How Not to Order Internet at Home

How Not to Order Internet at Home

This is a rant about the Spanish internet providers and which craziness I faced to browse YouTube and Facebook from the safety of my home. After recently moving to Spain I took a lovely flat for to finish my Ph.D. The flat came with many useful utilities, but the internet had not been included so I needed to find a provider myself. At no point then did I imagine that ordering Internet in Spain will take me on an Odyssey of three frustrating months.

I took the flat for one year because I do not expect to stay in Spain after finishing my Ph.D. This narrowed down the selection of internet offers to only a few without long-term contracts. I was disappointed to see how bad the price-to-service ratio was for these contracts compared to other European countries where I have been living.

Among these, I picked Pepephone as my best choice since the total price was not as painful as for others and their app looked nice and clean. With the promise that the phone will be activated in the next days, I ordered ADSL internet and a mobile phone card at once. It took Pepephone several weeks to activate the phone because they decided to do a background check. That would not be a big problem, would I have known that this will happen and ordered the service in advance. But, in Spanish telecom business, the client seems to always be the clueless one, so it was not mentioned during the registration.

Now, phase two. The technician was supposed to come and connect the ADSL router in up to four weeks. After week four I started to get fidgety and decided to call Pepephone. The typical 10-minute hell of support hotlines resulted in a feeble apology and the promise to look into the issue. At the same time, I started to write emails to the support to speed up the issue. The responses were similar there. After week 6, several phone calls, and many unanswered emails, a lovely lady while screaming at me “we apologize for the inconvenience” every minute explained that it is not Pepephone’s fault. The subcontractor Telefónica that sends the technician should be blamed. But, she cannot provide any info on that company. Finally, week 7 an email came saying that it is impossible to connect ADSL in my flat and the habitual “we apologize for the inconvenience”.

I was boiling at this point, but fine, developing resilience, right? Then unexpectedly, another email came, claiming that I have given a wrong address to Pepephone and I can try to connect again with the correct address. Since I was following their automated picking of the address, I did not know what happened but registered again. After waiting for a pair of weeks another email came saying they cannot connect ADSL.

At this point, I developed a manic laughter. It must have been the devil who pushed me to consider MÁSMÓVIL. I decided to take a one-year contract since the short-term ones were so miserable. I registered online. The webpage said: Congrats and welcome to Masmovil family! One week later I called my new family. It turned out an error in the system prevented my registration. Registered again by phone. Received the confirmation! Now I had to sign the contract online on MÁSMÓVIL webpage (a pseudo-legal procedure common for Spanish telecom providers). An error on their webpage prevented that. Called the hotline hell. The lovely lady noted the error on the other end of the wire and said that the technicians will come anyway now. Small steps! One week later, I discovered that I could not access my MÁSMÓVIL account on their page. After writing an email to the support it turned out that the company had canceled my order because it is impossible to provide ADSL in my flat. Good that I developed paranoia and called since without being notified I would have waited until the kingdom come.

The last resort was Amena: 40 gigabytes of 4G wifi anywhere, you just need a very expensive router they sell. Not cheap, but by now I was too disappointed to deal with ADSL. Registered. Read typical “welcome to our family!”. Now I only had to wait for the router. When I came to a post office to pick it up, the post office clerk put it in my hands. And then he took it away. It turned out that I could not have the router because it was marked to be shipped back. After screaming into the pillow for some time, I called Amena. The voice on the other end said there was an internal error with my account so I need to register and order the router again. After which it took an additional week or so to connect, but in the end, I received my coveted Wi-Fi and used it up in a week on Netflix and music streams. But that is another story.

Sometimes life gives you lemons and that is normal. And then there are Spanish overpriced and unprofessional internet providers which put you through a banal 21st century, first-world hell that gives you tics and twitches. I’m not sure which lessons can be extracted from my experience. I would say: buy some books and CDs before ordering your internet at home.