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Wednesday 19 November 2003

Mobile riporf [am]

I went clubbing. I mostly blame Lurker but then more than that I blame Houmous. Things happened that probably have no reason to happen but they happened a lot. It was pretty elite.
The next day I had probably lost my mobile phone.
So anyway, apart from the fear, the loathing, the wriggling maggots under my skin and the nails driven slowly under my fingernails, the locusts crawling in my ears and the centipedes crawling into every breath-hole - well apart from that I was fine about 36 hours later.
Alright I wasn't that bad. But I didn't have a mobile.
So frankly having gotten home at 5am I couldn't friggin remember wtf had happened to my phone so I looked a bit for it over the next few days (fairly half hearted) and then on thursday, well......
This is how the conversation (abridged) went;
'Hello I haven't necessarily lost my phone but I might have. What happens next?'
'Don't worry, we'll just put a block on it for now and you can report it lost when you know it is'
Does this seem hard? No.
So about a week and a bit later I decide it's definitely fucked and go to the police station. Bloke behind the desk looks so relieved that I'm not some crack-toting special-leave-brandishing scum of south-east london he's dead nice. I get lost property number and move on to the vodafone store. Girl there with the ace tartars says 'who sold you the insurance' and I say 'you did' and she visibly brightens and waves her nips in a general valedictory flourish as if to say 'I rock'. I'm not about to argue. I might get free cornea-surgery if I do.
So. We phone insurance and to cut a long story short they stick me on the phone and the wire-jockey says.......'the underwriters have decided not to honour your claim sir'.
I stand in the store and say quietly but firmly 'what?'
Cutting, again, this first conversation short, the line is 'your terms and conditions say that you have to report your telephone missing within 24 hours of it going missing and have the crime / lost number from the cops at the same time'. I say 'I didn't *know* I'd lost it - I said I might have but until today I didn't know if I had.' Bloke says 'your phone was barred therefore that started the clock running and 24hrs later you were dead'. I said 'I specifically said to the girl I was talking to that I was not going to report lost at that time because I didn't know if it was or not - I can't be expected to report lost until I *know*.'
The conversation went downhill with the typical tired-bored-shite- phone-jockey who's sticking to company lines and me getting progressively angrier. He tries to out-logic me as your average bored rep will and I slap him intellectually pretty hard at which time he uses the classic 'this conversation is going no further'.
In the shop I am fucking furious. I stand there and turn on the manager and say 'your business is ripping me off' at the top of my voice. He looks embarrassed like he knows that this is exactly what happens to try and keep the insurance business sweet. I rant and rave in front of his paying customers and say 'I'm just a decent, honest bloke who's never made an insurance claim in my life and your fucking insurers are ripping me off. This is a con. It's totally dishonest.'. He says 'uuuhhhh' and the girl with the bountiful bazongas just looks at the table.
When I get back in my office I'm more angry than slim with an aborted jap-pr0n dl.
Now as every philthy phat lawyer will tell you, there's no point in getting angry - you need to get even. So I take a big deep breath and phone customer service.
'Hello can I speak to a manager please?'
Now what follows, for the sake of brevity is exactly the same conversation - the hopelessness of normal phone-jockey. I get no more joy and this girl tries to do me with the same points. However there's two tactical differences. Number one I say at the end 'Well Collette (her name) I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that I will never use Vodafone again in my entire life - you have lost a customer for life' to which she shrugs audibly. Number two and more cunning is that at the end when I say 'when will the manager phone me back' she says 'it should be in the next four hours'.
The Amnesiac changes gear;
'Look Collette - I'd like to make a big point here - you can tell how upset I am with your insurers but I really want you to know that I know this is nothing personal to do with you. I've done a job like yours and I really appreciate that it's nothing to do with you. I just want you to know I'm a decent honest bloke who really feels like I'm getting ripped off here. I really apologise as one person to another if you feel like I've been unkind to you. But this is really bad so I feel like I've been done over here'
The bird in her call-centre says 'Thank you very much Mr Johnson'. She doesn't sound like she thinks it's some middle-eastern peace rapprochment but she's obviously pleased that the occasional piece of christmas-cake gets handed down into the trenches.
So twenty minutes later I am on the phone to customer services cancelling my account. I don't really want to do this but I know that all the mobile providers have heavy duty software analysing anyone threating to leave and are pre-programmed, dependant on level of usage of the contract holder to offer appopriate incentives to stay. I know a bloke who sells this stuff to all the major providers and it is multi-million dollar business. So I register myself as 'terminal'
So funnily enough 10 minutes later, the manager at the insurers calls. To cut another long story short she says 'I can see we've misunderstood you Mr Johnson, we will honour your claim'.
Did they misunderstand me? Did they fuck.
I just made them understand better.....


  1. Thats nice - just a shame they were so stupid in the first place. Is there nobody in this world with an ounce of business sense ?
    I had a similarly annoying discussion with the AA many years ago, when they're insurers stitched me up. Net result - I've been an RAC member for several years now, and will insure with anyone _except_ the AA. Fools.

  2. The service industries in this country do seem to have an indemic failure to understand the understand the cost of making customers unhappy. Instead they throw themselves into obtaining new business and they're seemingly happy to let customers leap back and forth as they get stuffed around.
    Of course that just means that if one outfit really does the right thing, they retain customers and the indemic services lose market share. Which is a good thing, I guess.
    The corporate culture has done something kind of worse though, they've created these capture units which go after customers looking to leave. They persuade them back with marketing arguments and finally offer to resolve disputes. You might recall BT was recently ordered to stop this practise on domestic telephone lines.
    This culture is part of the whole service industry disease in this country. No one has any interested in doing the right thing by the customer until they make a move to leave. What kind of attitude is that for fuck sake?

  3. Am I've got your phone here - when do you want it back?

  4. R O F L ! ! !
    Thanks alot, now you owe me a new keyboard thats NOT filled with coca cola...