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News : Spark's Poor Service Drives Hamilton Man to Brink
Wellington, New Zealand, Nov 6, 2015 -- More than a week without internet or landline - despite trying to contact Spark by numerous methods - prompted a Hamilton man to advertise for help.
Clive Hamill said overwhelming frustration led him to put a "Spark therapy needed" ad in Tuesday's Waikato Times, quickly followed by a "crash cart attendant" request the following day.
"After 12 days, 13 separate calls, 217 telephone direct contact minutes, 6 SPARK Live Chats, 2 emails, 1 customer survey, 4 promises of service and 1 Twitter interaction still no broadband or telephone service," it read.
Spark has started an investigation into the lapse, which was "not at all what we want for our customers" and Ultrafast Fibre has apologised for a phone number mix-up.
Hamill, principal of Melville High School, said the internet and landline phone stopped working at his Chartwell home on October 25 and 26, soon after fibre was installed.
But trying to talk to someone about fixing it caused him the most stress.
"It's just been a bloody nightmare," he said.
"Apart from the call centre people [in the Philippines] we aren't able to talk to anybody or get a response."
And apparently he's not the only frustrated one, as his advertising got him a few text messages saying 'I know how you feel'.
Hamill's issue was fixed in about 15 minutes on Thursday, the same day media enquiries were made, but he said the experience left him "absolutely totally frustrated".
"If they said 'it won't be til next Thursday we get onto it' you might be a bit grumpy but at least you've got an end point," he said.
"Four times we got assured by different [call centre] operators that somebody would be in touch and that it would get dealt to."
Hamill and wife Maria are both school principals who rely on the internet to do extra work from home.
The Hamills also tried going direct to Ultrafast Fibre, the installer, but were directed back to Spark for authorisation for the work.
Spark understood the breakdown had started with a problem with the fibre installation, spokesperson Lucy Fullarton said.
"Mr Hamill has done everything right and it really has been just a bit of a breakdown in process on our end," she said.
"The length of time he's gone without service and the frustration he's experienced trying to fix the problem is just completely unacceptable and not at all what we want for our customers."
Spark had apologised to Hamill and would discuss compensation with him, she said.
His case would be investigated by the fibre team to find out what went wrong and how it could be avoided in future.
A mix-up with Hamill's cell phone number also contributed a couple of day's delay, Ultrafast Fibre chief marketing officer Richard Riley said.
Hamill had recently been connected to the communal network for fibre.
"Think of it as a highway. We're building a high way [the communal network], roading all around the cities. Once that's complete we can build the driveways to the homes. That's the provisioning aspect," he said.
"In this job was the provisioning job was completed and tested successfully and then something has happened post that installation."
A troubleshooting job was logged with Ultrafast on Monday but two digits in Hamill's cellphone number were transposed, so technicians couldn't contact him.
Once the job was escalated on Thursday, Riley managed to contact Hamill and the job was completed that day, within about 15 minutes.
Issues with fibre were uncommon and he only received about two each quarter, he said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, November 9, 2015