A review of Stiftsstaden AS Trondheim – how they totally screwed us over
I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: I am SO happy to be living in Norway! After having spent many a magical holiday here as a child I was a little worried that the reality of non-vacation life in Norway would be a disappointment, but I’ve just fallen even harder for this beautiful country.
I’ve loved getting to know more about Norwegian culture, and in a funny way living here has helped me learn more about my (Norwegian) mother, even though she’s an ocean away! I hadn’t realized that a lot of her personality quirks actually are super Norwegian. So basically everyone here reminds me of her – and is there anything more cozy than feeling like you’re constantly surrounded by a hundred versions of your mother?
But this new understanding of Norway has also brought a different discovery: Norway’s dark side.
No you guys, I’m not talking about trolls, I’m talking about something much more serious:
The Norwegian Mafia.
No you guys, I’m not talking about Lilyhammer – though let’s talk about it later, because oh man how I ❤ that show – I’m talking about something much more serious:
If you’ve been following along for a while you’ll know that my biggest struggle in Norway so far has been trying to get Internet at my new apartment. Dan and I are renting an apartment with Stiftsstaden Bolig in Trondheim, which we moved into at the end of July. The person living here before had told us that he wasn’t able to get broadband in the apartment as it doesn’t have a phone socket, but before we signed the contract Stiftsstaden assured us that that wasn’t the case and that we could connect through either of Norway’s main Internet providers, NextGenTel (Telenor) and Canal Digital. Easy!
Fast forward six weeks and we still didn’t have Internet. Frustrated and confused I did a bunch of Google searches and came across a forum post titled “Canal Digital + Telenor = Mafia?”
And suddenly everything suddenly made perfect sense.
You see, I recently watched Once Upon a Time in America so I totally know how mafias work.
No one else does business on their turf
As soon as we signed our lease we ordered Internet from NextGenTel (we didn’t want to use Canal Digital because they require you to order cable as well) and they checked our address, said someone else in the building uses them so there wouldn’t be a problem, and two weeks later someone came to install it for us!
But as soon as the technician saw the Canal Digital box in our basement he started shaking his head and backed away. “Sorry, you have to order Canal Digital!” he called back to us as he made a hasty beeline for his van.
They live outside the law
Some more Googling brought me to various articles about how Canal Digital’s forced bundling of TV and Internet is illegal, but Canal Digital has explained that their Internet is optional, so no worries there. Plus Norwegians are super rich, so does it really matter if they have to pay for cable that they don’t want?
They get the little people to do their dirty work
After our initial Internet fail we realized Canal Digital was our only option so we phoned them up and started the ordering process! Except that we never managed to get past the initial sign-up process. We spoke to ten different people over the past several weeks, each telling us something different, and most also telling us that it was their first day on the job (congrats!).
They focus on the big wins
Norway is notorious for poor customer service, but for a kind of sweet reason. As a Finn explained to me, Norwegians are very laid back and don’t like to complain and it’s very rare for a person to get fired, plus everyone’s is well-off enough that companies don’t need your money anyway. Does Canal Digital need to worry about signing on new customers? Not really. Since they’d have to send someone to install a new line into our apartment, I suspect it’s simply not worth the work for them to sign us.
They know how to charm you
Dan and I started to give each other pep talks before calling Canal Digital, focusing on how this time we’d be aggressive and this time we’d demand they actually do something. Except that as soon as we’d get someone on the phone they’d be so lovely and sweet that I’d always hang up assured that everything had been sorted out for us.
The only time I managed to get aggressive was through Canal Digital’s online chat, where I angrily demanded to speak to the agent’s supervisor. Ah Anders, what a guy! We’re going to his house for dinner this weekend, and I’m pretty sure I agreed to name my firstborn after his beloved dog who passed away last year. Such a tragedy!
The real boss – Stiftsstaden AS Trondheim – hides behind a clever cover
I just realized this all might sound like I’m hating on Canal Digital, but really I mostly just found the whole ordeal entertaining for its absurdity. They’re clearly overloaded with work this month and haven’t quite figured out how to work their online system, which is totally understandable. I mean, NextGenTel continues to send us the same technician each week to try to install broadband – he can’t do anything about the Internet but it’s cool, he’s giving me Norwegian lessons instead. So like, running an Internet company is clearly hard.
I think the secret mafia bigwigs are actually Stiftsstaden AS Trondheim, who so effortlessly lied to us about our apartment being fitted for broadband. I know they’re mafia because I am terrified of them. The employees all look like supermodels, and each time a person from their office has to come over to open the basement for the Internet technician I’ve found myself apologizing profusely, even though she’s the one who’s an hour late. In fact just writing this makes me nervous – I’m going to delete it all in 48 hours so as not risk waking up with a horse’s head in my bed next week.
No but in all honesty, they renting Stiftsstaden AS Trondheim has been a horrible experience, from our water continuously getting cut off for hours without notice (and when I notify them they just say to be patient) to them secretly sending workers to rip out our ceiling when we were gone for a weekend – apparently they knew we were gone and were trying to be helpful by doing it then, except that we returned to an apartment we couldn’t live in and they refused to pay for our hotel. Super shady.
For anyone looking for housing and accommodation in Trondheim, avoid Stiftsstaden AS at all costs. Our agent is Frida and while Frida seems to be one of their worst agents (everything she tells us is a lie, which we’re used to by now), it seems like everyone working there is operating in the same way.
But what about getting the Internet?
The people living here before us bought a 4G data package from a phone company. We didn’t want to do that because it’s slow, expensive, and means we’d have limited Internet, but last week we caved and went to a shop to sign up. But having only just moved here, I failed the credit check so they told me I would instead have to show them my past three months of payslips. Apparently my blog ads weren’t good enough (rude!) and they wouldn’t let us just pay for the entire year in advance.
I’m sure you’ve already guessed the solution here, but it took me another week to figure it out.
You see, it’s also possible to order 4G contracts online, and considering our experience with other Norwegian companies, would Netcom really be organized enough to run a credit check before sending me my order?
The answer rhymes with schmuck yo.
We finally have Internet! So now I’m finally going to respond to all your emails, and we should like, all totally Skype this weekend! Except we only have 50GB of data this month so please keep it brief, k thanks.