SFR… internet, French style.

Upon arriving in France, we bought an sfr sim card to use for communication with friends and for internet since our gite, like most gites, have none (those that do are considerably more expensive). Two years ago, we used a friend’s card, a resident and citizen of France, an expatriate. He was required to recharge the card since it was tied to his name and credit card.

package contents of the 10€ card.

package contents of the 10€ card.

This time we decided to do it ourselves and find out if it’s possible, and if so, just how easy or hard it can be. The first thing we did was go to a Tabac shop and buy a prepaid card for 10€. This was easy as they are available everywhere and some of the card instructions are in English. A good sign as it would appear to be catered to visitors.

The first thing we noticed or had to deal with is that the card MUST be tied to a real person. No problem. We went to a Mcdonalds. logged in, and filled out the form—all in French. Hmmm. At the end of this process, it said we had to wait 4-5 days. This wasn’t a big deal, but we still wanted to get the process going forward asap. After two days, we decided when shopping at the Carrefour in Villiers-en-Biere. Jill had a hard time understanding the person at first as she talked fast, but she did slow down finally after being asked several times. No big deal. She was gracious and did get the card approved after I showed my passport. She told us that it would take 24-48 hours to finalize. Cool. And yes it was approved.

The next thing we did we go to the website and log in (something I had done previously when we established a real person to the card). We went to the rechargement page which listed all the available options, but one was not given a selection choice… and this one was the best option. Two years ago we got a 20€ option for 20 days with unlimited text and internet. This was no longer available as all the options were for 30 days with the two best options being 300MB or 3GB (the one that we could read about labeled as Nouveau, but we couldn’t select). We chose the 300MB one and basically none of our credit cards would be accepted for payment. Knowing French laws concerning credit cards, this is actually expected. My Friend Thierry, a Bleausard and pilot along with his girlfriend, a stewardess, confirmed the best option is either to buy a prepaid card and just enter the code or best yet to go to an SFR store and do it there with your card.

This morning, while I write this post and wait for the customer service representative that speaks English, the instructions say we can do the recharging over the phone using a free 3 digit number. We tried it, but the only option was the 5€ one for 7 days that only offers calling and text. Lame. So, here I wait for the customer service person after dialing the customer service number of 1026**. Wrong, it doesn’t work. It apparently was changed to 1026 with a french speaking recording talking extremely fast that might have told us this. I tried 1026 on a whim and it worked. After 4 repeated cancellations after hitting 1 for English, I finally got through to a queue of music then a representative. She spoke insanely fast French, apparently not able to speak English then finally put us on hold. Short time later—disconnected. Long story short after at least 10 more tries and being disconnected, one went to the queue but all were disconnected.

The weird thing is that it appears the system is set up for other speakers than French as there are Arabic and English options. The reality is it’s not implemented well. The number I called for customer service is an international number too.

Update: I made it through only to hear in the background people talking in French. No one will respond no matter how loud I say Bonjour! Haha! This is too funny. I’m still waiting as the call is free…. I’m playing music with the keyboard to no avail. Ugh. I hate corporations… all over the world! They’re all the same, and in America they are now considered people. WTF? This is NOT a person! When they can send the entire upper management and executive to prison when a corporation causes a death, I will finally believe they are people too. I figured it out, they are reading my mind with some high-tech system and know that I’m totally dissing them… that’s why I can’t get a data plan going cuz they know I will post this blog. F*ck@rs!

Off we went to the store this afternoon as the weather is looking rather grim. Everything is wet but the air is windy and no raining. We might get a chance, but tomorrow looks good. No big deal. Stay tuned… so we visited the store, and it went just plain smooth. Nice ending… but I haven’t set up the smart phone yet for wireless with our laptops. that will be the real test.

BTW, I’m capitalizing my sentences! A major advance in writing skills, eh?

~ by r. mulligan on 2014/02/28.

4 Responses to “SFR… internet, French style.”

  1. Check out Travels with a One Eyed Dog for more on 3G in France

    • We finally took a rest day giving me a chance to read your post. Many thanks! I will look into it some more and try to understand the nuances, equipment costs, etc. Our setup is very limiting given that the longer we use it, the more it will cost. At some point equipment costs will trump bandwidth expenses, and that is what you seem to have accomplished well! Thanks.

  2. Your blog is great. Really enjoying these French travels, as I did your PNW travels this summer. Your perspectives are pragmatic and often hilarious. Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re very welcome! At times it’s a way to vent and other times a way to reflect with joy but all the time trying to be honest and respectful.

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