Phone company issues - FarEast

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Phone company issues - FarEast

Postby dan2006 » 19 Aug 2012, 20:50

I went into a FarEast branch tonight to apply for a monthly service with them as a few of my friends use them.

My Chinese isn't the best so the first store called customer service who translated that the head office had no issue with me getting a line. The manager then grabbed the phone and I could hear her tell the customer service woman that they prefer to give me prepaid service, of course, because I am a foreigner.
Customer service didn't want to argue so after all that time with her discussing plans with me over the phone, she said that the store will give me a prepaid card. I just asked her directly, the manager doesn't want to give me a monthly plan right? and she said she didn't. The customer service rep gave me the corporate store address and said go there.

I then went over there. The girl got visibly flustered the moment I walked in and realized that she was dealing with a non Chinese speaker. Even though I had a dictionary, she kept nervously laughing and barely even looked at it when I was showing her what I meant. She immediately grabbed the phone again and we got the same customer service lady who advised the same as before.
The woman at the store told customer service that her manager wants her to sign people up on a 2 year contract, and not issue month to month plans even though Fareastone has such plans She told customer service that if I want a no contract plan I will have to come back tomorrow til she talks to her manager. I intend to stay in Taiwan but things happen and I don't want to be tied in a contract when I own my own phone. It seems the store gets more money for contracts.

I thanked the customer service lady and said I will call her tomorrow when the manager gets in the store to help facilitate the transaction, and I asked if she is working tomorrow. She said she was not so I said how about Tuesday. She giggled and didn't answer me so I asked again and she said that yes, she works Tuesday. I had forgot her name that she gave me the first time so I asked her again for it. She ignored me and said, anything else you need today, and I said yes, your name please. She said ok, you can put the other woman on the phone now, so I asked a third time and she went quiet and repeated, can I speak to the other lady now? I put her back on the phone with the lady in the store, who in the end said she didn't know the name of the woman I was talking to.

To end it all I advised I will be back tomorrow to speak to the manager. (this was in Mandarin) to which she replied 'ting bu dong' but when I left the store she was telling her friend that the waiguoren will be back tomorrow re: speaking to the manager and they both laughed nervously again.

What a mess.. With the first store, even with customer service telling them it was ok, they obviously didn't feel comfortable giving me a monthly plan
the second store girl was completely flustered the instant i walked in and made everything extremely difficult. And customer service it appears has no power over the corporate store to make them do anything, and finally, no contract = no service, even though customer service said they offer it.

What a cluster *

From all my experiences here, it seems that we are just tolerated in Taiwan as a bit of a nuisance, but essentially a non entity that any company cares to be concerned about.
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Re: Phone company issues - FarEast

Postby ksidnas » 10 Sep 2012, 12:01

Far East tone "delayed" my cancellation twice, despite the fact that I got a receipt for the cancellation from their branch store.

A couple months after my dad had died, I realized that I had saved some of his voicemails. I was so happy in thinking that I could hear his voice again, and I wanted to save them on my phone's memory card. When I finally accessed my account, I was so disappointed and broken when I found out that all of my voicemails had been erased.
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Re: Phone company issues - FarEast

Postby Steve4nLanguage » 10 Sep 2012, 13:13

dan2006 wrote:From all my experiences here, it seems that we are just tolerated in Taiwan as a bit of a nuisance, but essentially a non entity that any company cares to be concerned about.

I feel for you. I've also found that communication problems—real or perceived—can be a major factor in getting good service or not. To be fair, I've seen the same situation in the US where I come from.

My Chinese is not good, but I try, and I always bring along an electronic dictionary, etc. However, an employee's nervousness or impatience when speaking with the waiguoren often makes the transaction nearly impossible.

My friend's Chinese is excellent (he was a former missionary in Taiwan and then majored in Chinese in college) and never experiences these situations. Monthly cell phone contract without a guarantor? No problem! Get an exemption from some ridiculous store policy? No problem! Get a special price or premium thrown in because you can flirt native-style with the employee? No problem!

Sigh.

Yeah, it's frustrating, and the only thing keeping me from going crazy is trying to use that frustration to improve my Chinese ability. I guess I've come to accept that until my Chinese gets better, I'll sometimes miss out on stuff that's easily accessible to the locals. :neutral:
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Re: Phone company issues - FarEast

Postby pungnan » 10 Sep 2012, 18:44

I would also suggest this is just down to a communication issue rather than any kind of anti-foreigner bias. If you walk into any shop anywhere in the world without a decent command of the local language and try and sort out anything remotely complex (i.e. you're not just buying a carton of milk) then you will probably struggle. Having a dictionary may not help much either. Imagine you're a low-paid shop employee doing a largely dull job in a chain mobile phone shop and someone comes in with a limited grasp of your language and a dictionary...do you think 'great, a chance to help someone who can't speak my language' or do you think 'oh dear, this is going to be painful'. i wish it was the former, and arguably it should be, but I doubt it.

Even with the benefits of speaking the language and being reasonably articulate (I hope) I have still experienced really poor service in countless chain stores in the UK, probably because the employees are badly paid and demotivated. What I tend to do is just go somewhere else until I find someone willing/able to help and write it off to experience.
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Re: Phone company issues - FarEast

Postby dan2006 » 10 Sep 2012, 23:23

ksidnas wrote:Far East tone "delayed" my cancellation twice, despite the fact that I got a receipt for the cancellation from their branch store.

A couple months after my dad had died, I realized that I had saved some of his voicemails. I was so happy in thinking that I could hear his voice again, and I wanted to save them on my phone's memory card. When I finally accessed my account, I was so disappointed and broken when I found out that all of my voicemails had been erased.


I just tried to cancel PHS and they have a deposit of mine they are holding. They said they will take 2 months to give me back the money it took them 10 seconds to take from me. I wasn't impressed but what can I do. Piss poor service in Taiwan is the norm IMO.

I'm very sorry to hear about your dad though. PM me if you wish.
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Re: Phone company issues - FarEast

Postby dan2006 » 10 Sep 2012, 23:39

Thanks everyone for your comments. It was insightful.

In most cases I don't really blame the workers but the anti foreigner bias comes from the top down and the low level workers get to bear the brunt of the problem after once they tell you the bad news.

The upper management comes up with the asinine policies and then refuses to talk to you , instead hiding behind their employees.
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