Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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380 words

A while ago I discovered that our favourite bastard phone company offers a way to get your itemised phone bill online. It sounds quite neat: You can have different 'categories', each of which has certain phone numbers assigned to it and the web site will automagically generate sub-totals of your bill for each category. Perfect for splitting up the phone bill in our flat.

Keeping in mind that Deutsche Telekom mostly behaves like a bunch of incompetent bastards, I was sceptical about this new service. And voilà their website said it's Windows only, yadda-yadda-yadda. Still I thought, I'd call their toll-free information line, and to my surprise I found there was actually someone answering on a Saturday afternoon and even better - she actually knew what she was talking about, saying things like that it's only a web site and that she can't see any problems with non-Windows computers. So I ordered the service straight away, also having in mind that we would get €5 off just for trying it (Obviously not having to print and send everything will save them a lot of money in the long run).

This month was the first one to be billed online and of course obvious drawbacks were instantly visible. The web-site is horrid. Think of the top half of the screen being taken up by their logos and the navigation stuff - particularly useful for scrolling through loooong lists. Then it must use massive amouts of JavaScript for navigation and stuff. Many things even fail with the web browser's popup-window blocking active. That sucks.

But that's not the worst thing. To top it off, the electronic bill will list all the calls on our phone bill, including those made with other carriers but it will not analyse them and include them in computing the sub-totals. I considered this a negligence (read bug) by the programmers but pointing the problem out to them they started mumbling about legal reasons.
They also suggested, I should contact the other carriers and negotiate with them, i.e. do their homework.

Well done messieurs lawyers. Yet another potentially useful tool rendered useless. I was tempted to reply that their web-designers are as good as their lawyers - but I fear they'd consider it a compliment.

December 18, 2002, 2:25

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