One problem, one too many, I am quite fad up with an incident trying get my modem repaired today but never got anything done at all. It have to be like that, the day where I have to submit my UCAS application online, the day just after the Comex IT show, my DSL modem just went poof. After further inspection, it turned out that the power supply adapter was faulty, so the modem is completely A-ok.
The object of attention
The victim is my reliable and trusty 2wire 1800HG gateway modem, 3 years and only one disconnect in it’s entire life. Not bad an experience after not-so pleasant experiences with Aztech and Linksys modems and routers myself, this is one little mean modem, only that’s it’s power supply ain’t working. So got up the Singnet technical line and told them of my problem. They told me that my current modem is out of warranty, (ok yes fair enough, I know) and the only place to get any replacement will be their suppler and the official (and only) 2wire vendor in Singapore is at 76 Playfair Road, in the LHK 2 Building.
The service center
So I got my butt off there after calling the supplier up and confirming with their counter staff, who informed me that they do offer walk-in power supply replacements for out-of-warranty models for $35 each. Later do I come to know after braving the long journey there, putting and wading through the heavy rain (to appear at their service center drenched), I was told that my modem is and end-of-life model and they do not offer any more repairs or spare parts. What?
The technicians there blatantly told me to head to Simlim Square or Tower to look for second hand adapters or an equivalent. A new modem there cost $300. Failing to accept the fact that I could have possibly wasted 3 hours of my time, all wet and miserable, just to get my equipment repaired. I called Singtel technical help line up there again hoping (and considering) that they could strike a deal with them for a replacement of failed equipment, also considering that I was still on a contract with Singtel, so aliasing with them will prove some help, after all Singtel is a big customer to the supplier.
I explained to them my problem, the fix I was in and how it led to my current situation. But no, I can only get a new modem by renewing or extending or upgrading my contract with them, otherwise, I can consider purchasing one from their hello shop as exclaimed by the operator “It might be cheaper than what they are offering there”. They knew I needed a replacement, but the conversation was not about helping customers, it’s more like fighting for you to put the money on them- Singtel or the supplier. It just simply paints a situation in line with the Chinese saying: “chen huo da jie” or thriving/making opportunities over other’s misfortune.
That was getting me nowhere, I thanked the Singnet operator, coyly saying: “Thank you so much for not offering any good support at all” and hung up. I accepted the fact on being sent on a wild goose chase and started questioning myself on my way back on my loyalty with Singtel. I had been with them for almost 15 years for my home internet connection since the Teleview era, let be patronizing their service to my business clients and even my whole family mobile lines with them. Was I wrong to stay with them all this while? I guess so, they don’t bother after all.
Reflecting on this, there were few questionable quirks in this incident, firstly both the supplier and Singtel knew what modem I was using, but they were more efficient into telling you “Your warranty is out!” rather than clarifying that they even have support for the model. There should be at least some form of continued support for products passed EOL they can’t assume that no one in Singapore still uses their old products and just dump the whole line away.
I just feel that we customers are just more of less just entities to offer a paid service and no more than that. The thing which I am sure of now is the obvious lack of recognition to long term customers- the ones the operator should pay more attention on rather than trying to get people to jump the orange and green boats. No wonder I keep getting stories from contacts I have working with Singtel about the negative subscribers rate they are having now, let be the mobile side with the new number retention policy in place and the known failure of Mio TV.
I definitely won’t be obligated to extend my contract with them next year.
With all that aside, I can always look into fixing the power supply problem myself, after all, I am an engineer. Only that I always felt that using 3rd party power supplies will have long term consequences to using tested supplies for the model itself.
Good thing I have a spare modem lying around the house.