Burps and belly rumbles

So far this has just been a duping ground for moans, groans and over exagerated injustices that have rained down on me. If you look close though, you might just find a post or two of opinion and not complaint.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

I'm Three, to do what I want (any old time)

We all know that mobile phone companies are there to make money, that is their only function and everything else is just a means to keep making money. We do however all expect a certain level of customer service, how high a level will depend on each of us individually, and possibly how much we are paying for that service. For me there are four deciding factors when taking out a contract, price, product (handset), network service, and lastly customer service. I put customer service last on purpose. Its the one area we tend not to think about until we have a problem, and so carries less weight than the other three at the outset of a contract. The thing is, unlike the other three its the one area that you cant test beforehand. The price wont change, the handset remains the same, its not often that network coverage or allowances will change during the duration of a contract (and yeah I know there has been the odd occasion when data limits have changed).

So what happens when it all goes Pete Tong? Well for one you expect that the carrier will do their best to resolve your problem quickly, and with as little fuss as possible, and to be fair I think it works that way most of the time. The problem is, when it goes wrong it is at best an inconvenience and at worst a major headache that leaves you pulling your hair out. 

This is a little story about a recent upgrade I had with Three UK. I have been with Three for years, more than I can actually remember, I have had at least 5 handsets with them, all for the duration of the contract. I also now have 5 other contracts with them and 2 PAYG data SIM's for mobile broadband. The upgrade phone call itself was a fairly painless, but drawn out affair, with the advisor trying to change little bits of the new contract here and there but eventually putting through the upgrade that I wanted. It is also worth noting that the handset I ordered, was of a far lower value than I was entitled to (a Wildfire S as opposed to a Desire S). So the deal was good for them, and what I wanted, happy faces all round you would think, and for the first four days it was. Then the phone arrived!

That's right, don't adjust your screen, two security seals on the box, both opened. Obviously it has been a terrible mistake, an unfortunate mix up in the depot, where I have been sent a return/refurb due to the young Lithuanian immigrant who was on picking duties that day reading the order form wrong. After a bit of too'ing and fro'ing with three customer service, I eventually manage to convince them that I am not making the whole thing up and arrange a doorstep exchange (sounds exotic) for another new handset. So two days later the doorbell goes and 'the courier' arrives for our exchange. I am immediately crestfallen when I notice the 'new' handset is in an un-sealed bag, which he then uses to put the refurb/return in, and hand me bits of paper and the box. I sign anyway hoping that this is the end of it, and take the box into the living room. Then things go from bad to worse. This is the condition of the box as it arrived.

Not only is there 2 security seals this time, but they could not even be bothered to close the box!! I mean come on, put a little effort into conning me will you. I was actually beginning to doubt myself, and checked on twitter if I was being unreasonable, or a little bit paranoid about the whole thing. So after some clarification that it wasn't me who was at fault, I tried to sort the whole sorry mess out with Three customer services, and again it took time to convince them that I did indeed receive the handset the way it arrived. Eventually after admitting that a new handset should not come in that condition I was offered another doorstep exchange, but this time I said no, I had already wasted an extra day awaiting the delivery, and as the weekend is approaching it would not arrive till Monday at the earliest. I suggested that I could drive to one their stores and exchange it there, only to be told that the stores hold different stock than the on-line sales department. I explained that as they had messed up twice it would be a nice gesture to allow it this once, but alas they didn't budge. They did however come up with this cracker after I had said I was not happy wasting another day waiting on a courier. The rep told me to cancel my on-line upgrade and upgrade at the store instead, the fact this meant I would have to waste a day for the courier to pick the old-new phone up seemed to completely pass him by. At that point I kindly thanked him for his lack of any help and said goodbye. I am now between a rock and a hard place, I want to cancel the upgrade, the new contract handset that also arrived today, and my contract which expires ina months time and move on. My daughter, who the phone is for doesn't want to lose the contract, as she really wants the One Plan, and my wife wants everyone to be on the same network as well. I have filled in a complaints form, but hold out little hope of it achieving much. The is a section on it that ask how I would like the situation resolved, and to be honest I am unsure how they can fix it now. A fancier handset wont work, we turned one of them down when we took the contract out, and its not about the money, the one plan costs the same even if you don't take a handset, so I am at a loss as to how they can restore my confidence in them. The only question is, have I just been really, really unfortunate, or is this kinda common really ?