Don’t do it. Do not, whatever you do, even think about doing it. I was happy not doing it. And then I weakened and did it. And now I am living to bitterly regret it. I speak of switching my broadband provider, of course.
Like any ‘switch’, it promised to be many things — cheaper, faster, shinier — and turned out to be a living nightmare. What made it worse was that my BT service was very good. It was expensive, but it worked. I remember the fateful day I decided to ditch it. I knew deep down it was the wrong thing to do. I loved you, BT broadband. You weren’t superfast fibre-optic. But I loved you all the same.
Then I had a rush of blood to the head and decided to ring Sky to ask whether I could get a cheaper TV package. I could, and not only that, if I switched my broadband, I would also get a fantastic deal.
I explained that I liked my BT broadband. Would Sky broadband work as well? Oh yes, they assured me. It would work even better because of a little something called ‘a free broadband booster’ which would make the signal go twice as far. I had seen the advert for this with Michael Caine. The one that ends with the slogan ‘Sky. Believe In Better’.
‘Now you mention it,’ I said, ‘the BT signal does get a bit weak in parts of the house.’ Well then, suffer no longer, they intimated. With Sky broadband and TV, you will get everything you ever wanted for half the price.Half the price for everything I ever wanted, I mused. That does sound good.
And with a deep sense of foreboding and guilt, I abandoned my trusty old BT phone service. ‘You just plug in the new hub when it arrives in the post,’ said the salesman. ‘No, no,’ I said, ‘I will not be able to just plug in the hub. I will have a nervous breakdown.’
And so an arrangement was struck whereby the Sky engineer who was coming to change my satellite box — for I was due a new one — would help me with the hub too.
On the appointed day, he arrived as planned and all went well until he unplugged my defunct BT hub and ‘just plugged in’ the Sky hub. We waited, and waited…and broadband signal came there none.
I didn’t hesitate. I slumped at the kitchen table and started weeping. ‘I knew this would happen,’ I wailed. ‘Oh why did I leave BT? Why? I’ve been a fool! A damn fool! Do you think they will have me back?’
The Sky engineer turned green and phoned his superiors. Someone on the line talked him through finding the elusive broadband. He had to search every phone socket in the house for one that the hub would do business with and the only one it liked was in the living room, where I least needed a strong signal. The signal ran out completely halfway down the hallway. There was only a weak flickering in the office and nothing at all in the kitchen.
‘But hang on,’ I cried, suddenly remembering the crucial factor that had persuaded me, and Michael Caine, to switch in the first place, ‘we’re forgetting the broadband booster!’
‘Booster?’ said the engineer.
‘Booster! I’ve been sent a free booster!’
And we began rummaging through the box. It wasn’t there, so I burst into inconsolable wailing, banging the table with my fists. The Sky engineer fled the house.
I then embarked on a three-hour-long set of phone calls to Sky. It turned out that — as per the small print on the bottom of the advert — I had to register for the booster online. (Not a lot of people know that.) I spent a long time trying to do this but the system wouldn’t register my order.
A nice guy on the technical helpline tried but he couldn’t get it to work either. ‘Turns out you’re not eligible,’ he said, sounding like he was about to cry. In fact, he had a heavy cold. ‘This isn’t fair,’ he sniffled. ‘You’ve been promised something and you should get it. I’m going to try and override the system. Aaaah-choo!’
The man with the flu battled like a trooper to get me that booster. In the end, he took my debit card details so he could sell it to me, then refund me the money.
Seven days later, it still hadn’t arrived. And so, with a heavy heart, I rang the corporate communications team and pushed the ‘I’m writing an article’ button. Hey presto, a booster arrived in 24 hours by special delivery. It was easy to install and works a treat. I now have a fantastic broadband signal.
Sky. Believe in Barter.