Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Follow-up: Stay away from Unitymedia

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The saga of the inexcusable customer hostility of Unitymedia continues:

My most recent problems had long resulted in no reaction whatsoever from Unitymedia (not counting automatic confirmations of receipt), until the 28th of February, almost a month after my first marked-as-urgent (!) query.

This reaction first came in the form of another* “please confirm your email address” email, again with a body consisting just of the text “null”**. Of course, this is entirely pointless, because I have terminated the contract with Unitymedia and have no intention whatsoever of confirming, registering, or whatnot anything—and this should have been obvious even to Unitymedia.

*As I speculate, based on previous interactions, every time a Unitymedia staffer gets her hands on an email address, the first thing she does is to create some type of online account for this email address. Once it is created, automatic emails are sent badgering the user to confirm this email address—even when he has no interest in this account.

**Either the email is basically empty or it is made out of such poor HTML that my email client cannot convert it to something readable. Using HTML, per se, is wrong in an email (and especially business email); using severely broken HTML is inexcusable. I note that this problem was present already during my first contacts with Unitymedia several years ago, and that I pointed it out explicitly: not correcting a known problem with inexcusable behavior over several years is doubly inexcusable.

This email I just saved in my Unitymedia folder and wrote it off as yet another proof of gross incompetence. Worse is to come, however:

Later the same day, I received a (readable, but extremely poorly formatted) email from a human. First claim: “Bitte entschuldigen Sie die ungewohnt lange Bearbeitungsdauer.” (“Please excuse the unusually long treatment [processing?] time.”) Under no circumstances will I excuse an almost month-long response time to a message marked as urgent—a time during which, important, not even a message of “we are sorry, but there will be several weeks before we can get back to you” arrived. Even now, an explanation for the delay was missing.

Next claim: She was sending a replacement router. Why?!?! I have TERMINATED my account! I have no interest in anything relating to Unitymedia and under no circumstance will I bother with collecting a package from Unitymedia, renew my troubleshooting, and whatnot for an account that I do not want!

Various other claims were equally idiotic, like that I should give her my telephone number, that she would check whether compensation was possible after my connection had been restored (Why the hell would that be relevant? Why should I go by her opinion on the matter?), a one-sided rejection of any damage claims (for a more* than month-long service interruption), and a request that I manually transfer allegedly outstanding fees.

*In a best case scenario, I would receive the new router (cf. below) tomorrow, March 6th, 34 days after my first email for assistance—and 41 days after the likely occurrence of the problem (January 24th, based on router logs). Factoring in my experiences with e.g. DHL, I doubt that I would have had the package, even would I try to receive it, before Monday, the 9th, for another three days and a total of a-month-and-a-half.

A particular absurdity is the claim “Wunschgemäß habe ich Ihnen einen Retourenschein zugesandt. Sie können Ihren Vertrag nicht allein durch die Rückgabe des Zubehörs kündigen. Die monatlichen Beträge werden weiterhin berechnet.” (in paraphrase: I have sent you the requested pre-address return label*, but you cannot terminate the account just by sending back the equipment and we will continue to charge monthly fees.). Considering that I have explicitly (!) terminated my account, the return of the equipment (i.e. router, etc.) is secondary, and was certainly not the means of my termination. Unitymedia has no basis whatsoever for continuing to charge monthly fees, and this seems like an outright fraudulent attempt to trick unsavvy customers into continuing an unwanted, intolerable, and unconscionable contract.

*I have not found a good translation for “Retourenschein”, but I do not that it has yet to arrive. Further, that I had explicitly requested a pre-paid one, and whether that will be the case is yet to see.

I replied with harsh email stating that I remained as a non-customer and would* outright block the used email address. About a week later, this email has seen no reaction, but I have received a notification that “my” package, presumably with the replacement router, would now be underway (earlier today, March 5th). I have also noted that Unitymedia has made an illegal “Lastschrift” withdrawal from my account, despite my having terminated the corresponding permission and despite an alleged (according to the above email) switch from Lastschrift to manual transfer for my account.

*And will, but I have not yet gotten around to it. It is the very next thing on my todo list after publishing this text …

Written by michaeleriksson

March 5, 2020 at 11:41 am

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