Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

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Progress – even with 02

Posted by Oli on Thursday 28th December, 2006

Festive recovery is progressing well – I’ve had two complete days of doing very little-to-nothing and looking after myself and I’m feeling all the better for it.

I’ve got a voucher-splashing trip to Borders planned for the morning, under the guise of taking my Dad over to show him how fab it is, and I’ll be merrily spending my way through the delightful vouchers supplied by K’s big bro and troupe. (Happy now?;-).

I’m still not entirely firing on all cylinders, but I’m finding it much easier to get around at the moment – albeit always tied to an oxygen cylinder or concentrator – and I’m not nearly as breathless as I was yesterday or the day before, which goes to prove two things. 1) that doing plenty of physio and getting plenty of rest really works and 2) TOBI, the nebulised form of the Tobramycin anit-biotic, really does do it’s job spectacuarly well, as I only restarted it on Boxing day (it works on a month-on, month-off basis).

Also had an interesting conversation with O2 yesterday.  I’ve been thinking a lot about getting hold of a Blackberry phone/email device thingy, mostly because it’s a fair assumption that this year I’ll be spending a good deal more time in hospital and that being the case, it would be great to have access to my emails from my bed.  The hospital as it is doesn’t have workable or affordable internet access, so a Blackberry seems ideal.

What it would mean is that while I’m laid up with nothing much to do, not only can I carry on communicating with my friends without running up an insanely huge text message bill, but I can also carry on with most of the work I do for the Trust, which is handled largely through email with contributors, designers and the “bosses” there.

Now, I’ve seen a few really attractive deals on O2 for Blackberry Pearl phones and contracts to go with them, namely one which tell me that if you sign up to a £30+p/m voice contract and £10p/m Blackberry Tariff, you get the Pearl for free.

So I phoned and spoke to O2 customer services and told them that although I’m only 9 months into my current contract, I’d like to add the Blackberry Tariff and get the Pearl.  Fine, they said, that’ll be £220. 

Now, bearing in mind that the phone alone is advertised in Carphone Warehouse at the moment for £199, this didn’t seem like a fabulous offer.  I told them so.  They told me that since I’m not due an upgrade, there’s nothing they can do. 

I outlined my history with the company – loyal customer for over three years, no problems or complaints, no other issues – and suggested that perhaps, since I’m only 3 months away from the end of the contract, maybe they could budge a little on the price of the phone.  I didn’t say I wanted it free, just a little leeway on the £220.  But no, they don’t do it and no one there is authorised to.

So I thanked them politely and hung up, redialed and went through to the option on their phone menu saying “If you are less than happy”.  I outlined the situation again and got the same response – nothing they could do because I was outside the upgrade window.

At this point, having reiterated the fact that I’d been loyal for 4 years, never missed a payment, never raised a problem with them, never kicked up a fuss about anything, I let them know I was feeling like a mildly undervalued customer.

In fact, it had occurred to me whilst talking to them that it would be cheaper for me to go down to Carphone Warehouse, take out a new contract – on exactly the same terms as my current one – plus the Blackberry tariff, get the phone for free and pay out the remainder of my contract with them than it would be for me to get the Pearl through them.  I told them.

At this point he put me on hold and came back 5 minutes later telling me that having spoken to 2 different departments, the 2nd one told him that if I called them back on the 4th January, they would do the upgrade for me.  Just like that.

Interestingly, when I asked what department I needed to speak to when I called back, he told me it was the “Safe” department – the people you talk to when you say you want to cancel your contract.  So being a “valued” customer isn’t enough to get you benefits and deals as part of O2 – you really only matter when they think you’re going to defect to Vodafone or Orange.

Still, who am I to grumble, as of January I’ll be my own personal walking office – marvellous!


One Response to “Progress – even with 02”

  1. Emmie said

    Hi Oli

    We had a similar experience with O2 recently. When we phoned to say we wanted to cancel our contract they offered us everything under the sun to keep us! Much better offers than we could have got with them normally.

    Only problem was that since we get no O2 signal here it didn’t really matter what they offered as we still couldn’t use it…a point they didn’t quite seem to grasp ;o)

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