My letter to DTI....

It seems dissatisfaction with PLDT's myDSL service is reaching a fever pitch nowadays. Not even the eminent Sassy Lawyer was spared from their lousy service (read about her predicament here). And as it turns out, PLDT is planning to expand its service to Visayas and Mindanao. Talk about chutzpah. Well, PLDT will probably just piss off a lot more people, and make a fast buck while they're at it.

If you've been visiting this blog regularly, you've probably read about my recent misadventures with PLDT myDSL as well, which was only resolved a few weeks ago. It took an email to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to finally get PLDT off its ass and do something about my excrutiatingly slow connection speed, which I had to endure for more than a month. In case anyone is curious, here's the letter I sent:




Greetings.

The undersigned would like to respectfully bring to your attention various incidents related to my subscription to PLDT myDSL, which have brought me seemingly nothing but frustration, aggravation and disappointment regarding their service delivery and customer support.

First and foremost, I am the sole user of a DSL (digital subscriber line) attached to a residential landline account (with telephone number
[DELETED]) under the name of my father, [DELETED]. While the landline account has been active for numerous years now, the DSL service has only been activated for the past 14 months or so. For the first year I have been paying P1,995.00 a month for broadband internet access at up to 384 kbps.

During approximately the first six months, the service provided by PLDT myDSL was satisfactory, always delivering within a fraction of the promised 384 kbps bandwidth. When PLDT myDSL started upgrading all of the plans, the allocated bandwidth was increased with my account now supposedly being entitled to as much as 768 kbps. The bandwidth I was receiving though at the time, was only in the 430-530 kbps. I did not complain the fact that I wasn’t receiving the advertised speeds, since for most purposes the bandwidth I was receiving was enough.

PLDT myDSL then offered a lower plan at P999.00 a month with a bandwidth allocation of 384 kbps. Since I was paying P1,995.00 and receiving only about a bit more than half of the bandwidth I should be getting, I opted to downgrade my account, which I promptly informed them on April 10, 2006. At first I was told that I would need to pay P5,000.00 as a downgrade fee. I contested the fee, stating that I was already beyond the lock-up period of one year. It took them a MONTH to finally act on my request, with the downgrading only taking effect on May 9, 2006.

This is where the problem has started. Ever since the downgrading, I am only receiving bandwidth in the 160-180 kbps range, despite REPEATED calls to their customer service hotline for the past TWO WEEKS.

I have been given a variety of explanations for my low bandwidth ranging from:

  1. My downgrade request hasn’t been posted and is still pending;

    If true, then how come my bandwidth has been significantly lowered?

  2. That the request has already been forwarded to their datanet, and should be acted upon within 24 hours;

    It has been more than two weeks, and still no improvement.

  3. That my area is experiencing a network problem;

    I find this to be a downright unbelievable. I live in a residential compound of which there are two other subscribers to PLDT myDSL, and they are receiving their promised bandwidth. If there is indeed a network problem, why am I the only one being affected in my immediate vicinity? And why did my slow connections only conveniently start after requesting a downgrade of my account?

  4. The problem has been referred to their datanet for verification;

    I have received this explanation the most, and yet, still no improvement.

To summarize, the following are my complaints:

  1. Slow bandwidth – I am receiving less than half of the bandwidth I am paying for. The bandwidth should be increased to the level appropriate to my plan. I have made this complaint to their customer support line for two weeks now, but no change up to now. If they CANNOT deliver on their promised bandwidth, I think it is unfair that I be made to pay the FULL amount of my monthly fee when they weren’t able to fulfill their end of the bargain. My bill should be adjusted on account of their failure to deliver the promised bandwidth;

  2. Customer unfriendly policies – If a subscriber has completed the lock-up period, I do not see any reason why PLDT myDSL should charge a “downgrading fee” which is, for all intents and purpose, almost equivalent to the penalty fee for violating the terms of the lock-up period. I am apparently not the only one who requested for a downgrade and asked for a waiver of the fee, as it took them almost a month to act on my request;

