Vivo, can you please give me a line?

Foreigners are often bemused by what would have been taken for granted in their home town, but is unavailable in Brazil.

You might call it the ” I don’t belive it!” factor.

A couple of years ago I suffered a heart attack and six months later my wife left me living alone in rural Sao Paulo.

No, this isn’t a plea for sympathy, I just got on with my life, but as part of the general chaos surrounding divorce, when the telephone ceased to work, I discovered that she hadn’t paid the bill and I had been dissconnected.

No sweat thought I, I just place an order for it to be re-connected, so off I went, filled in the form, presented an old telephone bill and awaited the technician to make the connection.

Weeks turned into months and despite a return visit to Vivo’s office, still no connection, so I took my problem to my friend and lawyer who gave Vivo’s complaints section a call. He spent more than half an hour in conversation with a series of people who informed him that there was no application registered on their system and for me to make a fresh application. No sooner the word than the deed and a new application was made. Weeks past and still nothing. My friend deputised his secretary to make the next complaint.

She went through the same procedure,which incidentally baffles me with a series of questions from a robot and a series of options to be entered on the telephone only to be finally waiting for an extension to picked up but which then times out, leaving you hanging on an empty line.

When she finally got through the answer was the same. “We have no record of your application.” So another application was made.

This went on for several more months, with patience wearing thin and a growing sense that behind the scenes, Vivo was not telling us the whole story. Friends spoke of similar stories and in a confidential whisper when her supervisor was out of earshot, one brave Vivo employee told me that there were many others with the same problem but couldn’t be persuaded to tell me any more.

I had almost given up on getting my telephone restored when one sunny morning I spied a Vivo van parked near my gate and with hopes rising, went to investigate .

Two Vivo operatives were hard at work . To my dismay they informed me that they were carrying out routine maintenance work, and so I took the opportunity to tell them my story, and ask them, why will Vivo not give me a line?

Immediately the veil fell from the corporate Vivo image and with a broad grin on his face, the senior technician informed me that the answer to my question was simplicity in itself. There is no capacity for any more lines in this cable senhor! You are in a queue with all of the others who are waiting to be connected. In fact, the cable does not even reach to the top of the hill!

Off I went to my lawyer’s office to spread the news and ask for further advice. My friend was indignant and wanted to open an action against Vivo, but explained that it could be expensive and was not certain of success, so I shrugged my shoulders and booked an appointment for  a test installation for an antenae to link my cell phone. Unfortunately the test proved negative because the hill behind my property blocked out the signal.

Time for a re-think, and a change of strategy. If there are so many others in the same situation, could a petition be the answer?

Several conversations with friends later I sat in the air-conditioned comfort of my Town Council’s offices talking to Vereadora Debora.

After she had patiently listed to my entire story, Deborah launched into a detailed description of all of the previous attempts made by the Council to persuade Vivo to install lines to rural properties. It was a lengthy response and despite the failure to date to achieve a single success, she agreed to my request for the health service to distribute a petition for me, on the grounds that I and many others in the community, were dissadvantaged in accessing medical help in an emergency.

As a parting shot she told me that I was up against a “Lion” and wished me luck!

That was when the ” I don’t belive it!” factor kicked in!

I am not a person to be easily riled, but this situation struck me as being totally ridiculous and wholly unfair on the most vulnerable members of the community who live with a medical condition in rural areas.

What happens when you need to call an ambulance in an emergency?

I am therefore using my blog and every other resource available to me, including this year’s elections for State  Deputados, to summon Public and Political opinion in order to get a change in the law.

Please take a second of your time to register your response to my Poll.

Will you support me?

If your answer is YES, please give me possitive feed-back and spread the word!

Have you had a negative experience with Vivo?

If you have a complaint to add, please feel free to join my bandwagon!

Thank you

Alastair

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