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‘I am absolutely disgusted' - Frustration with Eir customer service reaches crescendo

Pricewatch: Stream of complaints over hours on hold and no-shows from technicians

‘I have never been through such a customer care shambles’ says one frustrated Eir customer. File photograph: Maxwells

What is going on at Eir? A couple of weeks ago Pricewatch started getting messages via Twitter from disgruntled customers. A trickle at first, the flow of complaints soon turned into a stream with most sharing a common theme.

People spoke of the difficulties they had making contact with Eir in shops or over the phone or via online channels. Customers spoke of wasting hours of their lives on hold before calls were mysteriously dropped.

Sometimes people would get to talk to a human being at Eir only to be told the problem could only be resolved via webchat.

But when they contacted the company through its webchat service they were told the only way the problem could be resolved was via the telephone.

We were struck by the common themes of many of the messages and by the volume so we asked for mails from unhappy Eir customers.

The stream became a flood. Here are just some of them.

‘My mum waited in all day and no one called’

“My mum is 85 years old and living alone,” begins an email we got from Irene Madden. When she wrote to us her mother had been without a phone connection for nine days.

“I’ve called them three times and her neighbours spent two hours emailing them. When they finally sent a technician the phone worked once and nothing since.

“Her daughter-in-law called them again and they told her someone would call on Friday. She waited in all day and no one called.”

‘On hold for 53 minutes before being answered’

Before Christmas John Loughlin from Galway was enticed by an offer of home phone, broadband, mobile phone data and free access to the Eir Sport package for €45 per month for the first six months and €55 per month for the following six months so decided to sign up.

“When I got my contract it said I would be charged €60 per month for the full year and €80 thereafter. I contacted them and I was assured it would be corrected. It was not.”

He says emails to the company were ignored and when he rang Eir customer care he was “on hold for 53 minutes before anyone answered. Then they had to go away and talk with a supervisor. I was left on hold for another 10 minutes.”

He was then told it would have to go to a “level 2 enquiry or something like” that he would hear back from them in about 10 days. He has heard nothing since then.

‘iPhone issue is now in its ninth week’

Monica Carty has been trying to resolve an issue in connection with a locked iPhone for months. The phone which her husband uses for business was bought from Eir and in order to unlock it, the couple needed proof of purchase.

“I am unable to contact Eir, I have waited for the required 30 minutes on at least five occasions only to be told at the end of the wait time that they are unable to deal with my call due to technical issues. The issue is now in its ninth week.”

‘We have been – and remain – in the dark’

David Duggan moved into a new house last August. The first houses in the estate were completed and occupied in November 2017. Most people signed up with Eir. David signed a contract with the company in August 2018 for their fibre-phone-TV bundle but hasn’t got what he was promised.

“Since we have moved in, we have hot-spotted from our phone for internet.”

He has called the company countless times. “I have found the general wait time for their customer service line is approximately one hour. There is no call-back request facility. The customer service seems only to cater for customers with a service already rather than those waiting on installation,” he says.

'I have gone into four branches to be told after waiting up to 30 minutes that I have to complete an upgrade over the phone'

“So far, I have not managed to get one update on an expected delivery date, just constant promises. The chat service is equally as useless and you might have to wait an hour for someone to be available on that also.”

“We have been – and remain – constantly in the dark. We know there is fibre outside because we were lucky to see the engineers and chat to them but have no idea when or if we will ever be connected and no one has ever contacted us to provide an update.”

‘I’m paying €133 every month for this service’

Lorna Cullen has had problems with her internet for weeks and “decided to call Eir last Wednesday. I spent 45 minutes on hold and spent another hour talking to a service person.

The service person could not find a fault and said it must be a problem with the outside line,” she writes.

“The outcome was that a technician would call to the house on Friday, February 1st. The technician called and replaced our modem. He told my husband that he would check the outside line in the box up the road and everything would work in 15 minutes. He also said he would call back on Wednesday, February 6th, to see if it was okay.”

When he left the problem was worse and Lorna contacted Eir.

“Eventually I got someone on the phone and explained the situation. They said the case had been resolved and there was no further visit logged. They reopened the case and said a technician would call again.

Eir acknowledged that ‘customers are currently facing longer than normal, and longer than acceptable, wait times when contacting our customer care call centres.’ File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

On February 6th, Lorna’s husband got a text to say a technician was working on the problem but no one arrived to the house and the fault was never fixed. The day after that she rang Eir again and was told that at 12.45pm the same day a technician was en route to the site.

“They said that if I had any further problems to contact someone via their web chat. By Thursday evening the problem still wasn’t fixed, no one had called and I went on the web chat. I was told to phone customer care for help. I explained I had done this already on several occasions and was told to contact someone via web chat.

“I asked if there was anyone capable of sorting the problem with our broadband and was told that someone would be in touch in two working days.”

