Monday, May 08, 2006

Digital Receiver Problems

My apartment has a large number of satellite dishes sitting on the roof. When I moved in, I asked the real estate agent how to get connected, and he gave me the phone number of the company that put most of the dishes up there, the one that has an agreement with the apartment owners.

I called, and they told me they were located near the soft drink bottlers on Sheikh Zayed Road, so I went. They said they didn't sell out of their office, that was just where they took calls for service. They gave me a number to call to schedule a person to install a decoder. So I called.

The person arrived, installed the decoder, picked up the money for decoder and installation, and left, and I've had about 400 free satellite channels for a few years now. Mostly in Arabic, Italian, Spanish, German, and French, but with Polish, Russian, Chinese, Serbian, Greek, and other languages. And a few English channels. Which I have been watching for two years.

I got home last night to find the decoder fried. Possibly because of the power surges we get, but definitely fried.

So I called the company that sold me the decoder.

'Sir, what is your SmartCard number?'

'I don't have a SmartCard, I only watch Free to Air.'

'Then you'll have to call the main office and get your SmartCard number before we can send somene out to repair your set.'

'I don't have a SmartCard. I bought a decoder from your company and I use it to watch Free to Air channels.'

'You must call the main office and get your Smart Card number.'

After quite some time yelling, she figured out that I don't have a SmartCard at all, that it wasn't that I had lost the number. She said, 'Since you don't have a SmartCard number, I can send out a technician, but if there is no problem with the satellite dish, there will be a charge.'

So I went to the nearest hypermarket to try to purchase a decoder.

There was a sticker on the shelf that said Satellite Decoder, but no decoded above the sticker.

'Do you have any decoders for sale?'

'No, the brand we used to carry had a large number of defectives. They wouldn't read the SmartCards, so we stopped selling them. Try Naif Road.'

The brand they used to sell was the one I'd purchased from the company that maintains the antenna on my building (and at a price of 1/3 what I'd paid). And, indeed, the brand does have defectives, including the one not working in my apartment.

So it looks like I can't watch my Greek-subtitled shows from the 1980s BBC.


Blogger BuJ said...

interesting to note that most ppl have a story or two to tell about bad customer service experiences. the sad thing is that here in the uae there is no customer service culture to speak of.

hope you have good reception now though :)

10:51 pm  

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