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.
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.
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. 🙂