As a working mother of two girls, one cat, a dog and 26 fish (long story) – I write, but sometimes it might not have as much thought as one who does not have quite so many responsibilities – the fish are a ‘mare, they are tropical.
This is one such occasion. I want to tie up the iphone story, but it does not sit naturally with my ‘brand’ whatever that may end up being. So I will explain what has happened, with no moral, no value to the story, however perhaps you will be better informed the next time someone says: iphone or N95?
Justin Kerr-Stevens very kindly dug out the number of the Director of Communications for O2, Europe. As soon as I had the details I contacted him, and within minutes received a response. I must admit that I emailed from my FCO account… hmm. Anyway, he responded and by the afternoon I had some chap – sorry Alan Chapman – a very good chap – from O2 customer services, dealing with ‘my case’.
He sorted my iphone, well nearly, it should be working tomorrow sometime (27th March 2008). He sorted the fraud, he accepts that I have not tried to defraud O2. It is all so perfect, well kind of, I am still smarting about the fraud and inconvenience to be honest… and then:
‘Emma, I need to speak to you about your iphone’.
‘I know we have sorted your original complaint of the iphone not working’ … well sort of… ‘ and fraud… ‘um yes, if I were to commit fraud I hope I would be sensible enough to do it to SAVE money…’
‘… well I have just looked at your account and you upgraded two months ago’
Me: ‘Yes, I did, it was due and I made a good saving on the tariff’
‘… thing is, you signed up for 18 months’
Me: ‘Yes I did, it was a good deal and I knew iphone would obviously override that as I was buying one at some point v soon’
‘… thing is, the 18 month tariff you signed up for is now defunct (or equivalent word) because you have chosen an iphone tariff’
Me: ‘Er yes because that is all that was on offer, the one on my Sony was better can I have that one?’
‘… there are three options, and you have chosen the middle one… so we now need you to pay us either – and we are being kind here – the full amount of your original contract… some £400 plus OR… we will be lovely and let you only pay £269’
Me: ‘Right… so the cost of the iphone again?’
‘… yes, because only two months ago we gave you a very expensive phone free, and now you have bought your own’…
Me: ‘Might be an idea to introduce this charge at the point of sale? And you can have the Sony back now…’
‘… did they not tell you? Where did you buy the phone?’
Me: ‘An O2 store, and this telephone call from you is the first I have ever heard about a charge of at least £269 to get my number migrated to my iphone’
‘… I shall go and listen to the recordings of your conversation when you upgraded last’…
Hmmm, OK – do I have to spell it out here? No, you can do the maths… equals me introducing head to wall
I want my iphone… what on earth, and more importantly who on earth do these companies think they are dealing with?
I will blog a far more constructive post about this customer behaviour shortly… but for now? Do NOT buy an iphone unless you are loaded – or want to pay for mine – currently a pile of junk on desk.
I HOPE that by posting here and gathering insight, we will be able to have the iphone and not be fleeced! Hurrah 🙂
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Hi again Emma,
This gets worse and worse and is making me slightly nervous about buying an iPhone. There’s a shiney new Apple store opening today in Cambridge and I was tempted to go and buy one this afternoon but your post has made me think twice.
For what it’s worth, when I spoke to someone in my local O2 store, they said that because my existing O2 contract was taken out before September 2007, I would be able to assign my existing number over to the new iPhone. As my existing O2 tariff was £35 a month, the same as the lowest monthly iPhone contract, I figured I’d be OK but now I’m not so sure. Maybe double-checking with O2 would be prudent at this stage.
I hate dealing with large companies and speaking to some flat-foot instore doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence either.
I’d be very interested to hear how this all ends for you, so I’ll keep checking in.
Nick, I would definitely do that, make sure you find out and double check every charge and exactly what you might have to go through.
This is a terrible and extreme example of continuing problem in B2C retailing. What we at Charteris, my company, call the ‘new shopper’, who is web literate, impatient, fickle, fleet of foot and ingenious is just too quick for retailers. Retailers, like O2, who sell things (phones) and services (connectivity to telecoms networks) are just not agile enough to keep up, let alone understand the consequences of what every new deal strucutre might be. Their inertia is in part caused by arcane contract and tariff structures which were originally designed to lure us into mobile telephony. It’s now a commodity and should be as easy to define as your water supply. The felony is compounded by bundling in home broadband and VOIP.
I bought a racoon tariff from Orange with ‘free’ Broadband, VOIP, etc etc expecting it to wind up cheaper that my previous arrangement. After months of hassle which is too painful to even thing about now, I’m actually worse off and hooked into an 18 month deal.
The first company that reinvents their contractual arrangements so that what you are buying is as plain and simple as paying your water bill will clean up.
Sorry there is a complete non-squitur in what I wrote….
There is another step in the argument – the inertia of retailers is not intensional but leads to a crap level of service, a raft of hidden gotchas and utter confusion even amongst their own staff. The customer experience is ‘random’ – sometimes it owrks but mostly it doesn’t to the utter detriment of their brand (or what’s left of it)
Therefore when the first company to reinvent… etc etc
Jeremy, you are bang on the money – someone give the man a badge – and a company 🙂
Emma, forget the “brand” nonsense in paragraph 2 – this is just damned fine blogging.
Lloyd – I thank you, sir! You are right, the brand bit is w*nky, as is the spoiled brat bit at the end ‘I want my iphone’ 🙂 ah well
BTW iphone still not working
By the way, gang, Jeremy’s blog is here: http://bpvocc.blogspot.com/ it rocks
Its good to confirm that large corporate insensitivities are consistent across geographical boundaries. This shows us that the issues we face are not cultural or personal. The common link is Corporate innability to provide services in a manner we value.
The power we have as consumers is best leveraged at the point of purchase, when our money is still in our pockets and the retailers are salivating to get it. Here is an idea, a pre approved contract with carriers which we make them sign, which delineates our expectations of future charges. If they want our business, they should sign and agree on our expectations. no?