Thursday, October 4, 2012

Indifferent Strokes from Business Folks

Here is a narrative about bad customer service. It reflects the attitude of many companies in the Philippines which have made  an art of inefficiency.

Our  cable TV and Internet provider Global Destiny was recently taken over by another company, Sky Cable Corp. It would be too much for subscribers to expect a seamless transition in such a changeover, and sure enough, Sky failed to record some of our subscription payments in the course of the records transfer between the two companies and sent us a past due notice in early September  threatening disconnection of service even though our accounts were in fact paid current.

In response to this warning, I immediately phoned Sky.  They claimed that Global Destiny is still responsible for billing and referred  me to the Global Destiny customer service number which turned out to be unreachable.  I called Sky back but they still refused to assist. I pointed out that they now own our accounts and even changed the account numbers to accommodate their system, and most tellingly "Sky Cable" not "Global Destiny" is the name of the payee on their bill.  Finally the representative  appeared to relent and said they would look into the matter and call me back the next day. Of course, she didn't. Such is the state of customer service in the Philippines. Employees will tell you what you want to hear. This type of stroking is rooted in the local culture. But meanwhile, these reassurances sound so convincing that you really believe your grievance is about to be rectified.

So a few weeks ago I reported our problem to the regulatory agency  that oversees cable businesses, the Department of Telecommunications, and received an email acknowledgment that it had been received. While that's pending, a few days ago I asked the administrator's office of our condominium building  whether they had heard of any new information as we are not alone in our complaint. There were no new developments, but they gave me a contact person at Sky to whom I texted a brief  explanation of our problem. She promised to call back on Oct. 3 but that didn't happen. 

This morning I finally received a corrected bill for each account.This afternoon I also received a text from the contact person at Sky requesting that I refer my complaint to her supervisor. I understand if the rep felt that my situation was beyond the limits of her job responsibilities , but as a matter of business courtesy, the supervisor should be the one to initiate the contact.

Obviously, I'm glad that the situation has apparently been resolved, but if I hadn't persisted in getting it it fixed and wasted hours of my time in doing so, rather than looking at an accurate statement, I might now be looking at a "cable-less" blue screen on my TV and at a "cannot connect" message on my computer for my Internet service.

The moral of the story is that if ever you have a service issue like this one, don't assume that it will be resolved with one call to or interface with a representative. If the complaint isn't properly addressed on the second contact, get a supervisor or manager involved and follow up regularly. Escalate the matter and file a complaint with the appropriate regulatory agency if necessary.  These steps won't guarantee success in getting issues settled in your favor, but failure to stay on top of them will almost ensure a disappointing outcome.


Anonymous said...

Hello Rick,

I had the same experience now that Global Destiny was taken over by Sky Cable.

I also had a past due notice that I did not pay for the month of August, so it was P1,000 for last months' bill.

I usually pay every month the P500 they charge monthly, and I could not figure out this extra charge.

I looked and checked if I had the payment slip of August's bill, but I could just not find it.

I paid only P500 for the month of September, but later a rep. from Sky Cable knocked on my door and demanded to pay the past due payment.

I did pay P500 again, but I know, I either paid or there was no bill given to me on the August bill, due to them getting their act togethter with their account change.

Oh, well, I may have paid P500 too much, due to the fact that I did not have a paid payment slip of the month of August.

We'll see what happens next month.

The picture of our TV channels are not that good anymore, too, since the chang-over of the company. I hope, they update their signal quality.


Secular Guy said...


As much as misery loves company, I'm sorry to hear that you might have overpaid. Ironically, the collector who services our condo tower failed to show up for the entire month of Sept. Had (she) done so I would have presented proof of payment.

But as I mentioned in my post the disputed P500 payment finally did show up on our bill. I hope that yours will do likewise.

I think you're right about the signal deterioration, especially on some channels like Chase. But most programming is so lousy anyway, and with many series have reruns of the same episode every few weeks, the bad reception is just another brick in the wall.

Danny Garcia said...

Well, that's the way the cookie crumbles here in the Philippines. Not that I'm indifferent, I too have experienced something similar - except that it's from PLDT about a few years ago. I had my telephone connection disconnected then after a few months, my landlord called me - telling me that they received a bill for 60,000. I was appalled because I always made sure that I paid all the bills. Good thing I kept some records and documents and proceeded to their office to complain. It's something you wouldn't want to happen. You just gotta stand up to them.

Secular Guy said...


Thanks for your reply. When dealing with service and utility companies it's very important for consumers to good keep records especially proof of payments just the way you did.

Pinay Ramblings said...

I had a somewhat similar experience with Sky Cable. Last July 1, I vacated my condo and requested Sky Cable to disconnect my account(been a subscriber for 3 yrs). I received confirmation from their customer service agent and was told to surrender the modem and digibox to their main office. I surrendered it and everything seemed fine. Today, I received a text message from a lawyer saying that I owe Sky Cable 2,900 pesos. I am not supposed to be billed for july,aug, and so forth since my account has been disconnected permanently already. The text message is insinuating that they'll sue if I don't pay. I hate Sky Cable!
Oh and I am using Global Destiny now which I found out is also owned by Sky Cable..I have paid 1500 pesos and it's supposed to cover 3 months of service according to their promo (no installation fee promo). Guess what? I received a bill a week after cable is installed. Global Destiny's customer support never answered my calls.What a scam!

Secular Guy said...

Pinay Ramblings, thanks for your contribution. I rest my case. BTW I hope that you're fighting Sky's threat. If you have documentation of your cancellation transactions including receipts for the surrendered modem, I can't see that Sky has a leg to stand on.

John said...

Well I've been thinking about switching to Sky Cable, but now I don't think I will. I don't need any potential headaches.
I did have a problem with Globe but I think that P300 problem has been taken care of.
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I have few sites that I follow, but I like the writing on this one, so I was sure to include it.

Secular Guy said...

Thanks for your reply, John. It's a bitch when businesses care so little about customer relations.

I checked out your site and found it very impressive. Definitely worth a connection.