Internode & Vodaphone, a match made in hell

Trigger warning: major rant ahead.

I’ll start by saying that I have been with Internode [broadband ISP] for a very long time, maybe as long as ten years. In all that time I’ve always been 100% satisfied with both the product and the customer service.

Like most customers though, I paid absolutely no attention to Internode’s internal business, so I had no idea it had ‘partnered’ with Vodaphone [mobile network provider] until the screen on the Offspring’s mobile phone broke.

As both our phones are the cheapest smartphones money can buy, it was cheaper to buy a brand new phone than attempt to have the broken screen replaced. So the Offspring bought a new smartphone from Amazon.com.au. It arrived within 48 hours. Colour me amazed. Unfortunately, our good luck ended there.

After unpacking and decontaminating everything, I spent over an hour getting the old SIM card out of the broken phone. I’m pretty handy with tools but this damn SIM simply did not want to ‘slip out’. And of course, I was scared of getting tough with it in case I accidentally damaged it.

Long story short, I finally got the old SIM card out only to discover that it was miles too big for the new phone…

<<cue expletives deleted>>

So…I hopped onto my mobile phone and rang Internode [our mobile phone accounts are also with Internode, kinda]. I discovered that since moving our mobile phones to Internode, the company had left Optus [one of the major mobile network providers here in Australia] and moved to Vodaphone [another network provider]. Just as an aside, according to the Internode person, Internode ‘bought’ Vodaphone so they could have a mobile network of their own. According to the Vodaphone customer support person I spoke to today, Internode is only ‘partnering’ with Vodaphone.

<<whatever….>>

Still with me? Maybe grab a cup of coffee or a stiff drink; things are about to get a lot worse.

So…me to support: “The SIM card won’t fit.”

Support to me: “We can’t send you a new SIM card because your accounts are with Optus and we can’t source SIMs from Optus any more.”

Me to support: “What?”

Support to me: “The only way we can do it is if the account is ‘moved’ over to Vodaphone with a new plan. Then we can send you a new SIM from Vodaphone.”

This ‘move’ would prove to be $5 cheaper than our current plans, but only for 6 months. After that, the cost would become $5 more expensive than the current plan.

<<cue sigh>>

As getting to this point had already taken over a week, I authorised the change and waited for the new SIM card to arrive. It took a week and only arrived today. So all up, the Offspring has been without a phone for over two weeks. That’s meant we’ve had to share my mobile phone because we no longer have a landline.

<<cue another sigh>>

But at least the new SIM finally arrived, right?

The documentation that came with the SIM said that it had to be activated online. Fine, I login, get to the relevant screen and discover that step 1 of the activation process is that an activation code will be sent, via SMS, to the OLD PHONE. The phone that’s broken. The phone that triggered this whole mess in the first place.

<<What. The. Fuck?>>

Apologies, but I did warn you. 😦

So…I get on the phone to the support number written on the documentation and eventually get put through to someone we’ll call ‘Mary’. After explaining everything I outlined above, I told Mary that there had to be some other way of activating the new SIM.

After looking up the procedure manual [???], Mary said that no, there was no other way: the activation code had to be sent to the old SIM card to verify ownership of the phone.

<<cue tearing out of hair>>

Me to support: “But the phone is broken!

Support to me: “Could you put the SIM into another phone?”

<<cue grinding of teeth, loudly>>

The only other phone capable of taking the Offspring’s old SIM is mine. Unfortunately, getting the SIM out of the Samsung Galaxy J2Pro is bloody hard. You can’t just ‘slide’ it out. It’s in waaaaay too tight. I had to use a pin to dislodge it, then I had to use a pair of tweezers to get it all the way out. But I finally did it.

<<cue intense relief>>

The new ‘nano’ SIM is finally in the new Nokia 2720 Flip Phone, and we are a two phone family once more, but I’d like to say a word to Nokia about the phone: Getting SIM cards in and out looks easy until you actually try it. I wasted yet another hour attempting to ‘lock’ in the nano SIM card. The mechanism doesn’t ‘just’ slide.

I know it’s the cheapest phone in the Nokia stable, but for godsake, can’t you design something better? This is basic stuff.

And finally, before I end this rant, there are a few more things I’d like to say. The first is about the Vodaphone network:

  • outsourcing tech support to countries with a much lower minimum wage may be cost effective, but when that tech support consists of people reading off a script, or out of the procedures manual, the quality of the support is generally terrible.

The second thing I’d like to say is to Internode.

Guys, your support has always been excellent on broadband. It’s why I’ve been such a loyal customer. But on mobiles? Not good.

I now know that tech support for the mobile network is Vodaphone’s responsibility, but I bet most Internode customers don’t know that. I know I didn’t. All we know is that when we ring up for tech support [on mobiles] the quality plummets. If this keeps happening, Vodaphone won’t be the company blamed; it’ll be Internode. This is a problem you have to fix… somehow.

Okay, to all my online friends, thanks for letting me rant. I do feel a bit better now. 🙂

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

25 responses to “Internode & Vodaphone, a match made in hell

  • sirishac

    Really good articles, I get some idea from this article surely I will implement it to our organization – http://www.vitelglobal.in

    Liked by 1 person

  • Widdershins

    Well ranted!!!

