Technology Woes

I often tell people (my great Field IT guys and gal) that I know only enough about technology to be dangerous (usually when I break something). I try to learn things and understand engineeringish processes and sometimes I meet with moderate success. Not today.

Since re-planting ourselves in rural Alberta, my family has been attempting to live land-line-less…no telephone line. It is still remarkable costly to bring telephone service onto an undeveloped property and our last experience doing that was unpalatable. We do have pretty consistent and speedy Internet service so we gave VOIP a try. For 17 painful months. Dropped calls, crunchy reception, and generally poor call quality and after many hours on the (cell) phone with technicians, tweaking and resets and a couple of visits from onsite tech assistance we gave up. The option is a cell phone for the house (with texting turned off by the service provider much to the dismay of the teenagers I live with).

After being home for a significant stretch and have quite a few dropped calls on the cell not to mention running outside in the snow for a better signal, I went shopping for a cell phone signal booster for the interior of my (metal) building.

Guess what? There are lots of people that know just enough about technology to be dangerous. They seem to be found in high concentrations in cell phone stores and kiosks. I visited several retailers today who knew nothing about these products even though they sell them. I brought home an item that had fairly clear setup and installation and it should have worked, but it seems to be jamming all cell phones in my structure.

Back to the stores for some refunds and returns tomorrow, this time armed with better research about what I want. I made sure to ask in advance of purchasing if I could get a cash refund should the product not work for me. These transactions are not protected by the provisions of the Fair Trading Act or other consumer protection legislation in Alberta. Service Alberta has some good information for consumers including how to make complaints and some good Tipsheets.

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