OK, I’ve just had a 3-day run-around from Vodafone and right now would cancel my whole contract with them in a second if there were some other mobile phone provider. I actually hate Telecom even more, so don’t bother mentioning them. Do we even have any other cellphone provider choices in New Zealand?
All the individual people I’ve spoken with have been polite, friendly and as helpful as the Vodafone system allows them to be. Except maybe for the guy in the Courtenay Place Vodafone shop who only managed to assist me (sort of) between calls and working with other customers who came in after me, instead of getting on with helping me. His colleague Tamati, on the other hand, gave me his full attention.
[Uh oh — try googling ‘vodafone suck’: plenty of hits.]
Tired of waiting for the iPhone
So, I was going to wait for the iPhone to legitimately arrive on these shores. But the other day I grew tired of waiting and after some research decided to upgrade from my wee Sony Ericsson K700i that has done well for me, and my low-end $20 per month plan to a Sony Ericsson K800i and a plan that adds up to about $40 per month.
I decided on a new phone and a new plan
The new phone and plan would give me cool stuff, such as free calls to my partner, some free peak time minutes, 100 texts per month, video calling, a screen I can read, and a cameraphone that takes reasonable pictures.
I’ve been with Vodafone since my first cellphone, way back in about 1994, when Vodafone were called Bell South. That’s a long time, so I figured there should be some kind of loyal customer discount.
Vodafone website is the pits
Last year Vodafone massively overhauled their website, and for quite some time I was unable to check my account status online, as I had previously been able to do. Except it turned out I was never able to get back into my account, long past the end of the upgrade.
This week I decided to tackle that issue. 15 minutes or so on the helpdesk phone with a friendly and helpful woman called Rima finally fixed that problem. Sort of. Half the pages don’t work, the website is unclear, hard to navigate, and just unfriendly. It’s annoying. Not a good starting point.
It turns out Rima is in Cairo, Egypt. She had terrible problems trying to tell me the location of a Wellington Vodafone store on Lambton Quay (as in key).
Somewhere, somehow I did stumble on a loyal customer upgrade option on the website. I fed in my phone number; they responded by texting me a 10 digit code. I fed that code into another place on the site, and as a long-term loyal customer I was offered $75 off half a dozen phone, not one of which was the model I want to buy.
In the second half of our call I discussed with Rima what Vodafone could in fact do for me as a loyal customer. Eventually she said she’d make it possible for me to apply the discount code to the phone I wanted. Hooray! If I had a problem I could call her back.
Out of phones
So I went to the store. They were out of the K800i, but offered me a free car charger to make up for having to go back the next day. Oh, and the system didn’t show the voucher / phone combination I needed. They told me to call Rima back.
The run around
I called back. Mina answered. She wasn’t allowed to transfer my call to Rima, but eventually assured me she herself had added the relevant info, as required.
This afternoon I called the shop: yes, the phones had arrived. I spruced up and went back to the store, which is where the nightmare really began.
In short, the notes on my record didn’t have the relevant info. The salesperson made calls to various people. No joy. I called this person who directed me to that person. I held, I was given other numbers to call. They knew nothing. They couldn’t help me. I was put on hold, played horrible loud music for 5 minutes, and then disconnected.
By then I was truly fuming. I was ready to cancel my whole existing deal with Vodafone, and certainly ready to put in a formal complaint. The salesperson had the good sense to hand me a leaflet as I was leaving, that explains how to complain, because, apparently, Vodafone “aim to provide you with great service”.
As we say here in New Zealand, “Yeah, right.”
I have a sneaking suspicion that the whole, entire Vodafone system is created in order to obstruct. I shall complain, but writing this post has at least stopped the ‘fury shakes’ I was experiencing as I left the store. It’s simple: Vodafone suck.