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Etisalat e-Life: The nightmare that wouldn’t end
Was this just all a dream? No, the nightmare that was Etisalat's e-Life connection process was real. After spending five weeks endeavoring to upgrade to Etisalat’s e-Life, Eva Fernandes is absolutely horrified and frustrated with what passes off as customer service and support in the UAE.
September 11, 2011 3:25 by Eva Fernandes
It is perhaps one of the greatest ironies of living in Dubai that getting high speed internet is an extremely slow process. If you’re expecting some kind of fantasy customer service dream, think again. Expect nothing short of a nightmare, delivered by UAE’s older (and yet somehow not wiser) telecoms operator, Etisalat.
Some time back, after several calls from the Etisalat e-life team, encouraging us to sign up for the package, we finally caved and said yes.
Now five weeks, six Etisalat technicians visits and an innumerable number of complaint calls logged later, our apartment is finally hooked up to the internet. To say the experience was tiring and tedious would be an understatement. Calling it “The most thorough test for sainthood” would be a better fit.
But let’s start from the top, shall we? Prior to our internet upgrade, we were happily on Al Shamil 256Kbps that was oh-so popular at the turn of the millennium. Sure, that meant the illegal downloads we never pursued would have been a prolonged affair. And sure, we could barely watch a video without it breaking up every two seconds to “buffer”—but overall we had no complaints. Of course, this was until we started getting call upon call from Etisalat proclaiming the wonders of e-Life. Though we politely refused, the call center did not take no for an answer.
The pestering lady on the phone assured us that upgrading would be a pain-free move; after all our building had been fitted with the e-Life wall-board units. She also promised that a technician from Etisalat would come to our place no sooner than two working days, to officially make the switch. After that fateful phone conversation, our Al Shamil connection was significantly faster, with a download speed of 3Mbps, even though nobody from Etisalat had been in. Impressed, we enjoyed our almost instant YouTube videos and other legal cyber activities, thinking Etisalat really got a falsely bad rep over this e-Life business. They had upgraded us prematurely and we’d soon be enjoying high speed internet in a couple of days. How silly we were to believe that it would all be so simple.
After waiting a week for the technician to come, we called Etisalat to complain about the no-show. We were promised that another technician will definitely come. “No we can’t give you their phone number, the technician, himself, will call you” was the response we got when we pestered them for more information. And though we were a little peeved, we should have taken this ambiguity as a sign of things to come. Over the next four weeks we had to deal with six different technicians, all entering our apartment promising to hook us up to e-Life and all leaving saying they did not have this router or that cable.
Even though the whole process seemed like it was going on forever, at least we could still connect to the internet while in the middle of our e-Life crisis. But the straw that broke the camel’s back, was when…
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