….. To our mobile provider.
I have been Mrs. Maciphone since last year, and having so much fun using it. The first time I had it I didn’t really like it because it failed on basic mobile phone function, namely texting. It didn’t have a function to forward the message, let alone to copy and paste. But iphone has evolved so much now, and I depend on it a lot, up to the point I don’t actually need my laptop as much as I used to, because the world is, literally, on my fingertips.
Wonder if we need to put jackets on and check today’s weather? Click weather. Want to go to see a movie? Wait, let me check which cinema plays the movie and the schedule with flixter. Looking for the nearest ATM, gas station, hospital, taxi rank, or supermarket? I can find it easily by using AroundMe. Are you lost? Click Maps. Are you lost in London? Iphone has tube map too. Reading newspaper everyday? Click on every newspaper RSS button. Email, web browsing, facebooking, twitting, instant messaging, even online banking, all are done with iphone. Online shopping like ebay, amazon, or yoox can also be done through iphone. And my most favourite application so far: Shazam. You hear a song on TV or radio or when you pass a store, you like it, you wonder who sings it or what the title is, just switch Shazam on, let it listen to the song for less than one minute, and it will come up with all information you need. Clever!
So, determined of continue using my iphone, I phoned my mobile provider, told them I was moving overseas, I wanted to terminate my monthly contract with them, and I still want to use my iphone – which is locked for contract purpose. Two simple things. Easy, they said. Switch to pre-paid (can I keep my old number? I can? Wow, that’s great, thank you), final bill will be produced in 14 days, you pay your final bill, we will unlock your iphone.
Great. Sounds very great.
Except that it doesn’t happen that way.
I phoned them in November 4th, almost 2 months a go, assuming that everything would have been cleared before we had to leave the country. I switched to prepaid in November 11th while I was still in London. Losing 3G connection is already a big shock to me because I don’t have the world on my fingertips anymore and I have to rely on wi-fi signals. Luckily, finding free wi-fi in UK is like finding coffee shop. Every place offers the service for free if you sit down and buy their coffee.
I waited and waited, I thought the bill was delivered late because the UK postal strike, but it never came. I left UK to Australia with a mental note that I need to take care of this matter quickly. I want my iphone back to its full function! So after settling down a bit and getting over the jet lag, the first person I called wasn’t my or mr.mck’s family, but my mobile provider. Basically I had to repeat the story again – on overseas phone call, mind you – and, surprise surprise, they discovered that I am in their records for both – BOTH!!! – post-paid and pre-paid.
How did that happen?
No wonder they never produce my final bill, because they still charge me on monthly basis. While at the same time, I have been topping up my pre-paid credit, and do not enjoy contract’s benefits like 3G. I pay them double! But the customer service officer with posh English accent ensured me that this matter is handled quickly, he will even, I quote, “escalate” this issue so I could get my final bill and have my iphone unlocked in no time.
That was December 3rd.
Sometimes later I could see my new bill. But it is NOT my final bill, but the normal bill where they still charge me monthly. For December to January. For using their service like texting as well – while I actually pay every single text with my credit from pre-paid service.
I emailed and I phoned – overseas phone calls, don’t forget! – and have gotten different answer and promise. For one thing, they don’t have any record that I terminated my contract in November 11th. No, they say, my contract is terminated as of December 3rd. Only when they cross-checked with pre-paid department – which means let me wait for another 5 minutes on the phone – they discover that, hey, this customer speaks the truth! Every. Bloody. Single. Time.
Today is December 21st, more than one month – wait, almost 2 months, actually – since I reported what I wanted, and I still don’t get neither. I am charged for the service I no longer use, I do not get my final bill, and my iphone is still locked. I have exchanged emails for at least 5 times and always get different replies from different officer. I have phoned them about 4 times, and got different promises each time, none is ever delivered.
Last Thursday, on the 17th of December, with evaporating patience, I phoned them up again. The lady I spoke to finally realised how messy my situation is, especially because they have already taken the money from my bank yesterday, despite my endless, diligent, attempts to notify them that they are wrong. She then ensured me that now they OWE me money instead, and my final bill will be produced on next Monday, or today, December 21st. On the bill I should see that they will credit everything back, but I still have to phone them back to make sure they will return the money to the bank. I haven’t seen the bill up to now, but since they are 8 hours behind Perth, I will wait until this afternoon before phoning them up again. FOR. THE. LAST. TIME.
How about my iphone? It’s still locked. Mr. mck, whose final bill has been cleared, paid, and done since 2 weeks a go, has his iphone still locked. I have got a strong feeling that this will happen to me too. It’s time to mr.mck to speak on the phone, and the lady transferred him to the ‘iphone department’.
After explaining his situation, which took another 5 minutes – and we had been on the phone for over an hour now, mr.mck went quiet for a while and then looked at me, shaking his head in disbelief. Basically what they say is they can only unlock the iphone if the thing is physically present in UK. But we are in Australia now, and nobody – nobody! – told us about this before when we phoned in November 4th, or after, when mr.mck started complaining for not being able to use his iphone 2 weeks a go. Why did it take them that long to reveal that the iphone must be in UK? Had we known, we would have left our iphone back home and had someone help us with it. The technical guy, sounded confused now, says they could try to unlock it from UK while the iphone is in Australia, but we need to top-up the credit for another 15 quid because we are using a different network now. Weird, but 15 quid is nothing compares to sending them back to UK using DHL, so alright, although we don’t see the logic behind it, we’d do it. Would that confirm that the iphone will be unlocked? Errr… no, not really.
After 15 minutes of getting back and forth and back again, it was obvious that the supposedly technical guy cannot provide a straight technical answer. Maybe there isn’t one, but rather than admitting it or be firm with it, he kept trying to feed us with false hopes.
So we now either could take our chances and spend a lot more money by sending our iphone back to UK to get them unlocked – which now, based on our experience, might or might not happen because every single time they say they can, and then they can’t. Or we could just go find someone here who can unlock them.
The iphone are ours, we have paid for them, but the phone providers seem don’t want to let us go. I don’t understand why it is so hard to say goodbye.
They must really love us that much.