05 October 2006

And you thought Comcast was bad...

The only way that I am able to post this now is courtesy of some unsecured wireless network from which I can get a 'Low' or 'Very Low' signal (thank you Apple Network 9a9027). We are supposed to be connecting through our own conncection, provided by a French ISP named Free. They have a really good deal that for 29.90 euros per month you get a high speed ADSL connection, unlimited telephone calls throughout Europe and North America, and a few television channels. Almost too good to be true!

Esther signed a contract with them in early September to connect with the line here. In mid-September the France Telecom telephone landline was disconnected since we were planning on having the Free line available to us. Here it is early October and they have yet to connect our line.

Another interesting quirk about France is that most phone numbers for companies are the equivalient of 900 numbers in the US. If you want to order something from a cataloge you pay 15 cents/minute. Similarly, if you want to call customer service because they didn't connect your line like they were supposed to, you pay 34 cents/minute. That is, if you are calling from a landline. Calling from a cellphone results in a whole different set of charges.

So imagine that you are trying to connect your brand new internet/telephone/TV service and you encounter a problem. Since you have disconnected your old telephone you have to use a cell phone. What happens? You spend over 6 euros for a call that lasts less than 7 minutes where the only information you get is, "Try it again tomorrow, you may or may not get a confirmation email when we have connected your line."

I guess in France the saying, "The customer is king" is accurate, but being a king in France hasn't always been the most comfortable position.


  1. Who is paying for all those renovations?!? Sounds sweet. Looking forward to seeing your place...

  2. Hmmm... I was having some trouble figuring logging in. I think I might have left a bunch of the same comments accidentally. Oh well.