Thursday, 21 March 2013

trials of a late adopter

I have finally bitten the bullet and bought a smart phone.  Only a mid-range one, nothing fancy, but something that will give me mobile internet, and arrange my texts in easy-to-follow conversational sequences.  After spending ages looking at details of telephones and tariffs it felt like time to step into the twenty-first century, and I thought that the only way to find out how useful a smart phone turned out to be, or not, was to draw a deep breath, get one, and start using it.  Besides, my credit on my pay-as-you -go antique Nokia was down to £1.82 and I didn't want to give O2 another tenner if I was about to ditch the old phone.  In the end I stuck with O2.  Originally I was thinking of switching to 3 Mobile, but there has nearly always been a signal for the Nokia when I needed one, and 3 Mobile seemed to have permanently sold out of the phone I was planning to buy.  Their monthly tariffs weren't that attractive at the lower end either, but something has to pay for all those advertisements at Colchester railway station.

I bought the phone on-line with no problems, ignoring the almost endless list of add-on purchases O2 wanted me to make.  I don’t want a beanie hat with built-in headphones, and I certainly don’t want to pay six pounds a month insurance in case I lose or break my phone, since by the end of the contract I’d have paid enough premiums to buy a new phone anyway.  I signed up to a modest monthly tariff, invented a password and an answer to a memorable question, and O2 sent me a flurry of e-mails confirming that I'd bought a phone, and signed up as an O2 customer and all the rest of it.  One of the e-mails contained a link for me to click on to confirm my e-mail address, which I had to use within 48 hours before the link expired.  I clicked on it two minutes after receiving it, and it said the link had expired.  I tried again.  And again.

In order to contact O2 by e-mail to find out what I should do about the fact that I couldn't confirm my e-mail address, I had to choose from a bewildering array of menu options.  None of them seemed to cover problems verifying your e-mail address as a newly signed up pay-monthly customer, and I thought maybe it would be easier to ring them up.  When you ring up O2 your call is answered by an automated female voice, who after greeting you in tones so fruitily ecstatic they verge on the embarrassing, wants you to type in the number of your telephone, so that you can speak to the right person.  My telephone was not due to arrive until the following day, so I didn't know what its number was.  I waited to see if there was an alternative option, such as Press One if you do not know your telephone number, but there wasn't.  The fruity voice merely said She was sorry, she didn't catch that.

That left the option of an on-line chat with a Live Person.  The first Live Person identified themselves as Bartosz, and but after a while he or she passed me on to a second Live Person from the sales team.  Both Live People were very anxious to reassure me, while persistently failing to answer my question about the verification e-mail.  The whole exchange was quite extraordinary, as was the fact that O2 let me have a transcript at the end.

info: Welcome to O2. Someone will be with you soon. 
info: You're through to 'O2 : Bartosz'
O2 : Bartosz: Hi I'm O2 : Bartosz. How can I help?
Me: Have just bought phone and signed up to pay monthly on-line. The email link to verify me e-mail address does not work.
O2 : Bartosz: I'll help you.
O2 : Bartosz: may i've your email address please ?
Me: [my name]
O2 : Bartosz: thanks.
O2 : Bartosz: Please wait while I check this for you.
O2 : Bartosz: thanks for being patient.
O2 : Bartosz: Please can you tell me the 4th and 5th character of your security answer?
Me: Do you mean the favourite pet etc question by security answer?
O2 : Bartosz: yes, you are right.
Me: le
O2 : Bartosz: thanks.
O2 : Bartosz: I can see that your order is still under process.
O2 : Bartosz: You need to wait for some time.
Me: I can quote you the order number as confirmation email has come through, it's just the verification e-mail that I'm supposed to use within 48 hours says it has already expired
O2 : Bartosz: You don't need to worry about the verification email.
O2 : Bartosz: Everything has been set up on your account.
O2 : Bartosz: Once the order is complete
O2 : Bartosz: You'll receive the email for the confirmation.
Me: Why do you send me a verification e-mail I don't need to worry about? I'm confused.
O2 : Bartosz: I understand.
O2 : Bartosz: Please be online I need to transfer this chat to our sales team, they are in better position to help you with this matter.
info: We’re putting you through to the right person, won’t be long.
info: You're through to 'Daz'
Daz: Hi there. My name's Daz I am an O2 Sales advisor, how can I help you today?
Me: I have just bought a phone and signed up to pay monthly on line. I received various e-mails from O2 including one with a link I had to click within 48 hours to verify my e-mail address. The link does not work, says it has already expired. Your live-chat colleague says I don't need to worry about the verification e-mail. Do I?
Daz: I'll be happy to help you with that.
Daz: Yes you'll get confirmation mail
Daz: May I know your order number?
Me: ms-301161249
Daz: Thanks.
Daz: Your order has been placed successfully.
Daz: You'll get confirmation mail too.
Daz: No worries.
Daz: You have placed order for ace 2\
Daz: Its on the tariff of £14
Me: I have had a confirmation e-mail so I know I have placed an order. will I get another confirmation e-mail about my e-mail address. Do I need to worry about it?
Daz: No need to worry [my first name].
Me: Should I expect another verification e-mail or is O2 happy that it knows my email address?
Daz: Yes that's fine.
Daz: You do not need to worry about your verification code, 02 is fine that you know your email address.
Daz: Rest be assured.
Daz: Are you with me ?
Me: Yes. I know my e-mail address. Do I need to confirm my e-mail address to O2?
Daz: No that's fine [my first name].
Me: Thank you.
Daz: I've checked you've not added Insurance for your phone, I would recommend you to add Insurance as its just for £6 a month and if you calculate it would just cost you 20p per day to secure your phone. If  something happens to your phone then you'll have to spend £129.99 for the new phone and that would be expensive.

Don’t you love the final attempt to sell me insurance, after I’d logged out of the Live Chat?  So far I have succeeded in installing the battery into the phone, which is charging up.  I hope I can make it work, since I don’t fancy any further contact with the customer service team at O2.

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