Just when you thought Eir customer service couldn’t get any worse . . .

Reader Ann Slaven thought cancelling her account would be easy – she was wrong

“My phone rings, I answer it and a recorded female voice says: ‘Please dial the number you are calling.’  It is now wrecking my head and I dread the phone ringing.”

“My phone rings, I answer it and a recorded female voice says: ‘Please dial the number you are calling.’ It is now wrecking my head and I dread the phone ringing.”

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Ann Slaven got in touch with a story about Eir that is so bad it is almost comical. She was a landline customer of Eir – and before that Eircom and before that Telecom Éireann for about 30 years.

“In 2015 I added home broadband and two mobile phones to my existing landline account,” her mail starts. “Shortly afterwards I added a third mobile to this bundle. I had numerous problems and difficulties at the set-up stage ... I resolved to get out of the contract as soon as the two years were up.”

Her contract expired last summer. “I had some time in August so I rang Eir to see what I needed to do to terminate the contract. They told me that as I was out of contract I did not need to give notice and that I could terminate the service at any time. I agreed to contact them by telephone as soon as I had everything in place. I did not keep a record of the time and date of this phone call as I did not anticipate what was in store,” she says.

She set about getting a new broadband supplier and ported her remaining two mobiles over to a new service provider. “Once this was in place I contacted Eir [last September] to tell them to cancel my landline and to terminate my account. They said I would have to give them a month’s notice. Even though this was contrary to the previous advice in August, I agreed and asked them to make a termination order.”

She received an email asking her to confirm the cancellation two days later and she completed the form and received a confirmation of cancellation.

Two days later she received a bill for €101.13. “This seemed high but I assumed it was maybe a final bill so it was paid by direct debit with no questions asked.”

A month later she received a confirmation of a new order by email. A new what, she thought? The last thing she wanted was another contract with Eir, so she rang them immediately “and explained that I had not created a new order but that I had in fact cancelled all services. They apologised and said they would cancel this order. Two days later I got an email from a courier to say they would be delivering my new Eir modem the following day. I again rang Eir and explained that I had not ordered anything and they said they would cancel the delivery. The following day a courier arrived with a parcel from Eir. I rang Eir and they said to give it back to the courier and to explain that it was a mistake. I did this.”

Unusually high bill

In November she received another bill, for €25.25. “I rang them about this bill, though it [the money] had been taken by direct debit. I told them I would let that go as long as that was the final bill. They assured me there would be no more bills and that everything was cancelled.”

But at the end of November she received a text to warn her that her next bill was going to be unusually high. “I rang them and reiterated that the account was terminated and that I did not owe this money. They said they would sort it.”

On November 29th she received a bill for €79.76. “I rang Eir again and, having spoken to several different people, I said I wanted to make an official complaint. I was transferred to an agent who gave me his name and a case number and promised that from now on I would only have to deal with him and he would sort it out. I explained I had paid all the bills since September and I had done so with the expectation that each one was the last and that rather than query them and bring more hassle, I had been prepared to do this. However, I was so dissatisfied I asked him to look at these bills and to explain how I could have accumulated any charges other than standing ones when I had been using broadband from a different company and mobiles from a different company since August.”

He looked at the bills and agreed to refund some of the money. “He explained there was an error in their system which had prevented the termination of my account and he had no explanation for the ‘new’ account but he would make sure that this too would be cancelled.”

In December she received a bill for €79.76. “I cancelled my direct debit so no more money could be taken. I rang Eir and asked to be connected to the agent I had been dealing with but this was not facilitated. I spoke to another agent who gave me his name and who checked the case number and agreed to email that other agent to deal with the refund and the termination of the account.”

As she had cancelled the direct debit, she was anxious this last bill would not be registered as a bad debt and affect her credit record. The man from Eir assured her this would not happen and she asked him to confirm this in writing but received nothing.

At the end of January she got another bill, for €56.30. At the start of February she rang Eir yet again and asked to speak to a supervisor or a manager but was told this was not possible. She then asked to speak to the people she had previously been speaking with and was told this could not be facilitated. “I gave her the case number to look up my file. I was put on hold for 20 minutes before the call was disconnected.”

She wrote to us because she was “at the very end of my tether. I have been polite, reasonable and patient in all my dealings. Each staff member was also polite but unfortunately none of them seem to be able to resolve any of the problems.

“At this stage I want to be done with that company and never to hear from them again unless it is to refund my money, assure me I have not had the last couple of bills registered anywhere as bad debts, or perhaps to receive an apology for the inconvenience and sheer stress of it all.

We contacted the company and they sent us the following statement: “Firstly, we would like to apologise to Ann. We are very sorry that she had such an unnecessarily stressful and frustrating experience. Our customer care team has contacted Ann directly to apologise and to confirm that we have ceased the account. We have also given Ann a refund for any payments taken and we have committed to sending Ann a letter confirming that there should be no impact to her credit rating as a result of this issue.”

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