Saturday, 27 June 2015

Emergency calls only

“They shouldn’t have told you that.”

This was the phrase I kept hearing during my week of mobile phone blackout. I had spoken to five different “advisers” on the phone (one in Cairo) and three face-to-face in the shop. All eight were courteous and polite but the first seven were instantly sure that they knew what was wrong.

Each assured me that anyone else I had spoken to was on the wrong track.

“The customer helpline have put in the wrong code.”
“Your account is OK now you’ll be back on in an hour. “
“It’s the lollipop (yes) software from Samsung – you shouldn’t have updated.”
“Two orders need to go though and the system is slow.”
“Your account must be blocked – I will unblock it.”

You shouldn't have done that!
It reminded me of conversations I have had with plumbers and builders and even hairdressers who after tutting-tutting over your furred up pipes, wood-chip wallpaper or punk style hair colouring tell you that you have wasted your time and money so far and that they have the solution. 

Harry Enfield’s character who pops up and says “You shouldn’t have done that!” comes to mind.

BlackBerry curve

For years I had used a Blackberry after my employer had provided one as a way of keeping us on call round the clock. I still remember the dread in the pit of my stomach on a Sunday night when I would switch it on and hear the repeated buzz - one after another - of incoming “All staff” emails, diary reminders and texts reminding me to log my hours, go to a meeting or even wish someone a happy birthday.

In spite of this electronic harassment - after I became self-employed I still chose a Blackberry for my personal and business use. I particularly liked the solidity of the keyboard and the speed with which I could put together an email. Internet access was pretty feeble but I used my laptop for that.
I’d gone well beyond the phone update deadline because I didn’t want the hassle of learning all the short cuts of a new phone. 

Samsung S5
They didn’t do the Blackberry update so it was a Samsung S5.  

I loved my new phone but it was slim and slippery and easy to lose.

Of course I lost my phone one day and looked everywhere. 

Just in case it had been stolen and was being used for thousands of £ of mobile data calls I reported this.

An hour later I found it – in the bedclothes. 

They tell you never use your phone in bed and now I know why.

Joyfully I reported it found and it was back on again.

Two days later it was off…………….
Emergency calls only.
Call the customer helpline from my landline (costing me money).
Back on again.
Give memorable information.
Give date of birth.
Back on again.
Emergency calls only.
Off again.
Name of first pet.
On again.

Finally back in the shop and feeling desperate. Within seconds Abdul told me my handset (not my account) had been blacklisted. At last I was getting somewhere.

In other words as far as the company was concerned my phone was still in the hands of someone who was up to no good. The only way to get it off the blacklist was via an email from him to the only department who can take phones off the blacklist. This could take up to 72 hours and had to be done manually.

Twenty four hours later I was back on.  

I have not mentioned the company in this blog so anyone from customer services in a phone company might ask themselves. Could this happen in my firm?