I’ve unashamedly been an O2 customer for many years. I say unashamedly, because I have had good experiences as well as bad hence why I’m still their customer. I have at times looked at their competitors as an option and even on my darkest day, O2 managed to rescue me (?) from switching.
But over the past 12 months I have had an increase in bad experiences. From their blatent disregard for non business pay monthly customers who can’t avail of offers like O2 Freedom which Speakeasy customers can, to their inability to offer free roaming to the UK, unless of course you ring and ask them for it. But they don’t give it to everyone seemingly.
I’ve been tempted to rant about O2 for some time but I was never truly pushed that far, until last week. And while my story may sound simple, it is probably the most frustrating experience I have ever had.
Cut to Monday evening, 5th January. I was happily doing my domestic chores at home when my phone was possessed by the Devil himself and lept out of my pocket into a bowl of water. It died a painful and unforgiving death. No amount of radiator or hairdryer tricks were going to save it. I was in a panic the next day as I was due to leave the country on Wednesday and needed a replacement handset. Being the technogeek that I am I needed a new iPhone. I say a new iPhone because the phone that took a water trip was an iPhone, albeit not an iPhone I purchased direct from O2, much to my pleasure I must ad.
In a moment of weakness spawned by a flurry of reply tweets on Twitter I opted for upgrading to a 3G iPhone. I was under time pressure on the Tuesday and I need to act fast with a company that could cater for me efficiently. O2 weren’t that company.
I rang the Carphone Warehouse which was closest to my place of work to see if they had an iPhone in stock and they said they hadn’t. Ok no problem. Plan B. I rang the O2 Helpdesk who gave me some upgrade advice that I wasn’t aware of and told me that the Carphone Warehouse doesn’t at present have any iPhones in stock but O2 Retail definitely do.
Great says me. I hopped in my car and made my journey to Henry Street O2 Store. The queuing system is very poor. O2 appear to have semi borrowed some ideas from Apple and implemented them pretty poorly in my opinion. After queuing with other confused customers for 5 minutes, I was served by a helpful staff member. She proceeded to tell me they had no O2 phones in stock but the Grafton Street store did and Dundrum O2 did too. (She told me this after checking her computer terminal)
I travelled by foot with flask of tea and sandwiches to Grafton Street with a wad of cash in hand and time eating into my lunch break. I arrive to the Grafton Street store to queue bigger than the queues for the shops in Newry at Christmas time. It wasn’t that there was a special offer, they were just busy. There was about 5 staff on although I wasn’t sure what 2 of them were doing and if it was customer related. While queuing for 15 minutes, the instore Speakeasy top up machine went faulty creating a new “special” queue adding to the chaos. My tummy was rumbling and I had to get back to the office.
I was eventually greeted by an employee. He proceeded to tell me that they had no iPhones in stock. In fact he told me (without checking his terminal), that the only places in Ireland I could get an iPhone at the moment were Letterkenny or Kilarney. He couldn’t give me a reason why the sister store on Henry Street told me that he did have iPhones nor why they told me Dundrum did too. But much more to my frustration he couldn’t tell me why they didn’t have a sign on the door saying “Sorry no iPhones in stock” rather than lavishing the store and store window’s with ads for the iPhone. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the queue not been so big. But after queuing in one store to queue in another to be told “sorry none in stock” and being made feel like a plonker for even suggesting buying one, I admit I had to bite my tongue leaving the store.
The story doesn’t end there though. On my sorrow filled walk back to the car park, I passed a large Carphone Warehouse Store on North Earl Street. It had an iPhone ad in the window. With a mischievous grin on my face, I went into the store to ask where their iPhones were.
I was shocked to find there was no queue. I was even more shocked to see a sign on the wall saying iPhones in stock. The employee who sold me my iPhone was equally shocked to hear that O2 were telling people that Carphone Warehouse does not have any iPhone stock at present.
I purchased an iPhone in the colour and GB size that I wanted in a swift and friendly transaction. I was even more furious with O2’s inability to communicate simple information to their customers and potential customers at that point.
But the story doesn’t end there. On checking my phone last night I discovered that O2 neglected to move my phone tariff to the iPhone tariff. Perhaps this time I will wait for them to contact me before I alert them to it. In the interim I shall enjoy carrying minutes forward, as little as they may be!
In a totally unrelated comment, I have always been confused as to why O2 use water bubbles in their marketing imagery.