Sour Barbados LIME Says “Service? Reliability? Please Stand By…”

LIME by Cable & Wireless: Limited Internet, Many Expenses

LIME by Cable & Wireless: Limited Internet, Many Expenses

Its 06.45 hrs Monday morning and for nearly three hours I have been trying to make a number of overseas calls and send faxes throughout the region.

‘All circuits are busy’ is the recorded message you get and when I dialled 0, the operator who eventually answered, knew nothing about the problem and then gave me the wrong customer service number.

When I called the right number, a heavily accented person stated ‘try again in an hour or so’.

With declared profits of US$97 million in one trading year, is it unreasonable to expect a higher level of service delivery?

Now of course, when the service is restored all calls and faxes will be charged at a higher rate because it will be in peak time and charge rates.

Yet!  No expectation of a refund or compensation for this appalling service.

Should we expect more from LIME?

Adrian Loveridge
16th March 2009

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32 Comments

Filed under Consumer Issues

32 responses to “Sour Barbados LIME Says “Service? Reliability? Please Stand By…”

  1. Jason Ramsay

    And what about their internet service going down on sunday evening, for hours!!! costing businesses big time and hotel guests a missery! i cant tell you how many times i had to appologise to our hotel geusts.
    And what about the day their network went down a whilst back, there was no technical problem as they say they did because a person within the company did it deliberately to give the company a bad reputation, even though it has one already! this resulted from the talk of lay offs and when the big boys from cable and wireless in london came down here to chat to the Hon. Prime minister, was all timed when all this was going on! and i heard this from someone who works in lime.
    Tele barbados might be a bit more expensive but at least you can get reliability!

  2. No competition means substandard service.

  3. Fish Net

    Correct

  4. Jack Bowman

    Not completely correct. There are economic sectors in Barbados where competition is intense. And within those sectors (for example, trying to buy lunch at a relatively expensive lunch place in Hastings and waiting 45 minutes before they remember that they forgot that you existed), service is often substandard.

    Monopoly is a huge problem, but it’s not the main one. The main one is institutional culture. Cable and Wireless (or whatever it’s called now; it’s a Lemon, right?) could be a well-run and reasonably efficient monopoly. But it isn’t. As regards service, it’s a joke. And somebody, many people in fact, have decided to play that joke on you. The Lemon’s tech support service officially shuts down at 4:30 p.m. But on Friday afternoon, they simply stop answering the phone after 1:00 p.m. After that, if you call, you’re talking to someone in St. Lucia who is very pleasant and entirely useless. So you have to wait till Monday.

    This is not entirely a matter of monopoly. It’s a matter of decisions made by the Lemon. The Lemon C&W could decide to pay technical experts at the weekend to get you back on-line if you lose the synch on Saturday morning. The Lemon has made a corporate decision not to do that.

    A different monopoly might do that. Possibly it wouldn’t. But still, the problem is not the monopoly. The problem is the institutional culture at this particular Lemon, which we all have to suck until the elected and overweight people in grey suits whose salary I pay decide that this company really SUCKS and that changes should be made.

  5. A-Fish

    Didn’t I hear a few months ago Digicel planned to host their Internet services sometime this year?

    I would wish and entirely welcome (eventually) the (real) competition so I can boycott LIME’s now inferior services.

    This so-called LIME ain’t doing a thing!

  6. reality check

    Jack

    if the monopoly is taken away with active competition you can bet the culture of ” I don’t really care ” will quickly evaporate as service and survival will become the operative words.

    If we had true transparency as promised by the DLP we would know who was getting the “juice” to keep this monopoly going at the expense of Barbadian consumers.

  7. Green Monkey

    I must say that the Telebarbados high speed internet service has worked great for me for the last year or so. Can’t really complain at all. Very, very occasionally I might notice a bit of a slowdown for a brief period, and I’ve had one or two outright outages for a couple hours caused by equipment problems or a power failure at their antenna site, but by far that is the exception and not the rule. For the most part the service delivers exactly as advertised 24/7. Unfortunately, you do have to have an unobstructed line of sight from your rooftop to one of their antennas for their high speed, wireless service to work. Two locations I know about where their antennas are located are at Sturgess in St. Thomas (not the really tall CBC tower, one of the smaller towers off to the side) and on the chimney at Searles factory in Ch. Ch. . I also believe they have an antenna on the cement plant and on one of the buildings at the Crane Resort (not 100% sure of the last two locations) plus there are probably other locations I don’t know about.

  8. Anon

    Tried to top up two days ago and the clerk saw me coming and didn’t even take the phone from her ear (sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt your call) before declaring “No top up today try the kiosk”. Walked to the kiosk to be greeted with a message which said that no phone cards are available due to system maintenance. I switched to the Digicel phone, who needs the hassle?

    Sargeant

  9. 2 Cents

    Mr. Loveridge,

    We all know about Lime and its bad service, what we woul like to know from you is about the BTA and the Minister’s sacking of 5 members of the board including yourself!

  10. 2 Cents

    BFP can we please have a tread on the BTA board story. I cautioned Mr. Loveridge 1 year ago on this blog not to take the BTA board appointment. There is a place for career or part time critics in any democracy especcially corrupt ones like good old Barbados.

