Hello Eir, is anybody there? Four unhappy customers complain
Four stories show how difficult it is to contact the uncommunicative communications firm
Eir headquarters: ‘It is extraordinary how difficult they are to contact considering they are a communications company.’ Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
The subject field in the email we receive from a reader called Emma reads simply “Eir”. Our hearts sink. “I recently upgraded my mobile phone as my two-year contract had ended,” she writes. “I tried on two occasions to order the phone by ringing them (an ordeal in itself), waited 40 minutes each time, and then, as soon as I reached someone, got cut off. I decided to then order it online, as I thought it would be easier. I ordered it on September 6th – today is September 22nd – and I have still not received it. I did not receive any tracking email. I have checked both my junk mail and inbox.”
So on September 14th, she rang the company’s “customer care” line again and waited 30-40 minutes and spoke to one of their advisers. “She said she could give me the tracking number for my package over the phone, which she did. I asked her to wait on the line while I tracked it, as I didn’t want to have to ring back and wait another 30-40 minutes. When I tracked it, it said it got delivered to an address in Galway (I live in Mayo) and was then returned to Eir as a failed delivery. I asked the adviser if she could kindly arrange for it to be sent by express, she said they don’t have the express option. I calmly asked her to make sure it was going to the correct address and asked her to make sure I received tracking. I have yet to receive tracking, or the phone.”
Last Monday, Emma rang Eir again, “waited 35 minutes and spoke to an adviser, who said she would have to call me back as she had no visibility on tracking numbers. No returned call. As you can imagine, the wait time on the phone is enough to make you frustrated, and then when you cannot get satisfactory answers, it makes it even worse. For a ‘communications’ company their service is absolutely deplorable. It’s not the first bad encounter I have had with Eir. I cannot blame the customer service advisers as I would say they are not armed with the information to be able to deal with these kinds of complaints. In fact I feel sorry for them as I would say they are taking abuse daily because of the failures of their employer. They cannot blame Covid – their service has been bad a long time before Covid showed up.”
She adds a PS. “I actually also sent them a Facebook message on September 10th to get tracking details and got no response. They had said that this was one of the ways to get in touch with them.”
‘They are almost impossible to contact’
“I have a problem with Eir,” starts a mail from a reader called Gus. “They changed their email service from free to paid in July. Because I have had it 20 years, I elected to pay for one month as per their website to extract what I need. However, they also took for August and September. They are almost impossible to contact as there is no email address,” he says. There is an 1800 number, but as Gus is abroad, he can’t ring that.
“I have tried as many ways as I can to contact them but it is proving difficult. However, I finally rang a shop and they gave me an email address email@example.com. I will include the complete text that I have had with them. As you will see, they agreed to cancel it in in early September but still September has been taken. Now, the firstname.lastname@example.org is bouncing back and my only possibility of contact seems gone. The September payment was taken on September 17th. As I only agreed for one month but they made it impossible to contact them, I feel I should be refunded for August and September, but I would settle for them just confirming the cancellation. It is extraordinary how difficult they are to contact considering they are a communications company.”
School cut off in ‘most challenging time’
We also hear from a primary school in Kerry. The mail comes from Brian Flood, principal of Scoil Mhuire in Horeswood. “We first reported a fault on September 7th and a technician visited the school on September 9th. We received a text to ask if the issue had been resolved and we duly replied that it had not been resolved,” he says.
“We have logged a number of fault reports online and our patient secretary has spent many hours over the past few weeks listening to music waiting for Eir to answer the phone. We are so frustrated that we can’t get our phone line fixed, during what is the most challenging time for schools in many, many years.”
‘I did not succeed in speaking to anyone’
Then there was a letter from an older reader called James, in Adare. He is 87 and while he is well able to look after himself and goes to the shops every day “hail, rain or virus”, he is struggling when it comes to making contact with Eir.
He has a mobile phone that he cannot manage and is “anxious to install a landline but all efforts to make contact with Eir over the past few months have failed. No response to letters and only recorded messages to be heard on 1901. I did not succeed in speaking to anyone.”
He says there is no social supports for the elderly in his area. “Any suggestions as to how I might contact Eir would be welcome. I do not have a computer. I have already sought assistance from doctors, public health nurses, politicians and gardaí, to no avail.”
Keen-eyed readers will see that while all of these problems are different they all have a common thread. Each one of these stories highlights how incredibly difficult it is for people to make contact with Eir.
We got in touch with eir and received the following statement:
“We have been in touch with all customers and all issues are resolved with the exception of James in Adare, we are working with him on the installation of his landline which will take a little more time.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has elevated the importance of reliable connectivity for work, education, security and life. The pandemic has also brought with it increased challenges for all businesses, for Eir the challenge we face is the impact on our care services. Customers have faced longer than acceptable wait times when contacting Eir care in recent months for a number of reasons, including increased demand for services, the move to remote working for hundreds of our agents, and the closure of retail stores. Resolving care wait times is our number one priority and we are making steady progress.
“Having been unable to recruit and train staff during the lockdown restrictions, we are recruiting nationally and have hired 60 new recruits since last month, with further team members joining in the weeks ahead. Digital support and social channels continue to operate as usual, and we have made additional self-service forms available on eir.ie to provide customers with answers to many frequently asked questions. We have introduced priority care hours for elderly and vulnerable customers and for carers in Eir retail stores before 11am Monday to Friday. These are just a few of the many steps Eir is taking to rectify care wait times, we are already seeing improvements.”