U.TV, one of the resellers of Eircom’s DSL service and overall a budget Irish ISP. I’ve been with U.TV since the good old days, back when I was living in Carrigaline and almost bursting with the exciting thought of upgrading my analog phone line to ISDN. The 180 hour’s of dial-up surfing I availed of suited me down to the ground, alas I (along with most of the rest of Ireland) was ignorant as to what DSL could offer.

I’ve also had my U.TV account on direct debit since the very start. Back when they were the first flat rate ISP, sometime after the ill-fated Esat ‘No Limits’ fiasco dumped several hundred users for exceeding limits of some fashion.

When I moved to Douglas, it was of course a kneejerk reaction to get a phone line, get a line test eventually and hopefully get DSL. Which I did. From U.TV. When I moved from the grotty roach motel in Donnybrook Hill to my current abode on the Carrigaline road, of course naturally I stuck with U.TV. Perhaps only because I was tied into a 12 month contract however. Hmm. This is where the long, slippery slope started to show itself. They wanted 300 to move my connection. I offered 150. After several days, they accepted. It took 1 full month for my DSL to be reconnected. My fingernails were no more due to the apprehensive biting I had engaged in over this time.

The speed of U.TV’s DSL offering “Clicksilver” was always touch-and-go. Somedays it’d be fast, other days you might as well be using dialup. This was actually rectified, along with the ping problems gamers on the service had been wailing about since it’s launch. It seemed another problem had to rear it’s ugly head. Things just couldn’t go that smoothly…

Right on cue, they let me down again. Several months in a row. “Your bank has advised us that your account no longer exists” stated one letter boldly. Hmm, would that be the same account I’ve had since transition year in secondary school? The same account that Vodafone and several other companies have absolutely no problem whatsoever extracting money from? It would seem so.

Since about the second half of 2004, U.TV have been plauging me with letters (which always seem to include their standard direct debit application form) stating various phrases about my bank account either being closed, no longer existing, running away with the dish & the spoon or the most recent, no direct debit is setup. How can a company that offers a product not only to the republic of Ireland but to the entire island of Ireland be so incompetant? Were their staff given exclusive training from the same institution that teaches Eircom their techniques? I have sent no fewer than 3 cheques and filled in at least 2 direct debit forms. I should deduct the total bank charges they’ve cost me so far from the next (and final) cheque I have to send them.

I am ever so thankful that my DSL contract expires in April, as I’m sure many others are. I’m not sure which way I’ll go, but if possible I’ll go wireless when I get shot of this pseudo-broadband. At least then I can look forward to getting rid of the phone line altogether and going for one of those new (albeit seemingly unproven) VoIP products.

To anyone on a U.TV trial, think long and hard before you sign up to anything. To anyone who’s U.TV contract is soon to expire, well, I don’t have to tell you anything. I’ll see you on the beach when we all jump ship.