  3. Poor technical support – For the most part, their customer service hotline is nothing more than a referral service. They cannot provide satisfactory explanations for technical problems, they cannot give time estimates on service improvement, they just keep on giving the same canned answers over and over again;

  4. Slow turnaround time on service requests - My downgrading request took a month to process, and wasn’t even properly posted on time. My request to improve my bandwidth is more than two weeks old, and still no change;

  5. Downright insincerity to the subscriber – On different occasions I have called their customer service hotline and I have been a lot of different conflicting answers regarding my slow service (see above). It has reached a point that due to the absence of a satisfactory or consistent explanation, I am starting to suspect that the slow service MAY be an INDIRECT method of penalizing me for requesting a downgrade to my account, without paying the downgrade fee.

Given all of the foregoing, and despite my repeated calls to their customer service line to no avail, I believe I have no other recourse than to complain to another entity, hence this letter.

I only ask, in the spirit of equity, that I be entitled to the service I am paying for. If the service cannot be delivered as promised, then my liability (as far as monthly fees) as a subscriber should be adjusted as well. For me to pay for services that are woefully inadequate and substandard is highly iniquitous and prejudicial to me as a subscriber.

Hoping for your attention with regard to this matter.




Wordy? Kinda. Verbose? Yeah. A flare for the dramatic? Perhaps. Over the top? I suppose. You can describe the letter any way you like, the fact is, once the a copy of the letter was forward to PLDT, they were able to resolve my technical problems within a matter of days. And that's the truth.

Remember, as a consumer you have rights. You don't have to take crap from anyone, especially big companies who seemingly can do no wrong. If you're not satisfied with any product or service, speak up. You're not just doing yourself a favor. You're doing all consumers, and the economy a lot of good as well. There's just no room for substandard products or services anymore in this market driven economy of ours, no matter how big or well-entrenched you are.

As for PLDT, it oughta get its act together before its too late. I would imagine a lot of myDSL subscribers would jump ship if there were more viable alternatives. I know I would.

Quite a shame really, for a supposedly world-class company.

Globelines recently upgraded its lowest DSL plan (P995.00/month) from 384 to 512 kbps (see this post from fellow blogger Jay). So not only is PLDT myDSL the lousier broadband service provider, its also the lesser value.

Go figure.

Comments

jhay said…
Wohoo! Way to go sir Allan! You sure showed them a thing or two.

Though, I'm really mystified as to how come all these complaints are coming out about PLDT MyDSL when as far as I can remember, they were THE DSL service provider to go for back when broadband first became popular.

Now it seems that PLDT has taken slackened big time and zeroed in on profits alone, sacrificing service value and consumer satisfaction.

I admit that Globelines offers some of the most expensive broadband services among the local providers but from my experience, as well as my other friends and relatives' experience, the pricy rates are worth the buck.

I just hope more and more unsatisified customers would emulate your fine example of exercising consumer rights. Kudos!
Ronald Allan said…
Thanks Jhay. I can only hope PLDT gets its act together eventually. PLDT's seeming lack of concern over customer satisfaction is not doing anyone, not them, and certainly not the subscribers, any good.

Globelines doesn't seem much of a bad deal anymore. Its costs just as much as PLDT as far as the cheapest plan is concerned, and is faster to boot. Complaints, I assume, are less than PLDT's as well. So far, it seems Globe is the best choice for anyone in the market for a broadband connection. I'm not sure though, about the coverage and the availability.

Power to the consumer! :-)
jhay said…
That's the downside for Globelines, they have limited coverage and availability for their landline thus their broadband service at the moment.

If I may share, when my broadband was installed, the technicians had a bit of trouble because the original port assigned to me had problems so they had to find a new and open port for me (one of those sockets or stuf inside those gray boxes you see out on the streets, like a terminal box or something). One of them told me I was lucky there were still some ports left open because the ports in my area are almost filled. So lucky me indeed.

