Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How to Rid Yourself of Yahoo BB

As we come to the close of our years overseas, we've been doing a lot of reflection. All the different places we've been, the fantastic sights and experiences, the people we've met...we think on these things with moist eyes, because it actually hurts to think that we're leaving all this. Japan has been incredibly good to us, and we are really grateful to have had the chance to live here for so long.

There are a couple of things we won't miss, though. Take for instance the dichotomy between the high tech world of Japan (Akihabara's electronics district, talking vending machines that have hot and cold drinks, killer robots) and the surprisingly low tech side of business transactions.

We have high speed Internet (DSL) at our home through Yahoo!BB and have been really happy with the service. It has been incredibly reliable, and for anyone living in Japan for an extended period of time, is a great way to go because of a great guy named Jimmie (www.bbapply.com) who will help you get it set up. The only times we had any problems with it were when I tried to do something outside of my skill level, and even then, turning off the box and letting it sit for a while was all it took to get it working again.

As easy as getting everything set up was, getting it turned off is another story. Melody and I are adoptees to the wired generation, and use the Internet for much of our daily life. Email, news, paying bills, online shopping, ordering steaks from "The Meat Guy", Amazon.com, are all such a part of our life that we want to stay connected for as long as possible. Seeing as we're a week from moving out of our home in preparation for leaving, we figured that a week would be enough time to get everything done. Nope. Not gonna happen...

In order to cancel our service, apparently, we should have started 2 months ago. Here are the steps to "kill the broadband":
  • Call Yahoo BB. Try to find an English Speaker.
  • Find one.
  • Find another one.
  • Call back.
  • Find an English speaker.
  • Explain that you need to cancel your service.
  • Explain that you need to cancel your service.
  • Receive letter requesting your end date and why you want to cancel your service.
  • Send letter to tell end date and explain why you need to cancel your service.
  • Attempt to return modem and other items to Yahoo!BB in their original containers.
  • Look for original containers.
  • Realize that original containers are now buried in a box inside of a crate on the back of a truck on its way to a shipping container to be loaded on a ship to get sent to the USA to be loaded on a truck to be stored in a warehouse somewhere in Texas.
  • Buy a similar sized box.
  • Return modem and other items to Yahoo!BB.
  • Cancel your NTT phone service.
  • Final Bill #1 (one month later).
  • Final Bill #2 (yet another month later).
Guess we should have planned ahead a little better, but oh well. The process above is one reason why there's such a high employment rate in Japan. Everyone has a job. You see the same thing at the Land Office where one does car registration. Take a piece of paper to seven stations in three different buildings to 12 different people...you get the point.

It will all work out in the end. We'll have to have one of our friends receive our last bills and pay them for us with money we leave behind. But, as inconvenient as the process to cut off the service seems, all our friend will have to do is walk down to the conbini, or 7-11, and pay.

Imagine that...Convenience Stores that are actually convenient for something other than gas and beer. That's something we'll definitely miss. That, and Yahoo!BB.

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