First World Issues in a 2.5 Life

I’ve been out and about around Panama the last few weeks and I have a few stories and photos stored up to share. I’ll explain more about the how and why in my next post. Today however; I’d like to share one of our First World Problems that occurred while I was away and that SU had to try to deal with.

SU is not very tech savvy. Lead Techie falls under my job description. He’s very good at many things and can maneuver his was around the internet not too badly for a guy that never had to sit in an office or use the computer until he was in his 40’s. And let’s put it this way, I felt so sorry for the clerk that had to teach him to fill out forms and learn the computer software that I sent her a gift basket that included a big bottle of pain relievers. Having said that however; using the internet in Panama is a lesson in patience and a test of overcoming frustration no matter what your skill level.

We don’t have much choice out in the campo for our internet service. When we moved here Cable and Wireless refused to bring their system down our street because there wasn’t enough houses built, and now we don’t want to even bother changing. We chose to use what most people in town use and that is a Claro Mobile Stick and a router. We never had very many problems with it as we live a mere 250 meters at most from the tower that our signal comes from. In fact when compared with our Telus Mobile Stick that we used for a short time before moving to Panama, Claro was like driving a Ferrari compared to the Telus bicycle. That’s now changed as Claro has now put severe limits on usage.

We don’t normally have a lot of downloads or uploads nor do we stream movies that use a lot of bandwidth but for some reason our internet totally s**t the bed as SU would say, a week after we recharged it. Rather than rehash the thing word by word here is the translated text from my “chat” with a Claro customer service rep yesterday:

Good afternoon, we have recently acquired new 4G SIM for the use of the internet router. The employee charged $14.99 for the data. This is our current speed. We live in the interior of the Republic of Panama and the speed never has been good. How can this speed so low when we are not able to connect to the tower which is 250 meters from our house. Do we now pay more for more capacity? It is difficult to even send this message at this speed.

I attached this picture with my first question:


CLEAR Panama
Good Afternoon Madam Karen, please provide the identification number of the owner of the line via direct message in order to be able to assist you.

I’m not sure how it will be of help. I am often disconnected, because the service is terrible. Please provide a list of prices for internet service with GB, so that we can tell the employee of the store in Las Tablas. The company is cutting back on service that is clear. But we have no alternative. I’m going to lose the connection again after this.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen, could supply me with the id number of the owner of the services for speed verification.
** 274 ** My husband has told me they do not sell a new chip for 4G. He bought a new router in the local computer shop that has been configured to the old SIM and the employee of Clear sold him a service of $14.99. This is our third service of $14.99 in the last 30 days.
I am surprised that the Internet is even connected after 10 minutes.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen with the identification that we provided services not appears to us with Clear, in this case you must go to a customer care center.
The chips are registered by cedula?
Can you not provide prices of 4G mobile Internet service so we can buy the right plan?
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen we asked for the id number to check since the sim card must be in the name of a person, in the same way I can provide the line number that belongs to the sim card.
Number of my cedula: ** 656 ** it is possibly in my name.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen identification that it is providing belongs to a SIM card which is disabled.
It is an old phone card probably. The interior of Panama suffers with poor service and no choice. Thank you very much.
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen, in this case you should go to the customer care center to raise its inconvenience.
Do I do it via chat on your website? I am not in the city to go to the customer care center.
And here is where I think I got a new customer service agent helping me because the previous agent passed me off without asking for the SIM card number after he/she couldn’t find it with the cedula number…
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen in order to help you, we need the number of the SIM card that you purchased or the identification number of the person who purchased the service so that we can verify.
The SIM number is 6230 ****
CLEAR Panama
Allow me a moment to verify.
CLEAR Panama
You maintain a package of 30 days, includes 2 GB unlimited. By consuming the capacity you will have a speed controlled by fair use policy. You have consumed the 263% of your data and under the fair use policy you are at a reduced speed of 1 up to 128 kb
That is crazy, in a week? The internet has not been working properly during this whole time and we have not be downloading anything.
10/5, 2:50pm
CLEAR Panama
The activation of the package was last September 19 and therefore you have already consumed 100% of your data and it is navigating at a controlled rate of 1 up to 128 kb
I find that impossible already believe that the Internet was used very little because it didn’t work correctly from the beginning. I’m going to upload another $15.00 card. If it is still slow I will contact you. Thank you for investigating this.
10/5, 3:04pm
CLEAR Panama
Lady Karen you should expect to finish the 30 days of its data packet to the 19 October to be able to activate another data packet.
I am sure that a lot of people don’t know this information. I would have to buy another SIM card for internet, right?
CLEAR Panama
Madam to activate another data packet must wait finalize the days of the current package. If you wish to purchase another sim card and purchase another data packet.
It is interesting that the employee of the store did not tell us this. To upload more money on the SIM card does not solve the problem.
Normally I do it but I was away and my husband was having problems within just a week of the new card. The employee just put more money on the SIM.
10/5, 3:24pm
CLEAR Panama
Remember that the consumption depends on the form of navigating.
Are new Internet SIM is purchased in Clear only stores? Would our local Mini Supers sell them? Normally we don’t have the problems that other people in the town have. We don’t watch movies or download many things.
10/5, 3:28pm
CLEAR Panama
It is recommended that you purchase the SIM card in the customer care center.
Understand, we are going to Las Tablas to purchase. Thank you for your help. Although the response was disappointing I appreciate that there was a way to investigate forward and not send my question to another department. Have a good day.
10/5, 3:35pm
CLEAR Panama
You’re very kind, have an excellent afternoon.

