Sunday, 11 September 2016


You know that feeling of utter hopelessness you get when you’re on the phone to a service provider? Twice recently, when dealing with Eir, I thought I was losing my mind.

My home’s only 25 minutes from Galway City, yet in 21st century Ireland there’s no landline-based internet available here. Instead I have to pay for satellite internet, separate satellite TV, a landline and a mobile. 

Our internet is so slow that for business I rely almost entirely on my phones, constantly irritated by Eir’s bombardment of cheap bundle offers that I can’t subscribe to, as they don’t provide broadband.

Fed up with forking out around €120 a month for my two phones, I called Eir to see if I could get a better deal and they offered me a landline and mobile bundle for €87.00. Hardly a startling discount, it required an 18 month contract with full cancellation fees.

As a customer since 1992, I felt offended by those contractual obligations, so I called back within the cooling-off period to cancel the deal.

The salesman told me there was (all of a sudden) no need for the contract at all; that he’d give me a €10 discount for six months and I could be sent a paper bill. He did such a great job that I ended up signing.

“Fair play to you mate!” I told him, enjoying the prospect of writing a positive colyoom about customer service. What a welcome change that’d make to the usual consumer columns that exist to criticise.

Then Eir went and spoilt it all.

A couple of weeks after the new deal, neither of my phones would dial out. Living where I do at first I thought it might be atmospheric pressure or the Little People, but eventually I dialed 1901 to be told that Eir had cut me off.

This was Am I Losing My Mind? #1.

Eir said they’d created a credit limit for me, which was then somehow exceeded, so they cut me off.

I wailed down the line about how difficult it is as a customer to pay a provider if nobody sends a bleedin’ bill, and how much did I owe anyway?




No, you’ve got it wrong. It can’t be, even with you going on about overlaps covering new contract times and all that malarkey. The deal was €78 a month for the first six months, then up to €87, and you come up with €281.39, and a random credit limit, and then you cut me off without even sending me a bill?

I’ve lost business and credibility and how much did you say again?


Eir agreed to investigate whether I’d been mis-sold about free calls to UK and Irish mobiles.

I paid everything, just to rid myself of irritation, so imagine my delight when I returned from abroad in June to find no messages on my landline.

When Eir restored the service they cut off because I hadn’t paid a bill they hadn’t sent me, they failed to restore my vital voicemail. So when prospective students and interested editors found they couldn’t leave a message, they were unlikely to call back.

For my small business it was a financial disaster, exacerbated by a supervisor at Eir’s Complaints Department, who sent me off to Am I Losing My Mind? #2.

He kept telling me that Eir had sent me two texts about the money I owed, before they cut me off. He ignored both my words and my payment history, which showed that I’m the boring sod who pays all my bills on time, every time.

Ergo, if they had deigned to send me a bill, I’d have bloody paid it.
Repeatedly insisting that I’d been sent the texts, he went on to tell me that Eir’s texts were reminders, not bills.

I lost my temper and started shouting.

“When a provider asks me for money, I call that a bill, don’t you?”
“No, they were reminders.”
“Mate, you are having a laugh with my head now.”

I checked my message history and as I suspected, I’d received no texts.

Hell, I didn't suspect: I knew, but Eir offered no compensation for loss of business, just robotic pedantry about their Terms and Conditions.

Then I receive in the mail a flashy pop-up full colour leaflet, telling me that my Eir broadband bundle is going up by €8.00 a month, but that’s okay because I’m going to get Eir Sport, and free calls to Irish mobiles as part of an improved package.

My head spins.
Are Eir even aware that they don’t offer broadband here?

I already pay BT Sport for the TV channels that Eir’s offer adds to the broadband bundle to which I cannot subscribe anyway.

Eir then tell me this offer was sent in error; that the broadband bundle that I don’t have isn’t going up in price, but my calls to Irish mobiles are still not part of my bundle.

Recently I was asked by a German student where most locals got their broadband.

“From Eir.”
“From air? I heard that in Ireland technology is strong, but that is amazing.”

After spending €16 million on rebranding, people really should recognise your company name when they hear it, and visually relate it to a strong logo.

Appearing in a seemingly infinite amount of colours, Eir’s three letters sound exactly like a different word.

This is the opposite of branding.

If Eir had invested in their product and customer service, instead of wasting a fortune on such feeble marketing, I might have proper broadband by now.

As these calamities are happening to me, I strongly suspect they’re going on all over the country.

The crushing fact remains that until Eir provide fibre broadband, I have no choice but to subscribe to their monopoly. In the meantime I’ll try to run my business despite them.

©Charlie Adley

No comments: