I have to interrupt this segment on “malestares” in Mexico to share with you our TelMex adventure. If you’ve already spent a significant amount of time in Mexico, you’ve heard of TelMex. Not only that, you’ve also helped strengthen the TelMex Empire.
If you’re not familiar with Carlos Slim and the TelMex monopoly, check out these this post to get a little background:
Once you’re familiar with size and strength of the Empire and the incredible “tranzas” that helped build it, you’ll understand my frustration with the following “anécdota” (anecdote).
We rent a small cabin to a friend. She has been living there for almost two years. Sometimes the phone bill arrives, but usually it doesn’t. Since the only thing TelMex does well is cut phone lines and charge large sums of money, she has been without a connection far more than she has been with one. So she decided to put her foot down. She decided to say “¡Basta!” (Enough!). She decided to cancel her phone line, well, our phone line.
So back in December, my husband and I trekked down to the TelMex offices and said that we wanted to cancel the phone line. Our friend has paid all outstanding dues, so the kind lady behind the desk hit a few keys on her keyboard and said, “There you go. I cut your service.” She told us that we would have to come back in 15 days to make sure there weren’t any more charges. My husband informed her that we would be out of town. “No problem,” she said. “Come by when you get back.”
So about 17 days went by and we went back. Apparently, we were too late. They told us that “come back in 15 days” should have been followed by, “or we’ll reconnect your phone line, charge you a fee and make you do it all over again.” Oh, and that they were going to charge us 500 pesos. Some say those 500 pesos were for calls made after the line had been cut (!?). Some say it was a reconnection fee. Some say they didn’t know what the fee was for, but there it was nonetheless.
After raising his voice and saying something about the injustice of TelMex and the corruption in Mexico, my husband stormed out and made his way to the PROFECO (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor). There we placed our “queja” (complaint) and went on TelMex’s head office.
Fortunately for us, the manager was once my husband’s student. So, as is customary in Mexico, we were treated well, those inexplicable 500 pesos were taken off the bill and the line cut all because we knew the one with the power.
This is just a small lesson in Mexican bureaucracy.