Business practices are pretty different in Mexico compared to the UK. Some for the better, some…..well bureaucratic and complicated are good words to describe some of the mad ideas that get implemented. But none are as dumb as Telmex’s pretty instant reaction to a bill that is not paid on time. Our phone line has been installed for more than 20 years, and has almost always been paid on time.

But nonetheless, if the bill isn’t paid by the Due Date, we have no more than a couple days grace before we get cut off. Or at least before outgoing calls are barred. And if we do miss the Due Date (which isn’t impossible given that the bill sometimes – although not often – arrives a day before, or even after the Due Date) then we can’t pay at a local store or bank. We have to go the Telmex office. Which is well out of the way.

So invariably that means it’ll be a week or more before we get around to paying. Who loses? Telmex. We’re not making calls, most of which aren’t necessary or can be done for cheaper through Skype. Thus Telmex isn’t able to charge for calls we would have made. Twenty years the line has been in, twenty years of payments, and still there is not a teensy weensy bit of trust!

One wonders how Telmex made Carlos Slim so wealthy. Then one remembers the virtual monopoly he has. I for one hope that monopoly comes to an end, but I suspect that’ll happen long after I’ve left the country. Fairly mild rant is now over. They do though have some nice public pay phone boxes. Although the photo below is one I took some time ago…

Phone A Friend


12 thoughts on “Telmex

  1. Kim G says:

    What?!? No World Cup commentary? I was all set to say that despite my near-complete lack of interest in World Cup, that you had managed to make it kind of interesting anyway. But I guess I’ll have to leave that to another blog post.


    F has coined a new name for TelMex: ChingaTel. And that seems to describe their business practices perfectly.

    I’d also note that BusinessWeek had an article this or last week talking about how Slim is working overtime to lobby the government to prevent Deutsche Telekom, and others from bidding on wireless spectrum to offer rival cell phone service in Mexico, which now has some of the highest cell phone rates in the world.

    THAT’S how he got so rich. Unfair competition. I’d love to see how well he could run a cell phone company in the USA. My guess is that he’d fail miserably.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are constantly imperiled by people driving and using their cheap cell phone service simultaneously.


    • ChingaTel….like it! And I’m sure I heard yesterday that Mr Slim’s efforts to keep Deutsche Telecom at bay were successful. Money might not be able to buy love, but it can pay for the maintenance of a monopoly.

      I shouldn’t, perhaps, have pointed out that I use Skype when they cut the phone off. The internet service, which comes as part of the phone bill package, is always unaffected. But I suspect that if Slim finds out there is a way round his disconnections, he’ll fix it fast….

      Fear not…more World Cup posts coming soon! 🙂

      When is your next foray to DF? Gonna be here for the WC, or part of it?


      • Kim G says:

        I’m going to try to come in the second week of June. Is WC happening then? Maybe I should try to go if it is.

        Saludos desde el norte,

        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where our ignorance of massive sporting events is legendary


  2. kwallek says:

    Slim made his real money in cement, the phone stuff is just extra cheese. And he abuses the cement market in Mexico as much as he does the phone market.


  3. I had a surreal experience with TelMex in D.F. about three years ago simply trying to pay the final bill on our apartment there and have the service disconnected. They made the process so complicated and so much trouble that I finally just blew it off. They didn´t get my money at all. Utterly stupid on Telmex´s part.


    • That would be my exact way of dealing with things. Some companies just don’t get it. I digress slightly, but just to show it’s not only Mexican companies with silly business practices…..

      Before I came to Mexico I tried to cancel my David Lloyd Fitness Centre membership. I thought I was being generous giving three months notice. The lady thought otherwise, and wanted 12 months notice, with payment in full. A dodgy practise which isn’t made clear when you sign up. It’s a one month notice period in the contract, which they update with a batch of small print at the end of a waffley long T&C’s update letter later. Or something like that. It was a long time ago.

      A practise which was exposed on a television programme, prompting them to change their way of doing things. You expect it of a small fly by night outfit – not one of the country’s main fitness centre chains.

      I explained that I was going to Mexico in three months and a week, and that three months notice and payment was all she’d get. No, she said. Twelve months, she said. I asked if she wanted my address in Mexico to sue me. No, she said. They wouldn’t know how to sue me in Mexico.

      Three months notice and three months payment, I said. Do you agree to this compromise? Or should I cancel the Direct Debit today, and give them nothing. Twelve months, she said. They don’t negotiate. They wanted all the money, or they’d sue. I asked if she wanted my address is Mexico? It began to go in circles. I tried one more time and asked which part didn’t she understand – Mexico? Or screw you? I cancelled the Direct Debit that day. They lost several hundred dollars. I got a chuckle.

      Even more so because I continued using their facilities until they got around to voiding my electronic entry card, which took about two months. And I did see the lady again, when my card finally refused me entry. She wondered what happened. I told her I’d cancelled my Direct Debit the same day I’d spoken to her. She looked confused and asked why I’d kept using the place. I explained that I had no qualms about abusing the facilities of a bunch of incompetent thieving morons. Would she like my address in Mexico to sue me?


  4. steve roche says:

    One of the first things we learn here in San miguel is to watch out for Telmex. Your next bill could be 10,000 pesos, and you might not even have a phone. They do as they please.

    A long-time resident here added the internet package to his phone account. It never worked. He called for 3 months to have it checked. Finally, he started refusing to pay the internet-part of the bill until they
    came to fix things.
    They simply said “fine, then we’ll cut your service. including phone, and you’ll never get another phone there”

    He finally was able to cancel the ‘internet’ part of his service, and keep the phone, but he still had to pay for the 3 months of no-internet.

    In my $250/month house, the rental company wanted a $500 usd phone deposit. I didn’t want a phone. They said we had to pay it anyway. Since it was an un-rentable hovel, I called their bluff and said I’d give
    them 500 pesos, or no deal. They gave in.
    I went to the roof and cut the wire so they could not claim
    I made calls.

    I never actually paid the deposit, anyway…. I was too busy putting buckets under rain leaks, and killing 4 inch scorpions. But it’s a lovely house,

    What I want to know is why a MEXICAN rental management country in the Central Highlands
    of Mexico (not TJ,) wants US Dollars in rent. Have they no pride in their own country’s currency?

    (of course we ARE talking about real estate agents!)



    • Real Estate agents, lawyers, bankers, all a bunch of w………… 🙂

      I’ve heard similar stories over the years, but less so inside DF. Another reason for you to make the move perhaps!

      I’ve also heard that the only phone company that sucks more than Telmex is Nextel. My friend, who works in a bank, tells me that if you want to cancel your Nextel, cancel your credit card at the same time. Or they’ll charge for months and months if they can.


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