Then her husband got a text from Eir to say the fault had been repaired and if we had any issues to text ‘Unresolved’ to 50123.

“I did this and got a message to say that someone would be in touch in 24 hours. The irony of it all is that I’m paying €133 every month for this service. Where do I go from here?”

‘I am absolutely disgusted with them’

Susan O’Neill has a problem connected to an upgrade to her mobile phone that was due in November.

“I have gone into four branches to be told after waiting up to 30 minutes that I have to complete an upgrade over the phone. When I call the bill-pay customer service however, the automated message says any upgrade can be done in any of their stores.

“So, since November, I have made approximately 12 attempts to call and speak with somebody on the upgrade team, I have made complaints and requested a supervisor call me back while on these calls and using their web chat format and it’s February now and I still don’t have my upgrade, an answer to my complaints about service or a call back.

I have been a customer of theirs for years and years. I am on their costly €55-per-month plan and have been in credit where my bill is concerned for years and I am absolutely disgusted with them.”

‘I was two hours holding to talk to someone’

Michelle Jackson has a bundle with landline and wifi and a mobile. “I can’t get to talk to anyone about my mobile voicemail.

“I was two hours on Monday holding to talk to someone in support before giving up. I just want my personalised message to answer when a caller goes through to my voicemail.

“They told me to dial 171 and into settings and I’ve done all that but it doesn’t work.”

‘The customer service absolutely appalling’

Lisa Molloy wants to cancel her account with Eir because she finds “the service shaky and the customer service absolutely appalling”.

Before writing to us she said she had spent a week to get through to customer care.

“I could spend 30 minutes on hold before even speaking to an actual human and the call is then disconnected. It’s extremely frustrating.”

‘We just need a modem. It should be simple to fix’

“I think we have made a massive mistake,” starts the ominous email from Rose O’Connor Ryan.

“Lured by the promise of rugby and GAA on Eir Sport, my usually intelligent husband rang Eir on January 29th to swap our broadband from Vodafone to Eir. He put the sales rep on speaker, who told us fibre broadband is now in our area. Happy days.

“But it would take five to 10 working days to connect where we would be without service.”

'We will continue to keep our customers updated as new agents begin to take calls and again, we apologise for this inconvenience'

Rose is on maternity leave and did not want to be without internet, “so after discussion with the rep said we would stay on standard broadband provided there would be no loss in service and upgrade to fibre later. Vodafone cut our service the following day. My husband was sent tracking info for nightline for the new modem. Which still hasn’t arrived nine days later.

“The man has called various Eir numbers numerous times only for the responsibility to be passed to another department or to the courier company. He has been on hold for up to 58 minutes per call. He has been on Messenger and web chat. We just need a modem. It should be simple to fix this problem. But Eir are impossible to deal with. If I had known this fiasco was ahead we would have never chosen Eir.”

‘Eir shop said keep trying but best of luck!’

Maria got in touch on behalf of her dad. She travelled down to visit him in Laois recently and the first thing he told us was “Eir won’t let me leave”.

He has been trying to get in touch with them for a month after deciding at Christmas time that it was time to make a break.

The internet was not working and landline was too expensive and not really required.

Maria says her dad has spent so many hours trying to get through “then they hang up on him. He went into the Eir shop in Tullamore to see if they could give him advice . . . not realising that they just deal with mobile phones . . . they said keep trying but best of luck! Their internet has not worked for months and they now realise that the €45/€50 a month on a house phone is crazy money for pensioners. So they want out – but can’t. Please help if you can.”

We contacted the company and this is its response in full:

“Thank you for highlighting these customer issues which we have now resolved. Eir customers are currently facing longer than normal, and longer than acceptable, wait times when contacting our customer care call centres.

“We apologise for this temporary situation and we appreciate our customers’ patience as we continue to transition to our new call centres in Cork, Limerick and Sligo over the next few months and to a far better experience for all Eir’s customers.

“Four months ago, we announced that we would bring our customer service back in-house, as we believe that having all customer-facing roles filled by direct Eir staff leads to a better experience and outcome for our customers. We are now more than halfway through that process, which includes recruiting for 750 customer care jobs in our new regional hubs.

“During this time of change, customers have experienced longer wait times and we are doing everything we can to minimise the disruption including significantly expanding our webchat services, with 50 new positions filled, and working as hard as possible to get our wait times down to the level Eir customers should be able to expect.

“Since October we have hired and trained 315 new front-line staff across our three new sites and 220 staff have transferred over to Eir. Every week, 16 new care agents complete training and begin taking calls, with performance improving every day.

“We believe firmly that these changes will result in a better experience for Eir’s customers in the long term. We will continue to keep our customers updated as new agents begin to take calls and again, we apologise for this inconvenience.”