When Chorus installed fibre at Peter Kivell’s apartment the wheelchair-bound man was excited at the prospect he’d be able to better communicate with his friends and family using a voice-activated programme.
But, two months on and the 78-year-old’s excitement has turned to sheer frustration because his fibre still doesn’t work and numerous calls to Chorus have failed to solve the problem.
Kivell broke his neck after being hit by a car on a pedestrian crossing early last year.
He is now in a wheelchair with spinal cord injuries that make it hard for him to use his fingers. As a result typing an email, dialling numbers for phone calls or using a device is difficult.
Late last year Kivell temporarily moved out of his leaky Brown’s Bay apartment complex and into a home in Riverhead while repairs were carried out. At the same time the work was being done fibre was installed for all of the apartments.
During his stay in Riverhead, where fibre was available, Kivell was able to use a voice-activated programme to call his loved ones and carry out other activities on his device – something that had been very difficult without the full use of his hands.
When Kivell moved back into his apartment on November 25 he was surprised to find his fibre connection wasn’t working.
So began a two-month battle that involved phone calls to Vodafone and Chorus and several visits from Chorus staff – none of whom were able to resolve the issue.
“I rang Vodafone and they organised with Chorus that they would be around on December 1,” he said.
“They did come and fiddled around with it. They said it was the wrong box and put in a new box but they couldn’t get it to work so they went away.”
There was another visit on December 16 with the same result.
After not hearing back from anyone for a month he called a customer service helpline – “they came back saying it was an external line (into the box) that was having trouble”.
He was told today that the matter would be looked into ASAP but Kivell contacted the Herald saying he was frustrated at how long it was taking and not convinced anything would actually happen.
“It stinks,” he said of the way the matter has been handled by Chorus. “Being a monopoly they can do and take as long as they want to do anything.”
Kivell said Vodafone had been brilliant to deal with and gave him free data on a weekly basis but he needed fibre to use things like voice talk which meant he could use voice commands to do what his fingers struggled to do.
“I’m in a wheelchair and my fingers are numb so trying to do anything on an iPad or email is very difficult. I’m getting a bit fed up.”
A Chorus spokeswoman said the delays were the result of “a complex records issue which required multiple site visits to reach a resolution on how we could proceed”.
She said the matter was escalated on January 29 and followed up diligently – something Kivell disagrees with given the length of time it has taken and the fact a “plan of action” has only been put in place since the Herald contacted Chorus this afternoon.
“We apologise sincerely for Mr Kivell’s experience up to date. This has been a complex issue which has taken longer to resolve than we had hoped. We now have a plan of action in place and will be pleased to get service up and running for Mr Kivell,” she said.
“We will be in contact with Mr Kivell to arrange a technician to be on site first thing in the morning to resolve the issue and carry out the necessary tests.”
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