Hello Again, Foxtel

Hello Again Foxtel,

I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity to write another love letter so soon, so thank you for the inspiration.

This afternoon, my father checked Foxtel Go to see if the issue related to channel activation had been resolved. You’ll recall that he’d modified his package to include Drama and Sports, but Drama channels were locked. To refresh your memory, here are the details of the saga.

I didn’t think it was possible for Foxtel to make more of a meal of the situation than they already had – I really should know better – but indeed that was the case.

DOCUMENTARIES were now activated. Of course, it’s an understandable mistake when your staff don’t speak English beyond knowing individual letters of the alphabet. I’d suggest that Foxtel change “Documentaries” to something that doesn’t start with “D”.

So, that required yet another phone call to the black hole of Foxtel support. The thing is, I don’t – and I suspect most people are similar to this – mind if problems occur. What sends me around the bend is when there is no competence to solve that problem, especially when it’s something simple. And what makes me sick is when I know that I will have to face that incompetency, so much so that I dread the phone call I have to make. I wasn’t kidding when I said in my last letter that your organisation would go broke if it had to fund the medical bills for its customers’ anxiety.

My father handled the beginning of this call while I listened. The woman he was talking to, let’s call her Summer, because that’s about as useful a description of her as it is applicable to Melbourne’s weather at the moment, ably demonstrated the Foxtel trademark of completely failing to comprehend what he was saying. I’m not surprised. It’s unusual for someone to understand a single problem, but once it becomes compounded, forget it. He repeated to her over and over again that his service now had Documentaries activated yet on his account it showed he had chosen Drama and……………..nothing. Obviously she was saying something, but nothing of any value that I could discern. Otherwise I suspect he wouldn’t have said the same thing five times.

Eventually it became apparent to me that she was talking about Premium Drama channels while he was talking about the Drama genre, which forms the first part of his package. So I took over the call in the hope that I could better navigate.

Though I am sure you will say that she was a poorly trained neanderthal, because that’s the lesser of two evils, I would say that in this instance I was dealing with the other demographic in overseas customer service: the lying con artist.

Summer persistently repeated to me that in order to have Drama channels, we needed to have the Premium Drama package. This, I pointed out to her, was patently untrue. Foxtel requires that one chooses a particular “Genre” in the standard part of its package, and this was all we wanted. She then queried what particular drama channel we were after. “Soho”, I replied. “Ma’am, Soho is part of the Premium Drama package,” she said. Oh, really?

Below is a screenshot taken during my Foxtel conversation today, from the Foxtel packages section of the website. The four options in shot are the Genres that form part of the standard entertainment component, of which people must choose at least one.


It shows two things very clearly. First, that Soho is in fact part of Drama in the standard entertainment component and second, that my father has clearly chosen Drama as part of his package. Join the dots: he should be getting Soho.

So, I tackled her. I pointed out precisely what was on my screen. And she disputed it: she blatantly told me that Soho was not part of that package. As I informed her, that left two possibilities. Either she was outright lying to me in an attempt to upsell us to the Premium Drama package or Foxtel was in breach of Australian consumer law by advertising and charging people a product it had no intention of providing. “Which was it?” I demanded. Obviously, I knew the answer to that.

At this point she resorted to type, telling me she “understood” and wanted to “help me” and then prcoeeded to reiterate that we could not watch Soho unless we subscribed to the Premium package. No, just no. I understand that in some cultures it is perfectly acceptable to outright lie to customers and use words you don’t actually mean, but in Australia, that is not what we regard as standard or acceptable (and it is in breach of law in the case of the former). Furthermore, I object to being treated like an idiot by someone who is clearly an idiot themselves and a liar to boot.

So, I tackled her again, this time informing her very clearly that, under Australian law, if Foxtel advertised that Soho was available as part of the Drama Genre of the standard entertainment package then they had to provide it or I would contact Consumer Affairs and report their breach of Fair Trading laws.

She then changed tact and told me that I should have called to check to make sure that Soho was included. WHAT? It’s on there, on the website, very clearly displayed, but I should call and speak to an imbicile who wouldn’t know their arse from a hole in the ground or is going to lie to me, to double check. First of all, I don’t have to under Australian law. Second, what a preposterous suggestion. I’d have more luck asking a Ouja board.

This debate raged for quite awhile. She stuck to her guns and I requested on three occasions to speak to someone more senior, which was denied. Whenver I pressed the issue she’d merely put me on hold for several minutes and then return to the call. On the third occasion I requested this, she hung up on me. I have two words: obnoxious bitch.

After that experience, Foxtel, I do not even have the presence of mind to be humourous. You cannot have your employees outright lying to your customers, attempting to use a problem to manipulate people into a sale, and behaving so rudely. My father was entitled to have his package switched from Documentaries to Drama including Soho without any resistance, let alone that level of sociopathic behaviour.

When my father called back he got someone who fixed the problem straight away, so there’s your proof.

I have formally complained and we are awaiting a response, and I will be contacting Consumer Affairs. Who knows how many people she’s conned or how many other employees do this. Perhaps it is part of the training you provide. Perhaps I was not so far off in my last letter when I commented on the similarity to Nigerian scammers.

When you discuss this with me, which will no doubt take awhile because I suspect your complaints department has a backlog the size of Mt Everest, this is what I want: Summer sacked. It’s really that simple. Trying to con a customer like that would possibly be justifiable grounds for dismissal in Australia. Regardless, if you are going to subject me to such atrociousness by placing your operations offshore where the labour costs are less, you can at least do me the courtesy of applying their non-existent workplace laws and turf her out on her arse immediately. While you’re at it, make sure she won’t be working for any other customer service oriented organisation.

At the end of the day, Foxtel, it is you who are losing out. Not only do you have a very unhappy customer who, if it wasn’t for the fact that the one sport we like is now exclusively broadcast live in Australia by you, would cut off his subscription immediately, you have one more bad story floating around, and you have created a truckload of extra work and wasted resources for yourselves dealing with a mess that never need have occured. It’s no wonder Netflix is so popular.

Regards, Jo

Hello Again, Foxtel

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