Belgacom

My apartment in Brussels has network plugs in most rooms with the cables leading to a central spot near the door, where a Belgacom BBox2 was already installed. What’s more, my landlord kindly offered to arrange my ADSL connection for me, so 2-3 days after I moved in, I already had internet at home. Two days later I got a Proximus mobile number, and that was it for the next 3-4 months.

Update 24.07.2012 (I had forgotten about this one): When the first bill arrived, there was a 98€ charge for the «early termination of a contract». I went back to the shop where I signed the contract, and they called Belgacom. After 15′ on the phone where we established that I had just signed a contract with them, not terminated one, they agreed to remove the charge from the bill.

When we decided to get a TV subscription, Belgacom TV (TV over IP) was the obvious solution. I made the application online. The earliest available date for the delivery of the decoder was 1 week later, and the subscription would be activated another 3-4 days after that. I waited two weeks, but no decoder arrived. I went to a Belgacom Center, where they told me they couldn’t find my order in the system, even after I showed them the confirmation email with the order reference I had received. They had no explanation for this, but told me not to worry, they would enter a new order and activate it right away. They even offered to combine TV + ADSL + Mobile into a Pack, so I would pay a single bill, cheaper than the sum of the three, and the decoder rental was for free! Leaving with the decoder in hand, they told me I could wire it up right away, as the subscription was already active.

I got home, connected the decoder to the modem and TV and switched it on. It told me «no network available». I waited until the next day, then called customer service. They told me (guess what?) they couldn’t find my order int the system! After I made sure they were not joking with me, they offered to activate the subscription right away and request the merger of the 3 services into the pack. They told me the TV subscription could take up to 24 hours, but 30 minutes later it was working.

The next day I got SMSes on my phone welcoming me to Proximus, so (for a moment) I thought the problems were behind me. How wrong I was! Another day later I got an SMS in the morning informing me that my 3G internet usage was already of 3 hours and I had no data plan! Before the «merger» I had a 250MB/month plan and both at the Belgacom Center and on the phone they had assured me it would be transfered with the merger. I immediately switched off cellular data on the iPhone, but a couple of hours later I got another SMS claiming I had now used 6 hours of data!

I went to a Belgacom Center and they told me it must be a mistake. They re-activated the data plan for me (I got the confirmation SMSes right away) but told me they could only cancel the erroneous per-hour 3G data charges after the issue of the monthly bill. The guy even gave me his name and told me to come directly to him when the bill arrived.

So I waited for the bill. When it arrived a couple of weeks later, two surprises were expecting me: a) a 150 euro charge for 81 hours of 3G traffic! and b) a 150 euro charge for the purchase of the TV decoder, which I was renting at no cost!

I went back to the same Belgacom Center where they told me the guy was on leave for 10 days. So I waited some more, then went back. The guy seemed to have no recollection of me. He took a look at the bill, and told me he couldn’t cancel the charges and that I’d have to dial customer services! I complained (to him and his supervisor) that he’d told me he’d do it, and that I waited for him to come back from his holidays, but to no avail: they told me the sum was too high and they didn’t have authorisation to cancel such high charges. So I called customer service and (all hail!) they cancelled the two charges and told me to pay the remaining amount, which I did.

Update 24.07.2012: I wanted to buy a bigger 3G subscription from them. I tried doing it online (Belgacom e-Services) and discovered that I could no longer find the mobile under my services. Just ADSL and TV. I called customer service on 1909. The first thing they ask you is to choose the language (between NL, FR, EN and DE). I chose English. After waiting for approx. 7-8 minutes, a guy came on the line who spoke French, but not English. I explained the 3G subscription I wanted, and he did it. Then I told him about the problem I have with e-Services. He asked for my username, which I spelled out for him. Then he said «and your password, please?». I told him I never give out my password, let alone on the phone, he said «but I just want to help you». I assured him this was not going to happen, so he opened a ticket for me and said they would call me within 48 hours about this problem.

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