Telecom at the service of the country


Telecom Italia is watching over us. Day and night, in the office or in a sailing boat Tronchetti thinks of the good of the country. What is most pressing for him is our future. Telecom Italia is not mainly at the service of its clients. It’s difficult to find anyone who says the contrary.Telecom Italia is much more. It is a great group at the service of the country.

Tronchetti has bought page after page of newspaper space with money from our phone calls to explain how much affection he has for Italy. These are pages in which he is keen to let us know that Telecom is not bankrupt, but is healthy: “current net debt of about 39,000,000,000 Euro: 70% at fixed rate and an average length of 8 years.” But what is? The publicity of the bonds about to be issued or the proposal of new telephone services? The market of Telecom Italia is made up of satisfied clients and investors: “More than 100 million clients and millions of investors each day demonstrate the trust that the company enjoys” If it weren’t obligatory to connect to Telecom the clients wouldn’t have all this trust and there would be lots fewer of them. For the investors there’s a different argument. What trusting investors? I would like to know at least one. Send me an email. The Telecom share value has lost about half its value since Tronchetti arrived. Just since the beginning of the year it has gone down by 9.58%.

For Tronchetti, the pockets of the clients are sacred: “a technological phenomenon to offer innovative services and reduce prices for consumers”.

On this point however there’s not a real consensus in the country. The Justice of the Peace of Torre Annunziata, Giuseppe D’Angelo has accepted an action brought by a user against the payment of the line rental. Telecom was found guilty and ordered to pay back all the line rental payments received and to pay legal costs. According to Codacons: “this judgement opens up the road for more than 20 million similar actions in front of Justices of the Peace by Telecom users.” In Italy there is no such thing as a “class action”. If there were, the line rental would disappear in the course of about a month. However there is the possibility to be informed. I’ll leave this post on the right hand side of the site to receive testimony from other Telecom clients asking for the abolition of the line rental.

PS Tronchetti is always inventing something. The costs of sending out the bills has gone up from 0.17 euro to 0.37 Euro plus sales tax. Thanks to this smart increase Telecom will receive 52 million Euro in a year. However, the tribunale di Catanzaro has established that the cost of sending out the bills is illegitimate and Codacons has started an initiative with a predefined form to contest the increase.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 11:32 AM in | Comments (12)
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I totally agree with Stephanie on the scam that
the big monopoly companies in Italy use to fleece
the 'ignorant' consumers. I was born in Australia, raised in the U.S. and have been in
Europe since the very late '70 - between France,
Switzerland and Italy - as residencies, and have
travelled the whole 'boot' if Italy at least 20/
30 times so far. I too, feel powerless, helpless
when it comes to 'bucking' the system over here.
It seems that the customer was invented to fill
up the purses of the few 'clever' magnates who
feel they don't need to explain, placate or please clients except by telling them - abbia
pazienza!!! I'm so sick of that phrase. It makes
my blood boil 'cause that's the answer most people in Italy mouth to you when you vent steam
about being taken for a fool. Or, here's the other one that makes my veins throb - E' così!
Cosa vuole dire?? E' così perche noi vogliamo che
sia o perche altri vogliono che sia? I non sono
d'accordo for example to pay the canone on RAI TV
viewing rights. This is one of the most flagrant
use of the license to steal that I've ever come across. When one buys a TV, one should pay the
initial luxury tax on the item and THAT'S THAT.
Not in Italy. Why is this?? Why are the people
so helpless??

Posted by: sharyn gaffney | May 7, 2006 01:16 PM

I agree with Rafaella about Skype. I've used it to communicate with people in Italy and it works fine.

Posted by: George De Stefano | May 5, 2006 04:23 PM

Stephanie: I don't think that Beppe could read all the comments, on the italian site they are more than 1500 a day! May be he reads our comments in english, they are much less !
By the way, I read the story of your vicissitudes with Telecom. It's horrible, but unfortunetly the daily normality for italian consumers.
A few years ago I was commuting between Rome and Berlin. Every time I came back to Italy I was more and more pissed off to see how italian consumers was treated and, even worse, to see the consumer's reaction. I remember an episode in Berlin, as I found in a supermarket a past its use-by date product. I went to the checkout counter and I showed the expired date of the product, they apologized many times and gave me 5 marks as recompense to have found this product instead of them! The same happend to me in Italy, I found a past its use-by date product, the check-out clerk looked browned off at me and said rudely: It can happen, YOU must pay attention to the best-before date! That was all. None of the other customers said a world
Italian consumers are accostumed to be treated like asshole, and, as you said, they are totally alone in their fight against arrogance and carelessness.
About Telecom I want to say that the problem is its position of real monopoly, because it owns the whole telephone infrastructure. The solution would be to nationalize them and to give them in concession to the telephone companies(inclusive Telecom), so that every telephone company could have the same opportunities in a free competitive system, to consumer's advantage.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | May 5, 2006 11:59 AM

Hi guys! I'm back.
I was wondering if Beppe actually reads the postings. What do you think?
Probably not. There are way too many if we also include those on the Italian version of the blog.
... well... just wondering... that's all
Take care


Posted by: Stephanie Noble | May 5, 2006 07:46 AM

Here in the US I have a contract with Cable One. With $29 per month I have cable TV (lots of channels) and very fast internet connection. When I call Italy I use Skype. I even use Skype (Skype Out) for a small fee when I call other relatives who are in the States - the computer challenged ones!!
Too good to be true. Hopefully it won't change.