    I’ve gotten to the point with tech (in particular) customer services that I point-blank ask for someone who speaks fluent English, and I don’t give a flying fuck whose delicate fee-fee’s I hurt! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      The latest girl I spoke to was fluent, she just didn’t have either the knowledge or the power to do anything. Sadly they are all given a ‘script’ and taught how to fob customers off when they ask for anything not covered by the script. I asked to speak to a ‘manager’ but of course it didn’t happen. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  • cedar51

    I still have a landline as frankly I have a lot of trouble with my mobile phone – I have a couple of hand issues and swiping up or pressing down are the start of issues, then holding it and wrestling with my hand tremors

    I do have it registered with companies/places (for text purposes only) but TRY AS I MIGHT for any of them to use my landline number is an uphill battle. I usually say right at the beginning if they insist on mobile “if I cut you off, phone me back on my landline”

    as for any help with your preferred gadget – the asst at the bricks and mortar store, quickly points out something – or they assume right from the start “you know things” … a friend might try to help and then say “my phone is different” – about then I give up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Oh Cedar, you have my complete and heartfelt sympathy. 😦 I do still have a landline but it’s dedicated to the internet, no handset attached. We didn’t use the other one much, which was why I cancelled it in the end, but sometimes I miss the confidence of knowing I could pick up the phone and call without worrying if I’d charged the bloody thing first. Excuse the French.
      If it makes you feel better, I didn’t learn about swiping until a friend of the Offspring taught me how to answer calls. For the previous 6 months I could call out but whenever a call came in, I’d go crazy pressing the green button but nothing would happen….it never occurred to me that I should ‘start the swipe at the green dot and continue the swipe to the red dot’.
      Even now I get angry when I remember that. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  • marianallen

    Yeah, don’t you just love that outsourced customer service. Dial 1-800-Catch-22.

    Liked by 3 people

  • Matthew Wright

    Ouch! Your rant seems entirely justified. But yeah… this is where ‘service’ has gone of late. Corporate cost-cutting, internationally sourced help desks that read from scripts and have no leeway to do anything. And a mind-set among the directors of these corporates to the effect that customers need the service more than they need the customers, so they can cut service costs to nothing and won’t lose revenue. Ugh. I’ve been wrestling with something similar here in NZ, which I resolved after six months by making sure everything was in writing, then calling their ‘help line’ and advising them that if I didn’t get an answer RIGHT NOW, I’d be lodging papers against the company (which was NZ registered) in the small claims court. It worked. But customers shouldn’t be reduced to that level when trying to get help over things they’ve paid for!

    As for Vodaphone, we have them here in NZ too. Based on my experience, I won’t deal with them, ever – not even over the span it takes for the universe to die of heat death. Grrrr…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      I think I remember that incident, Matthew. I’m glad it was finally sorted to your satisfaction but no, customers should not have to tie themselves in knots and threaten legal action to receive decent /service/.

      I’ve never been with Vodaphone before and would not have chosen to be with Vodaphone now if I’d known what was happening. Then again, all the mobile network companies here in Australia come across as snakeoil salesmen so the choice is limited. Until this whatever-it’s-called, I was very happy with the mobile service I was getting from Internode.
      I sent them a most unhappy and detailed ‘customer survey’ and someone tried to call me today while I was driving. I hope I’ve set a small fire under someone’s posterior. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • Widdershins

        It’s called a cluster-fuck! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Matthew Wright

        Interesting that they tried to call back – I always feel that the contempt with which these large corporates hold their customers prevents such niceties! My own latest problem, as of yesterday, involves trying to get tech support from a web hoster – there is a total disconnect between what I’ve asked and what is being delivered. And the idiosyncratic phrasing of the replies I’ve had make clear that, while the company is NZ based, its employees fairly clearly are not. It irks me a bit: local companies should make the effort to hire staff locally, and I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for the service if they did so. Potentially it wouldn’t cost more either – I’m prepared to bet the decision was about maximising profits, not reducing the cost to customers. But maybe I’m being a bit cynical.

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          Ugh, commiserations my friend. I know the world is becoming more global all the time, and that may be a good thing in the long run, but…I automatically feel more confident of getting real help when I hear a local voice on the other end of the call. And 99% of the time, the local voice really does know how to sort the problem.
          What I can’t understand is how a call centre based in some other country is going to be more cost effective when you factor in the cost of making international calls. Even if these call centres get special deals on price, surely it’s still more expensive than making a local call?
          And then there’s the ethical question: if you outsource to a country that provides cheap labour, isn’t that’s exploitation of the worst kind?
          -sigh- you’re not being cynical at all Matthew. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

  • petespringerauthor

    I’m a fairly intelligent guy (cue the wife snickering and guffawing in the background), but I’m an absolute moron when it comes to most technology. Some people have such an intuitive sense for things like this, but I don’t. It also goes against everything in my nature because I’m that guy who likes to make sense of things and why they are the way they are. When it comes to technology, just hand me something that works. There, I confessed my sins. Now I feel better the way you did after your rant.🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      lol – birds of a feather, Pete. I think we both like things to be logical. My Dad was a mechanical engineer and I was his adoring fan so I get mechanisms, but mobile hardware produces illusions – e.g. buttons that aren’t buttons etc. But I still expect a sort of mechanical logic, so…it took me months to learn that you didn’t press buttons on smartphones, you ‘swiped’ them. Yes, I shall go stand in the dinosaur corner of shame now…

      Liked by 2 people

  • MELewis

    Deepest sympathy, Meeks. It seems that blowing your stack at technology and its providers is the new scourge of our age. 😫

    Liked by 1 person

  • Chel Owens

    Agreed, agreed, agreed. Yet, companies continually outsource and partner and cut corners … all for a product everyone feels he *must* have, that often costs $$$ for even a basic model. 😓

    Liked by 1 person

  • robertawrites235681907

    My greatest sympathies, Meeks. Technological hardware glitches are the most frustrating thing I can think of.

    Liked by 1 person

  • daleleelife101.blog

    Omg… tech stuff is never simple or easy, and we wonder what we did with our lives before we had it at our fingertips rather than the old rotary dial landline! I feel for you. Been there done that. The only remedy is chocolate or wine depending on time of day.

    Liked by 3 people

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