Joe and I stared at the computer screen in disbelief. They’d done it again! Telefonica had seen fit to help themselves to the funds in our bank account for the THIRD time.
It first happened last year, in August, I think. I was routinely checking the balance in our account and couldn’t believe that our telephone bill had leaped from the usual 90 euros to 880 euros. So we dialled Telefonica, asked for the English speaking Helpdesk and lodged our complaint
“There’s obviously been a mistake,” said Joe.
“No mistake,” said Telefonica. “You changed your Plan. You used to have the 24/7 Internet Plan, and you changed it. Now you are being charged by the minute every time you go online.”
“But we haven’t changed anything! We didn’t change our Plan!”
Twenty minutes later, Joe and Telefonica were still arguing, and Joe was getting nowhere.
“As an act of goodwill, I will refund you 100 euros,” said Telefonica magnanimously.
Joe gave up but I was furious. Seething, I phoned the Helpdesk again. I was livid, and Telefonica got both barrels. There was a long, long pause, and finally they agreed. We had been charged far too much. It was a mistake and we were refunded.
Satisfied, we forgot all about it until December when yet again we stared at our bank balance in horror and disbelief. This time Telefonica had charged us a whopping 1,011 euros!
Joe, after calming down, dialed the Helpdesk.
“You’ve made another mistake,” he said.
“No mistake,” said Telefonica. “I can see from the computer what has happened. You changed your Plan. You used to have the 24/7 Internet Plan, and you changed it. Now you are being charged by the minute every time you go online.”
“BUT WE HAVEN’T CHANGED ANYTHING! WE DIDN’T CHANGE OUR PLAN!”
It was déjà vu, but eventually we got it sorted. Telefonica refunded our money and issued the normal 90 euro bill. But now we watched our bank balance like neurotic hawks.
It was the third time that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In February, Telefonica took 530 euros out of our account.
“But Mr Joe, nothing in this life is free,” said Telefonica. “You changed your Internet Plan.”
Joe turned purple and the vein in his forehead throbbed.
We phoned our bank and got the direct debit stopped. We researched online and found another company, an alternative to Telefonica. (Amazingly, it was BT.) Many phonecalls later, Telefonica reluctantly agreed we’d been overcharged, refunded our money and issued the normal 90 euro bill.
Long ago, we’d accepted that living up a remote Spanish mountain meant that broadband was an avenue of pleasure denied to us. But, hurrah! BT were offering us unlimited broadband, a free router and 400 minutes calling time to anywhere in Europe for LESS than Telefonica was charging us for dial-up before.
The changeover was painless and transformed Joe and me into happy bunnies. Happy that we finally had broadband, and happy that we’d successfully severed all links with Telefonica.