    Now you may have done considerable damaged to your reputation by sitting on a board with Roseanne Myers and Dr. Comma etc. for an entire year and then being sacked at the end of the day.

  11. Not Hired

    We are switching to Tele…screw LIME!!!

  12. Adrian Loveridge

    DAY TWO.

    Same again, ‘all circuits are busy’ and we are unable to make overseas phone calls and send faxes.

    Again the Customer Service Number directs you to St. Lucia where you grapple with people speaking broken English who seemingly have no idea what is going.

    NO SERVICE but we are still paying!

  13. livinginbarbados

    The most effective competition is the consumer’s willingness to pay. With LIME, there is little real alternative across the range of services. Unfortunately, most of us cannot pull the plug on their bad service because of that. But, the question has to be asked whether LIME cannot hear the complaints, does not want to hear the complaints, cannot deal with the complaints, or some combination?

  14. San Diego

    I have been using TeleBarbados for over a year and I have NO complaints. I have just persuaded my friend to fire useless LIME, with whom she has had endless problems, and hook up with TeleBarbados and she is about to do so. What’s more, TeleBarbados are in the process of introducing a telephone landline system in the near future. To hell with LIME!

  15. Hants

    TeleBarbados and Skype are going to replace rotten LIMEs.

  16. Goldenbead

    I have TeleBarbados internet hookup and am looking forward to getting a land line from them when they are up and running.

    We have had no problems with the connection and their customer service is good.

    Lime couldn’t provide us with a landline so we have been using Digicel mobiles since the middle of last year and I will be going to get my deposit back from them as I don’t have any plans to give them my business.

  17. Livinginbarbados

    One needs an Internet provider to use Skype, and Telebarbados may be able to be that provider. LIME may be slowly killing themselves, and as in many countries, customers will find alternatives. If the law permits, one can also opt for satellite service and forget about on-ground connections. That has happened a lot in other developing countries and the unresponsive providers then find they are scrambling around for customers.

  18. WildyCoyte

    Lime does not give 2 f*#@ks about none a wunna only the profits and Sh#*%Y service..live with it nah!!

  19. BUMBLEBEE

    what happin Adrian … you not on the Board no more? Lost favor wid de ‘authorities’ ?

  20. Dave

    TeleBarbados

  21. P

    I am in the wrong business…I should have been a politician!!

  22. Hants

    Adrian got an even more meaningful appointment.

    I am looking forward to better things in Tourism management.

    I am beginning to think some people on this blog do not read newspapers or listen to news reports on radio.

  23. Jim

    Here in Canada (yet another former British colony) they love a monopoly just as much as Barbados and our Cable&Wireless/”Lime” and CBC.

    Bell Canada offers all the range of services, along with all the problems you describe back home in Barbados. Their phone service sucks, their ADSL sucks, their DirectTV sucks, their service/support sucks, and their advertising sucks.

    As in Barbados, competition was allowed to enter the market, and in the main they have flourished. Except that where their services are land-based they all have to use Bell equipment and lines, and Bell manages go get in the way with their ubiquitous lack of service and interest anyway.

    Rogers was one of the companies which became the competition, now they are just as big and faceless as Bell and have adopted the “big company” approach as well, now they have layers of faceless highly paid executives drawing ever-higher salaries and contract out much of their service to independent companies and individuals.

    So service and support has plummeted, prices have soared, sales gimmicks abound, and – like Bell – nobody understands their contracts any more, they are just too complicated and full of legalese.

    For instance, I have a cellphone with Rogers, and every time I turn it on it tells me there is a message waiting. When I check my messages, there are none, but after months of trying every avenue with the company I still cannot manage to communicate with anyone at Rogers who will adjust my account to stop this happening.

    And years ago I once had a (Bell) Sympatico high-speed internet account, but their proxy servers stopped me from viewing the Nation and other Caribbean newspapers. On every service call to Bell, without exception, I was told it was probably a problem on my computer… but if I disconnected the high-speed and used my Dial-Up connection I could see all of those sites.

    Cable&Wireless has changed their name, but not their culture or their attitude. If there is an alternative you probably will not put them out of business because – as with Bell here – the chances are they are leasing their lines and facilities to the competition (it’s cheaper than stringing new wires and cables all over the island), but you sure could send a message to the shareholders.

    I have worked in several large companies, and the culture is all the same. Top layers of management don’t really care about the workers or their customers, all they want to do is examine the bottom line for profits, impress their co-executives with big words and long business lunches, and make themselves look good in their office politics. Sabotage that political BS and you can effect changes, and insistent vocal shareholders at shareholder meetings can effect changes.

    Loss of profits can remove top management but not change the culture – that takes an external consultant company to do a fair and anonymous examination of the company with the committment of shareholders and management to adopt reccommendations.

    And even then, don’t hold your breath.

    In my opinion, LIME has been around too long to change. Better to encourage one of the competitors to buy it and kick the entrenched complacent, secure and smug bureaucracy out.

  24. paul sealy

    They might not make 92 Million this year but lime yet again,for now and at least until 2012,LIME will have the last laugh..you guys are complaining in vain.

