Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For the love of Telcos

The other day I was all over the “city” (town, rather) trying to get internet and phone. So I wasted almost a whole day. Ran to shops. Studied offers. READ FOOTNOTES! For fuck's sake, you won't believe how many "different" offers with how many more footnotes there are. The usual offer looks like this: 16 MBit* DSL, €0 upfront**, €0 per month***, hardware included****, online flatrate*****, phone flatrate******, and whatnot*******. And then there is usually half a dozen offers per provider. And there is at least half a dozen providers. More like a dozen (O2, T-Online, Congstar, Vodafone, Alice, QSC, 1&1, Fucknet, Arcor, Unitymedia, yadda yadda yadda). With lots of variables. And promises. And all the facts carefully buried in tons of footnotes. Apropos, the footnotes for the average offer from above go like this (shortened to the essential information because I'll move my sorry jet-lagged ass to bed in a minute):

* Maximum speed, your mileage may vary. (And if you get only 1 MBit, hey, we're happy you pay us for 16, we told you it's maximum.) ** Only if you sign a 24 months contract. (Once we got you locked in you'll see our real face. You got problems? Too bad, we got your money already. Try calling that 0900 number, it's only €2 per minute. Enjoy being put on hold for a while until we pick up. If we do so at all, that is.) *** For the first month. For the remaining 23 months it'll be €30. (If you're lucky, that is. If you happen to live in a place for which our random number generator said you have to pay more, you're gonna pay more. Usually 5 extra bucks. Um, euros. That's eight bucks. Canadian. Sometimes really just because.) **** Only the crappy^Hbasic model, €39 for the a-bit-less-crappy model. (You want decent hardware? Go buy it yourself. For a decent amount of money of course.) ***** For offers 2, 7, 14, and 42, other offers may be charged by time or volume, see footnotes 17, 18, 19 and 1452. (And I'm just too tired to type in more numbers. I'll leave it to your imagination how those paragraphs look like.) ****** Only valid for the network of [insert provider name here]. No special phone numbers. (And boy will we charge for any other network. And dare you make an international call!) ******* Really, you won't be finished reading that quickly in reality. Appreciate my mercy here. And believe me, you'll always have the feeling you don't have all the information to make an informed decision. Even after reading everything. Twice.

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