However, this little handicap for Globelines would only be a minor problem as I suspect that they are concentrating more on improving their service plus recieving good customer satisfaction before going all out with getting more subscribers. Maybe they've kept an eye on the experience of their competitors and learned from them, quite smart really. (no pun intended)

They may not be to most subscribed to service but they sure have some if not, the most satisfied customers to date. If those customers are happy and satisfied they would be natural promoters of the service with little or no effort at all from Globelines, just look at me. hehehe

And yes, power to us the consumers!
Connie said…
I contacted Globelines and MyDestiny. Our area is covered by neither (bundok kasi eh). Realizing I had no choice but to stick it out with PLDT, I gave them hell for three days--e-mail, contact us form, phone. And blog. Kahit may flu ako. And even after my blog went dead for a while. And on the 4th day, I called up 171 and demanded a rebate. Within 2 hours from that final call, my speed as up to 400+. Coincidence? Maybe. I don't care. I only hope it stays that way. Kasi, di ko titigilan pag feeling ko ginugulangan ako. O, see, nakaka-surf na ako without falling asleep.
Ronald Allan said…
Ey Ms. Connie. Glad you could drop by. :-)

Good for you it only took 4 days. My ordeal lasted more than 4 weeks. Coincidence or not, at least its good that you're finally getting the service that you should be getting, and that you can bloghop now while staying awake. :-)

As an aside, I got a letter from the NTC today. It was furnished copy of their letter to PLDT requiring them to act on complaints regarding their service, and to report to them the results. My name was listed among the complainants. While I coordinated with NTC during the course of my ordeal, I haven't formally complained to them. I guess the DTI forwarded a copy of my complaint to them.

Well, its a good sign to see that these agencies aren't just a waste of taxpayers' money.

I'm still not content. I'm still waiting for a rebate for my month of misery, but its not about the money. I still feel as if they lied to me, made excuses, etc. They were just insincere, and I can't really seem to get over that.

I'm not sure what I want to do now. I'm getting 350-380+ kbps regularly now, but it seems like a shallow victory, like reconciling with a spouse who admitted he or she cheated on you. Bati nga kayo, pero nagago ka pa rin.

Any ideas? :-)

Maybe I'll think of something. :-)
Connie said…
My idea really is to push for for the invalidation of all existing contracts with PLDT.

To clarify, di ba we all a one-year subscription which, if we cut short, we pay a fine. Instead of filing case-to-case stats with the NTC, I'm writing a letter explaining WHY PLDT (or even Smart or Globe or whatever) should not be allowed to demand the 1-year subscription period. Kasi, the customer is bound even when PLDT fails to deliver its end of the bargain. Parang ginugulangan na nga tayo, pag pumalag tayo, magbabayad pa tayo ng fine.

In short, all subscriptions should be on a month to month basis. Every customer is free to dump the service at the end of any given month is he is unsatisfied. No fines, no thing.
Ronald Allan said…
Ah, so basically you want these companies to dump the policy of having a lockup period.

I think I get where your going. I can understand how some companies (like cellphone providers for example) can justify having a lockup period, because they're giving up "free" phones.

But in the case of broadband providers, like our friend PLDT here, there's just no reason for them to impose a lockup period, especially if they're not able to provide the service in the agreement.

Why be locked to an obligation when the other party is not complying? You should be able to rescind the agreement if you're not satisfied.

In my case, I finished my lockup period, yet when I wanted to downgrade my account, they wanted to charge me a P5,000.00 downgrade fee, which I refused to pay and eventually won out when I contested it.

Maybe you can include that as well, being free to upgrade, or downgrade, or even cut your account without any charges whatsoever. Hell, we're the subscribers, so it should be our right, right?

Well, good luck with the letter. If in case you need someone to back you up on this, I'm right behind you. :-)

BTW, I just got my bill from PLDT. During the fateful month when I got atrocious service, they billed me only around P200, instead of the P995. Its good that they finally acknowledged their shortcomings, and adjusted my bill accordingly.

Now if they could only deliver consistent service...

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