  25. Thewhiterabbit

    Lime be liming

  26. Anonymous

    A little old guy is walking around in a supermarket calling out, Crisco,
    Crissssssscoooo!’

    Soon an assistant manager approaches and says, ” Sir, the Crisco is in aisle 3 ”

    The old guy replies, ‘Oh, I’m not looking for the cooking stuff. I’m calling
    my wife. She’s in here somewhere’

    The clerk is astonished.
    ‘Your wife’s name is Crisco?’

    The old guy answers, ‘Oh no, no, no. I only call her that when we’re out in
    public.’

    ‘I see,’ said the clerk.

    ‘What do you call her at home?’

    ‘Lard ass.’

  27. Sir Bentwood Dick

    Jim says ‘I have worked in several large companies, and the culture is all the same. Top layers of management don’t really care about the workers or their customers, all they want to do is examine the bottom line for profits, impress their co-executives with big words and long business lunches, and make themselves look good in their office politics.’

    Gosh, you put it ‘bang on’.

    Amazing that this constant self-serving attitude and BS beats genuine interest and real work, in the large corporations, no?

    Seen it myself and continue to see it on a daily basis.

  28. Sir Bentwood Dick

    But, there is one caveat to your answer on the ‘independent consultants’.

    The cases where the top management use the guise of ‘independent consulting’ to eliminate costs i.e. jobs.

    In those cases, it is never the top guys who go, usually hundreds or thousands of workers.

    Then the ‘project’ is given some fancy title, rather than just saying, ‘we are cutting expenses and jobs, sucks to be you’.

  29. Jim

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article?id=161460816

    TATT: Affordable wireless cable TV, phone coming
    Curtis Rampersad
    Saturday, April 4th 2009

    Three telecommunications companies have been awarded new licences to provide Internet, wireless cable TV and wireless telephone services to users around the country.

    State telecom company TSTT (Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago), Irish-based mobile operator Digicel and local firm Green Dot yesterday won bids for 27 radio spectrum blocks, which will be used to provide subscribers with “affordable” information and communication technologies, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago said.

    TATT held an auction, managed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, for the radio spectrum blocks, involving the previously pre-qualified bidders- TSTT, Digicel Trinidad and Tobago and Green Dot-yesterday.

    The authority auctioned radio spectrum blocks in the lower 700 MHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz frequency bands.

    TATT said in a statement yesterday that it commenced a second competitive process last October for companies interested in providing the public Broadband Wireless Access services to further liberalise the telecommunications sector.

    TSTT was awarded ten blocks in the 2.5 GHz range, for which it will have to pay annual licence fees of $2 million, and received four blocks in the lower 700 MHz band, for which it will pay $800,000 in fees a year.

    Digicel won eight blocks in the 2.5 GHz range, for which it will pay $1.6 million in licence fees.

    Green Dot received four blocks in the 2.3 GHz band and will pay $80,000 a year in fees, as well as $200,000 a year for its block in the lower 700 MHz band.

  30. Jim

    The company I work for right now has a group of independent consultants (they say well-known, none of us at “ground zero” have ever heard of them) who have apparently changed the cultures at the companies they servied before.

    When we heard of their employment we all said, “Here we go again, another 20 million bucks down the drain for another waste of time and effort and putting up with management BS for a while.” But these folks started with the committment of top and middle management to implement the changes and change the culture, and we see it happening already.

    The first we saw of the company was a confidential, unmarked survey of all employees (we were each paid for an hour extra to complete them). And we got feedback on the final results – the one item that caught my eye and stuck in my memory was that 85% of us said we did not trust management.

    Since then TWO of my Department’s “idiot” do-nothing waste-of-space bosses have been moved (to windowless 6 x 8 rooms moving papers from one side of the desk and back, I hope), and they have been replaced by hands-on company executives from HR who are determined to get things from stale and stupid to a smoothly working model again as soon as possible – with employee input (which was never a consideration before).

    Since the consultants arrived, I also know of a VERY senior executive in my Department, well known for old-boy kiss-ass company politics, blocking progress and causing employee strife, who was escorted from the property by Security when he arrived for work one morning. There were big smiles at work all that day, I can tell you…

    Safety and health working Committees and representatives have been implemented from both management and employees, and it does appear that the corporate culture is slowly grinding around to a new direction.

    Yes, I agree that many of these “consultants” are in it for a quick buck and they really don’t care whether the culture changes or not as long as they can get their money and move on to the next “client” (= corporate sucker), but this particular one seems to have made it clear from the outset they would not take the job unless the results would stick.

  31. Hants

    Compare Telebarbados services for buisnesses with those from Lime.

    You may be surprised at which one is more expensive.

  32. Cable & Worthless got nuttin on dis new service I have signed with. TalkBajan.com I have tried to post as much as I can and tell all I know. These guys are da real thing. I used to pay $800.00/Mos. with C&W, now I only pay $340/Mos with TalkBajan They have great service all round. I guess they are the equivalent of Vonage for Barbados. They only deal with Barbados. I was reading that the founders of the company used to live here. I recommend they all good.