So everyone knows moving house is stressful. I think it ranks third or fourth in the most stressful things to do. It is partly why I have resisted for so long.
Some days it feels like wading through treacle, whilst juggling three eggs and balancing a priceless Ming jar on my head…
And the process is made so much worse by having to deal with the ‘service’ companies. Of which there are seemingly hundreds. All with their different timescales, procedures, requirements and levels of awkwardness.
Like most people who are in a chain the date of our completion has slipped. I cannot believe this is an unusual event in the world of house moving. I knew it would cause problems.
One particularly helpful service company, lets call them ‘Large Landline Provider Who Really Should Be Better at This’ (LLP) stipulate that you must give four weeks notice of a house move. I duly did, I called the ‘Home Mover Centre’ and spoke to a really quite knowledgeable lady who booked my move and gave me a reference number. I discussed with her at length the notice requirements for changing the date of the move. I wrote down the last day I could possibly move the date, what number to call and hung up feeling remarkably optimistic.
Our date moved. I called LLP three days before my deadline. I spoke to someone who seemed really quite knowledgeable who moved the date. I got confirmation by text and e mail with a new reference number. This reference number actually worked on the LLP on line tracking system so I could see for myself on the t’internet that the dates were correct. I relaxed.
At no point should I have given in to optimism or relaxed. One should never relax. Ever.
On the original move date I got a call from my estate agent to say that my vendor had called. LLP had deactivated her landline a full 2 weeks before our new scheduled completion. I swore, apologised, asked him to apologise to her and promised I would call LLP to investigate.
I called the number I called to change the date. I spoke to a lady who seemed much less knowledgeable than the last two, maybe that was disappointment colouring my judgement, I am not sure. It didn’t help that she did not understand me. Or if I am honest me her. She took my reference number and merely kept repeating that ‘everything looked fine from her end’. She was presumably in the same system that I could access from the comfort of my study and so, I agreed, everything looked fine. But clearly wasn’t. As my vendor had been cut off. This seemed to confuse her.
By this point I had started to become increasingly concerned about the likelihood of my phone line actually moving on the actual correct date. Despite what it said at their end. She repeated her new mantra that ‘everything at their end looked fine’. I asked was she sure that my phone line, broadband and number would move successfully over at the correct juncture, she hesitated and said ‘Yes’, I asserted that she did not sound that sure. She re-iterated her affirmation. She then suggested I talk to the Faults Department.
I spoke to another confused lady in the Faults Department. This one seemed even less knowledgeable. Except that she was very certain she could not talk to me as it was not actually my phone line that had been de-activated. Despite the fact that it was my home move order that seemed to have gone awry. I guess all this could have been an amazing co-incidence with an engineer randomly cutting my vendor off for fun on the exact date I had originally booked for. Stranger things have happened.
I called the Agent back and explained that as far as LLP were concerned the move was scheduled for the correct day and I could not discuss with them the problems my vendor was having as it wasn’t my account. Interestingly the vendor had already tried to talk to LLP to get her phone re-instated but they would not talk to her either as according to ‘their’ records I now owned the line.
So new strategy. I called the number I called right at the start of the process when I spoke to someone who I understood and had filled me with confidence, however false. I dialled and got a lady, I think it was even the same woman. She could see the order had been changed. And it all looked ‘fine from her end’. At this point I started searching LLP’s impenetrable web site for their complaints procedure. She needed to put me through to the ‘Order Management Department’. This sounded promising. A department with a name, surely staffed by competents with better IT systems and more, well, knowledge.
I ended up in the same call centre I had spoken to first thing in the morning, this time a man, but still not easy to understand or make myself understood to. I imagine it somewhere in the tropics, the line, ironically, sounded bad enough. That mantra again, clearly it is on a list of ‘responses to awkward customer questions’. He went away to see what else he could dig up, probably a cup of tea.
I like the Four Seasons as much as the next person, I think it was Spring at the time, I passed the few minutes ascertaining from the impenetrable web site that in order to complain I would need to call the exact same number I was currently holding on with. He came back and stated that he needed to put me through to the Faults Department. Which he duly did. After a few more bars of soaring strings I decided to hang up not relishing another round of ‘we cannot talk to you as it is not your phone line’.
The phone then rang. It was the ‘helpful’ chap I had hung up on. He noticed I had hung up and was concerned there was a problem. Well clearly there were several, not least of which was too much Vivaldi. This seemed to pass him by and he put my through again, after mentioning the long queue that would await me. I waited until I was firmly in that queue before hanging up.
Meanwhile the vendor had had more success, goodness knows how, and was hoping to have her line reinstated by the next day. The Agent said she could see the funny side, thankfully, I remained mortified at the inconvenience she had been put through.
I decided to give up and put my faith in the fact that it all ‘looks fine from their end’… I will probably be without phone line and internet for weeks…at least, dear reader, you will be spared my rant about it…