Posted by: Stephanie Noble | May 5, 2006 07:40 AM

Here in Germany the Deutsche Telekom offered almost two years ago to send the bill via email (or to pick it up on their web site). I got a 5 euro bonus and I pay no fee anymore.
PS: check out the different monthly prices Telecom is offering in Italy, Germany and France for their DSL flat (Alice). They are quite unconsistent.

Posted by: Fabrizio P | May 5, 2006 05:03 AM

Thank you, Stephanie.
The Italians need some organisation to protect their interests and from what I see is not the consumer's association.
Here in the US I have a contract with Time-Warner that for $120 a month gives me a VoIP phone (free calls within the US and 8 cents a minute to Italy), a Broadband web access and 400 cable channels.
In 3 days.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | May 4, 2006 09:58 PM

Giovanni said it right. Telecome Italia is sickening... and these new ads are simply ridicolous.
I'll report here part of my personal experience. My husband and I were in Italy from September to March and we needed the internet connection. We did not want to start a contract with Telecom (as a matter of principle, we dealt with Telecom Italia and Deutsche Telecom before), but after talking with neighbors and friends who had tried to be connencted to the www throught a different provider (there are a couple only) we were scared away. There seem to be big issues between these providers and Telecom, especially when repairs are needed. My father's friend needed to have the connection restored but couldn't have the technician do the repairs because Telecom was claiming somenthing like nobody can touch the phone lines but THEIR technicians. Pretty much they blackmail and threaten the citizens willing to go with a different provider with the idea of having huge amounts of money to pay in phone line damages. Long story short, the poor guy did not have the interenet connection for weeks and, in the end, he decided to shut down everything. Needless to say he was livid, "alla faccia del rapporto di fiducia!"
While I was in Italy I had to live with the feeling that I was powerless, and that's just wrong. I swallowed the bitter bite and signed a contract with Telecom Italia for those six months. I rememebr paying the 37 euro cents for the bill, the same for any other communication that was sent, we paid 12 euros upfront to cover for future conversation calls (I've to admit I still don't get the reasoning behind that charge), we paid 150.00 euros to have the phone line connected (which is just the movement of a switch!!!!), and we paid 3.75 euros every bimester for 'canone modem', please note that the modem we used was not given to us by Telecom but we previously bought it and my hubby installed it.
Let's not forget that the phone company offers the '187, servizio clienti'. That's another pain in the neck. I called the service countless of times, just to have to deal with frustrated clerks with an attitude. First of all, not all the services are free, as advertised. For example, when I did not receive the phone book I called the 187 to request a copy. They provided me with a different extension, and that call I paid. Then I called 187 to ask for the reimbursement of the 'canone modem', and several other times to inquire about the lack of connectivity. Although we were paying a flat rate for Alice ADSL, every month (at least while I was in Italy) the connection disappeared for a while. It was just a matter of calling to inform them and after 48 hours the internet connection was back. That meant that for 3-4 days per month we had no service, but we were charged for it anyway.
When we left we shut down everything, of course. At the moment I'm waiting for the last bill. I'm curious to see what is next.

The only way to avoid the fee for the delivery of the bill is to request the electronic bill to be sent to the e-mail account through the 187 and to have the bill paid directly from the bank account. As I don't trust either Telecom or the Italian bank system, I didn't do it. Anyway, my options were:
- pay the famous 37 euro cents plus 1 euro at the post office to pay the bill, but to retain some sort of control in case some clerks screwed up in the process; or
- pay the famous 37 euro cents plus 70 euro cents per transaction to the bank for the automatic debit to my account, but have the hassle of dealing with an atrocious burocracy in case some clerks screwed up in the process. No money back guranteed, anyway.

The Italian people have all my simpathy because they are really alone. They have virtually no protections. Those bodies in place to protect consumers' rights must make themselves known to the public and REALLY need to show their teeth to the abusive companies.


Posted by: Stephanie Noble | May 4, 2006 08:37 PM

Skype is very good, and even better is Voip stunt!
With voip stunt you pay 10 euros only once, then you can call the regular landlines of the most important countries in the world (inclusive Australia, USA, China and many others) for free!!!
The P2P calls are obviously always for free.
I use both of them, Skype for the P2P calls and Voip stunt for regular lines!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | May 4, 2006 08:02 PM

And Red Wine.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | May 4, 2006 07:54 PM

Everywhere companies whith a monopol they are the same: More expensive and frequently at the bankrupcy
Better to think Skype. I know, it's an american company but we can pay with spaghetti.

Posted by: blisco jaio | May 4, 2006 06:45 PM

Telecom makes me puke.
Tens of thousands of italians are reamed every day by this guy and nobody lifts a finger to put him in the slammer and fix this absurd situation.

Posted by: Giovanni Principe | May 4, 2006 06:45 PM

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