We found the house.

We’ve identified the house we would like to purchase, it’s a very comfortable price, good location (better than we are now from a comms angle), brick, roomy, large yard.

Now, we’ll have to find the finance. Overwhelming, due to the mass marketing and ‘features’ – but not too difficult with a calculator and full awareness of what you would like.

For a loan the size of a house, I would probably like to assure that if we sold the property, we aren’t going to be penalised for doing so. This cancels out a fixed rate loan, because they generally charge you for cancelling the loan. Variable rate loans have risks – if interest rates climb, then the amount paid does too, but if you pay the loan off sooner, there’s no penalties.

The purchase would need to be completed before June 2009, so to take advantage of the current ‘economic climate’ (Rudd’s retail policies), preferably much sooner – as in within the next 4 weeks, to ensure that the house we have found remains ours and isn’t sold elsewhere.

So, we need fast, but decisive action there. Come Monday, I’ll have my partner finalise a lender for us, and we’ll go get financing. Then we’ll get the purchase underway.

After the purchase is completed, we’ll arrange for the connection to be established at the new address, and also gradually move out of this place into the new, with one weekend along the way to move all the furniture over.

Then, we’ll finalise this rental, and enjoy the new property.

Of course, that’s all in a perfect world, and knowing the cause of common actions, human errors injected by others, that will likely turn out a little more complicated and frustrating then the above. Oh well, at least we can anticipate the screwups along the way, and hope some of those are in our favour (we do get lucky).

This weekend, I’ve spent doing a few tasks (cleaning out some of the backlog).

– I’ve moved 30 domains over from a webhost to the US dedicated server.
– Setup reverse DNS on the US dedicated server.
– Setup a DNS mirror on my AU dedicated server.
– Upgraded the VoIP service to a new version.
– Corrected an audio issue and established video calling (Yay, you can see the person you are talking to!)
– Updated my blog to a newer version.
– Reconfigured postfix to have both strict allowances on incoming mail as well as added greylisting.
– Added backup MX for the US dedicated to the AU dedicated.
– Setup apache to allow for the websites that were moved over.

I must remember to increase the TTLs eventually now, but a smooth migration of those websites and nearly smooth spam filter addition make for a great weekend.

Work, my role changed recently. I’ve gone from phone support, to faults, to complaints for a short while. Complaints is enjoyable, and so is faults, so the best mix for me at the moment has been identified.

Complaints is rather interesting – customers who have issues have escalation avenues presented to them, such as:
– Email to our upper management, so they can evaluate with management of each area the complaint, and find a solution.
– Email to complaints – who should investigate, and respond to the details of the complaint.
– The TIO.

Of the complaints received, a noticeable percentage do not take the correct route – that is, they do not contact upper management, they do not request for the issue to be escalated, and the customer gets expectations that we are somehow seeing them as ‘the enemy’.

The TIO refer complaints back, to give the provider another chance at investigating a pre-existing complaint to find an alternative outcome (under guise that you avoid a $200+ complaint if you sort it now).

The TIO’s front level staff are idiots. The TIO’s website states the office is for ‘last resort complaints’. The company I work for has escalation and complaints policies in place to ensure that customers never have to deal with idiots at the TIO.

Unfortunately, customers, being the idiots they are, relate to the idiots at the TIO – and do not follow the policies in place to ensure resolution of the issue.

I’ve handled a few complaints over the last week, and I must say – the TIO’s staff do NOT know their own policies. They are supposed to ascertain if the complainant has already raised a complaint with the company. Either the users complaining are outright liars, or the TIO do not ascertain this.

The users do not make complaints first – they either request support / customer service, if the outcome isn’t what they want, or the resolution isn’t as immediate as they want, they go to the TIO. In the majority of cases, they get the outcome they would have got had they not gone to the TIO. The TIO fine us for it, and the user ends up with the same result, in the same timeframe.

The TIO are really that useless. The body itself is driven by accepting complaints, so there is no incentive for the TIO to self regulate and ensure users are genuinely disadvantaged. Inefficient providers likely do not notice this fact, and simply pay the TIO from the inflated connection fees they charge.

In just 1 week of handling issues, I’ve found the TIO to be incompetent, and fail to field enquiries correctly. In one case, a service we do not offer customers was accepted for a complaint. In another, any half capable technical person could easily identify the issue is with the consumer network and not that we supplied.

The TIO place a burden on industry, there is no competitors to the TIO – so you are forced to accept them, and they have no aims of being efficient or taking a look at the information that is before them in a sensible manner – COME ON – if the MODEM isn’t responding, SURELY that’s his issue – IDIOTS.

Internal complaints are easily investigated, and customers get the resolution they need, either being the issue managed by a single person, or a credit, or other measures as appropriate.

In one case, someone had demanded a credit for 3 full months – because the connection was interupted due to an incompetent Telstra technician. Why should we be punished for that? We didn’t choose the dumb technician.

I do understand of course, the TIO plays a vital role in complaints which are genuine – I’ve been on that side myself with the tards that run Netspace and iiNet. But, the numbers of complaints they accept can’t all be genuine – I know that from being on the ‘other side’. The TIO do not even consider the customer is using them as a ‘first resort’ at times, despite how clear the evidence is that demonstrates this, so I can easily imagine at providers like Telstra where TIO complaints just simply get accepted, processed, closed, regardless of the ‘merit’ of the complaint.

Faults is a nice area – you take the data presented, investigate and can ‘reasonably’ determine before any contact with supplier or customer where the issue may lie (unless of course, it’s a Telstra connection).

I was previously aiming to reach a Developer / System Admin job, either with the current company, or in another company – now I’m not so sure if I should aim high. I know I should aim to advance, but I don’t think the roads on the map are marked in yet.

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