Usually I reserve this space to discuss my thoughts and ideas about social computing and educational technology (hence the blog name!), but today I just have to vent my spleen about the way in which my cell phone service provider of SEVEN years (surely this going back a LONG time in terms of cell phone use!) Telus Canada has so profoundly and abjectly let me down.
I am no power user of the cell phone. Somehow I have resisted the temptation to become part of the cell phone culture. Most of the time I do not even have my cell phone with me. There is a part of me that just doesn’t want to be found at all hours of the day and night. So, for the last three years, I have been one of those pay-as-you-go customers and it suited me fine.
However, when I knew I would be going to California earlier this month and that my teenage daughters would be on their own for a part of that time, I very conscientiously upgraded my Telus account from pay-as-you-go to a monthly contractual account SO THAT I would could both make and receive long-distance phone calls. The day before I left for California, I spent half an hour on the phone with a Telus agent and explained to him very carefully my reason for the change which supposedly took effect immediately.
When I arrived in California, in San Francisco – aka Silicon Valley – which HAS to be one of THE most wired places on earth, you can imagine my surprise when my cell phone could not pick up a signal. And so it went on… I arrived a few days later in San Diego. Still no signal.
Because the convention centre where NECC was being held was wired, I was able to call home using Skype (you can skype NA phone numbers for free until 2007 – BRAVO Skype!). Of course, no one could call into me because my cell phone would not pick up a signal. Using skype, I phoned my dad to wish him a happy birthday only to discover that my mother had had a serious health crisis and was hospitalized. No one was able to reach me with that information. That was when my ire was aroused about my Telus problem.
I contacted Telus at that point and inquired about my lack of service. If I understood correctly, the technician told me that because I had not updated my phone for their roaming signal on their network BEFORE I had left Canada, there was NO WAY I was going to receive a signal. And he implied that because my phone, which he was able to sense somehow (old records?) was so old it wasn’t going to work even then.
When I returned home to Canada, I emailed and phoned Telus to complain and to threaten termination of my relationship with them if they did not address my concerns. I never did receive a reply to my email (how professional is that for a service provider??). In my phone conversation, they agreed not to charge for the 10 days without service IF I would sign a long-term contract (as if!!), but they would not agree to updating my seven year old obsolete phone. They passed on my complaint to someone higher in the organization who, I was assured, was supposed to get back to me in between 48 and 72 hours.
I am thinking – okay, I did not receive their service for over 10 days because of their mistake and ineptitude and have to pay for it UNLESS I upgrade to a longer term contract. Why would I do that? Why would I extend my relationship with a service that has already so profoundly screwed up? How is this addressing my concerns? How is this assuring me of their sincere regret of their mistake? Is this the way big companies do business with ordinary consumers?
That 72 hour period has come and gone. Still no word back from Telus and somehow I am not surprised. I guess they are willing to lose a customer of SEVEN years, but at least I have some gratification in using my public space on my blog to give them a bad review.
Telus did not inform me that my phone needed a special program from its system to sense roaming towers when I was in a different country. They had a system that was able to sense that my phone was too obsolete but they did not inform me of that and pass that information on to me. Telus did not want to admit its failure and address my concerns. Instead they left me high and dry without service when I very much needed it and was willing to pay extra for it. I had done my part to insure that service, and they let me down – abjectly and profoundly.
I am bemused at their incompetence of allowing a loyal customer of SEVEN years just walk away WITH a grudge. Caveat Emptor!
Now I gotta get back to tracking down a new cell phone service provider…. Let’s see if Rogers or Bell would be happy to have me….