Now don’t get me wrong I love my Android phone – I won’t join the sheep and sell my soul to Apple for an iphone which does half of what my Android can do but costs twice as much. But……I had a problem. Eighteen months ago I signed up to a two year contract with my HTC magic phone and for most of that time I’ve been really really happy. Until a few months ago.
My HTC Magic had been running Android V1.6 and as such was a lovely little phone. Then suddenly, out of the blue, Vodafone released an upgrade for Magic users which took the phone up to the latest version which was 2.2 or Froyo as it was widely known. In retrospect this was a mistake which I will explain shortly but I think Vodafone had been under a lot of pressure to release the upgrade and for a long time it looked as if they were dragging their feet. However looking back they were actually being quite sensible. The problem would appear to be that the Magic just simply wasn’t powerful enough or had enough memory to run the new software.
Not that anyone at Vodafaone would actually admit that out loud but it did leave me with a problem. The phone became very sluggish and crashed every so often – usually when you really needed it to work. I use the phone as a camera a lot and when you have to wait 2 minutes for the camera function to start up it can be a bit embarrassing – especially when everyone else has taken the shot and you’re still standing there saying “Oh sorry can you just hang on a minute!” It also locked when phonecalls came in and meant I had to call people back. It was getting to the point where it was almost getting chucked with fustration!”
So a week ago I was walking past the Vodafone shop and saw the Sumsung Tablet as shown in the picture above) so I popped in to have a look. While I was standing there one of the assistants came over and asked if he could help. I explained that I was just looking and that I was tied to a 24 month contact that still had a while to run. He told me that I could upgrade 6 months early and when he checked the new date I could upgrade was 16th April. I made a note in my diary and took his name just in case! I also picked up a copy of the brochure so I could peruse the phones and decide which on to go for.
So after another frustrating day I e-mailed Vodafone to see if I could speed up the process and on the Tuesday I got a message which now said I could upgrade on the 4th April which was moving in the right direction. I decided to call them and see if I could push this further but their customer service department was awful. I don’t know where it’s based but none of the staff seem to have been taught how to empathise with customers, it’s all very deadpan and matter of fact. After arguing with the guy for a few minutes and trying to get across to him that simply repeating what he had just said doesn’t constitue explaining something he put me on hold to speak to technical services. While I was waiting the line went dead.
I decided to wait before calling back and while I waited I got a text saying my order had been dispatched!!!! What order!! So I phoned back and spoke to another deadpan individual who informed me that the technical people had said that the problem was most likely to be the sim card and they were sending me another one. I told him that I didn’t think that was the problem and hung up – shortly afterwards I got an e-mail in rather poor English telling me the same thing.
The card arrived on Thursday and as I had come to expect from Vodafone there was no instructions as to what I should do. So I called up and spoke to the same call centre who once again had no customer empathy and were less than helpful. I eventually got it out of them what I should do and hung up. A few minutes later I got an automated call asking me to rank the service I had just recieved so I gave them 2 out of 5 for service and gave them one for would I recommend Vodafone to a friend. A few minutes later a call back – I told him that I was driving and asked him to call back 10 minutes later which he did but I couldn’t answer the call because the bloody phone had locked up! Needless to say the sim card didn’t make any difference.
As far as I was concerned they had seriously pissed me off and this wasn’t over. Ideally what I would have liked to do was ride out the contract and then move my business elsewhere but with a phone that the thought of having to wait 2 weeks to upgrade was not pleasing then the thought of waiting 6 months was a nightmare. I decided to go back to the shop on Saturday and try again only this time face to face. I wanted to look at phones anyway as I couldn’t make my mind up between the Nexus S and the Desire HD.
So on Saturday I went into the shop and was disappointed that the guy I’d spoken to the previous week wasn’t there. They were very busy and I had to wait a while. Then luckily for me the guy suddenly appeared and I told him my whole tale of woe. He was very apologetic about the service that I had received and suggested that I complain. Curiously some of the things he said were the exact opposite of what I’d been told online/phone. I said to him that it was like dealing with two different companies and that it appeared that the shops and online/phone parts of Vodafone were in competition with each other, and that they used that to play customers off.
At first he said that there was nothing he could do but as we talked he asked me if I would mind a new telephone number. I said that it wouldn’t be the end of the world so he made a suggestion. He said he would reduce my current price paln down to the bare minimum – £10 a month. Then he would give me the phone on a 24 month contract but would give me the first two months free (That’s a £60 refund to cover the cost of the 6 months at £10 a month). That sounded good to me – especially as the two contracts would run together for the first 6 months so that I would end up with the new 24 month contract starting in October when the current one finished effectively making it a 30 month contract. (I’d been told that this wouldn’t happen by the man on the phone but didn’t believe it for one second.)
So all I had to do was decide which of the two phones to go for! I eventually went for the Desire HD because the Nexus doesn’t have a memory card slot and although it had a massive 16GB of storage if anything happened to the phone I wouldn’t be able to retrieve the data. So the man went out the back to get me a phone and guess what – they’d run out!! So I have to wait till tomorrow to get my hands on it.
It just goes to show that if you kick hard enough against big corporations eventually you’ll get what you want!