Go to the website. Try and order online. Website crashes so I ask for a call-back. I get a speedy call back (better than last time, when I never got a call back). I order the phone. I have a preference for the Samsung Z400. Stupidly, but unsurprisingly, they wont offer me the free headset which you get with the Sony Ericson W800, even though this is a more expensive phone to buy to start with. In anycase I order the Z400. I emphasise that I need it by Thursday, as on Friday I fly out to 3GSM and will be using the phone in Spain. We have a conversation about foreign tariffs and I say I will need roaming “You can roan on this tariff that will not be a problem”.
The phone arrives on time. I try the phone, it works. I try my O2 SIM also. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work as the phone is locked. An annoying practise but I suppose I do understand why the MNOs do it. I arrive in Spain. Turn on phone. No connection. Try all networks, no connection. Call T-mobile (from my O2 phone). After pressing 4 menu choices AND punching in my mobile number, I get through to someone. I am asked for my mobile number “But I’ve just typed it in!” I explain. “I’m sorry I just have to ask you for it”. I’m then asked for DOB, password, company name. Fine. Then there is then a password which is my company registration number. I was not explained about this before, or in any paperwork. Luckily, I have it with me. I’m told if I want to change it, I will have to send a fax with my signature on it. How very modern in this internet-account driven age. As an aside the whole premise is flawed anyway, I can go on to companies house for free and find any limited company number. What a completely flawed, stupid and ill conceived excuse for security, which isn’t secure at all and probably simply annoys a lot of people.
After all this usual rigmarole I’m told I have to pay £250 deposit if I want to call abroad. I am furious. I was not told this before; infact I explicitly said I needed to call abroad.
The funny thing is, the same thing happened when I joined O2 in 2005, except this time I found out after arriving in New York with a 5 hour time difference.
Customer service for mobile phone network operators is abysmal. Its uniformly shit. There really is no other word for it, and I apologise for such gruff tones. I really wish they would get their basic core-business house in order, instead of harping on about content, blocking the growth of the mobile internet for everyone and generally trying to walk before they can run. There is little or no customer loyalty because there is no-one to be loyal too! THAT’S the problem. It is incredible that after so long I can’t find ONE colleague or friend who has anything good to say about ANY of the networks – infact, exactly the opposite. They all hate them, they are all pissed off with them, and they all begrudge them their custom. But it is like the banks – there is little choice. What else do you do instead? Invest in a pigeon farm?
I will be returning my T-mobile phone and cancelling my contract, on Wednesday when I return from 3GSM, not because I cant pay a £250 deposit (my bills hover around the £450 mark every month!) but on principle because I was not told this at the time of sale. Better the devil I know, which in this case, is O2.