ll pay it at one of my banks (I have accounts at three banks) or I’ll go directly to the PLDT office. I won’t get screwed over twice.
They cut off the Internet connection at 5 pm (or possibly 6 pm, I wasn’t paying attention to the time) on Friday. My daughter-in-law, Cathy, tried to connect a little later with her mobile phone and got a web browser notice from PLDT about the disconnection. Okay, they said “restricted” but the only websites we could connect to belonged to PLDT. It may as well have been a complete disconnection.
Every instance before this, and there have been many instances, was out of our hands. This is the first time where a mix-up like this caused a service disconnection. We always pay our bills at the beginning of the month, even if one or more isn’t due until later in the month.
Every other instance was caused by a disruption in the signal. Usually it was telephone line taken down either by high winds or an errant truck driver hitting a pole.
There are always alternatives and a backup plan. I don’t feel like playing that game, but I’ll describe some of it anyway. I could borrow a pocket Wi-Fi device from another bilas and put a load on it. It’s a slow Internet connection in this neighborhood, where 3G rules the day. Painfully slow.
If I just want to use my mobile phone to do everything, I can pay for a data load nearby. I don’t want use my mobile phone for much of anything, except for Facebook and Facebook Messenger. I can live without talking to family and relatives outside of the country for a few days as long as I can text them.
If it’s something I can’t resolve within a week, I can always visit an Internet café. I don’t like Internet cafés.
My wife, Josie, and Cathy left with receipts in hand shortly after 7 pm on Friday night. They were back by 8:30 pm. Josie said they fixed the payment at the SM Store. The customer service agent at the SM Store told them to call a certain number to follow up. Cathy did just that on Saturday morning.
If the SM store sent the payment through to PLDT on Friday night or even on Saturday, PLDT’s billing department would’ve taken care of it before today. I don’t know what time the billing department started working on Saturday or if they even work on Saturday but I seem to remember someone handles billing on Saturday.
I sent text messages to the people who matter yesterday. Josie and Cathy returned to the SM Store when it opened this morning because I still didn’t have an Internet connection.
Since the SM Store couldn’t tell Josie when the payment would go through to PLDT, she went to PLDT and paid the bill (again). We can only hope a credit will appear in the PLDT account for next month’s bill.
My Internet service was finally restored at about 1:30 pm, local time. Now it’s time to put this story to bed (an old newspaper idiom) and continue with the next one waiting in the queue.
By: RT Cunningham
May 21, 2017
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