Pricewatch: Readers’ queries
This week’s consumer concerns relate to the speed of Eircom’s eFibre, texting problems after switching from an iPhone, and Harvey Norman’s very small print
‘People should be aware that the sales people are making claims of service that do not add up,’ says our reader in relation to Eircom’s eFibre
Eircom’s eFibre not up to speed that was ‘guaranteed’
A reader called Donal recently answered the door to “a sales guy selling Eircom’s eFibre service”. The salesman was “armed with a printout with all the phone numbers and house numbers on our street. He told me – no, in fact, he guaranteed me – we would receive over 48 Mbps, according to his printout if we switched from our old copper line (which we were getting 17Mbps on). He went further, explaining that if we also went for the Eircom TV package it would be throttled at 40Mbps – but that it would also be at least that speed.”
So Donal agreed, and a week or so later an engineer arrived and connected him. “At that point he had a tablet with him, and he showed me a connection of 40Mbps coming down and used the exact words: ‘Now, you can see there’s a nice steady stream of 40Mbps coming down’.” However, after a couple of weeks the speed deteriorated significantly. I also rang to ask about getting a second TV box from them, but I was told that my line can not only receive 15Mbps, less than the old copper wire I had. When I perform a speed test myself I can see I get about 8Mbps, but if I turn on the TV that reduces to 4.
“This is a disaster and I feel I have been lied to.”
Donal rang Eircom support and was told he would receive a call back but none came. “I know this is a heavily regulated industry. Have you any advice? I think people should be aware that the sales people are making claims of service that do not add up. I was never told I would get ‘up to’ 50Mbps, as the small print suggests. I was made explicit promises about getting 40Mbps. Turns out, if I have the TV on, the speed I get is about one 10th of that.”
We got in touch with Eircom. The company is to “follow up directly with [our reader] to ensure we fully address his query. We are sorry that his experience to date has not been a more positive one but we are confident we can resolve his issues”.
Texting issues after switching from Apple
Liz switched to a Samsung Galaxy Android phone six weeks ago after years with Apple. Since then, she has not received most of her text messages. “Some of the senders get notified their text hasn’t sent, but most do not. I wasn’t aware of the problem for a few weeks and then a few friends brought it to my attention,” she writes. One friend called because she had not heard from Liz after texting her about a family member who had died. “So I went online and started following all the advice there about deregistering the phone from iMessage and deleting my Apple ID etc – there’s a lot of advice online. I took all of it.” Last week, when nothing she did made any difference she spent hours on the phone to the Apple help desk, and, “after a huge number of calls and being asked repeatedly to jump through hoops to help them solve the problem, they cannot fix the problem. They keep telling me they are escalating it even further but I need my phone to work now.”
One of Apple’s solutions was for her to get a new phone number. “One of the other classic lines was that the problem was not my phone but every other phone which can’t reach me by text. Absurd. I absolutely do not want to go near another Apple device after all this, but if the only thing that will work is for me to go back to an iPhone and reactivate my iMessage account I will have to do this.
“But as I have a new contract with this lovely new Samsung, I will incur considerable costs. When I asked Apple about this they said they can’t help with reimbursing me.”
We contacted Apple and received a somewhat blunt and unhelpful response. A spokesman said: “We have nothing further to add to the statement we issued in May on this issue.” That statement had said: “We recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users, and we have an additional bug fix in a future software update. For users still experiencing an issue, please contact AppleCare.”
Our reader has contacted AppleCare on multiple occasions without any joy.
The very small print
Róisín Hickey wants us to highlight what she believes is a misleading practice by Harvey Norman. “We bought a dishwasher, which was advertised at €399, but when we went to the store it was referred to by the salesman as €369, as we would be getting €30 cash back,” she writes. “We decided to buy it. The deal was that you couldn’t claim the cash back until 21 days later. We tried a couple of times to scan the receipt as it had to be done online, but failed.” They eventually got the scan sorted, but when they went to claim the cash, they were told they had missed the final date. “This was not said to us, and I believe the fine print is simply the smallest I have ever seen.” We contacted Harvey Norman. While it did not address the font size, it did say it would ensure our reader got her €30.