And so we wasted $15.00 and today we went to Las Tablas to buy a second SIM card and charged it with another $15.00 pre paid service card. At least they gave us a new SIM for free. After investigating further, it seems that Claro has begun actually enforcing a “usage” policy that limits GB. And even though Claro claims to have “4G”service in the interior now, there is no way we’re receiving it out here. I’ve read further that people get around the limits by keeping more than one SIM card on hand as we have chosen to do. Some even have four or five that they change out. For now, at least the hamsters on the internet wheel are running a bit faster and we have another First World Problem solved…in the campo.


About indacampo

You'll find me at blogging about Panama...and other things.
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7 Responses to First World Issues in a 2.5 Life

  1. Well Lady Karen,
    Another day in the Campo…heh?
    Jeeze… but ain’t life grand?

    • indacampo says:

      Si, customer service at its finest in Panama. I think I started shortly after 12:00 trying to get an answer. As it goes a little over three hours isn’t bad. Afterwards I knew why SU didn’t want me to start mucking around after I got home Sunday afternoon. And I knew that shop in LT would be useless. 🙂

  2. Yep… Customer service Panama style:

    We had a very close by eletrical strike last week and wiped out our modem, router, tv, and 4 surge protectors. Same with our next door neighbor.
    She was up and running the next day with a service call to Cable Onda, which we both made at the same time.
    3 appointments later, which were all no show we finally got our modem replaced and back up and running a week later!
    Funny thing is the service guy that came out was the same one that got our neighbors up in running the next day. We told him the story and he could not believe it!!

    • indacampo says:

      Wow. We have friends that had an electrical strike a few years ago. Now they’ve put in a very lightening rod system. They live up on an open hill so lightning is a problem.

      I’ve been here long enough to know that a) customer service is generally poor here, and b) Panamanian s don’t like delivering bad news. I hope by expressing my disappointment yet thanking whoever it was in some way I may have a small chance of changing those attitudes. Poco a poco! 😸

  3. Yikes, what a nightmare!

    • indacampo says:

      Gosh after going through the trials of getting utility’s set up when we first moved here and realizing how antiquated the processes are here that was nothing.

  4. Pingback: Internet or We Feel Lucky, Oh So Lucky Part 1 | In Da Campo

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