Thursday, 28 August 2008

Customer Service Drama with 3 Mobile

I just had a really frustrating customer service experience with 3 Mobile.

About a month ago, I attempted to download a simple solitaire game from the Planet 3 service on my phone. It started out easy enough.. I found the game in the site, selected it and hit the download button. After a few minutes of slowly downloading, an error message appeared, saying that the connection had timed out and asked me to "Try Again".. which I did. Little did I know, each time I tried again, as suggested, my account was billed another $7. Eventually, after three attempts, my prepaid account was empty. So, I called the 3 Mobile Customer Care centre to report the problem and get a refund for the failed downloads. All fine so far - or so I thought.

The tech support guy who answered my call in far away India tried his best, but refused to credit my account. Apparently I would need to recharge my account first, so we could download the game together as part of their troubleshooting process. I objected to this, as I had only just recharged, and believed that there was already a prima-facie case for an immediate refund. Not so apparently! A few heated words and "for God's sakes" later, I hung up in frustration and let it lie for a while.

Today, having gotten sick of not having use of my phone, I recharged my account and called the Customer "Care" team back again. This time, when we restarted the "troubleshooting" process, the download worked.... and charged me another $7 of course... fair enough.

So now to the business of the refund for the failed attempts.... remember, so far, I've paid four times and only got the product once - so you'd think, that I would get a no questions asked refund of $21. Wouldn't you?

Well according to the Customer Care person, 3 would like to offer me a $10 goodwill credit. $10! I said "No, $21. It has to be $21... you can't just steal from your customers like that when your product fails to work."... off she went to consult with her team leader and came back with a further offer of $15. Getting better, but still ridiculously short of the $21 I am entitled to. Eventually, after being questioned about why I didn't report it sooner - as if, immediately after it happened wasn't soon enough, I asked her to escalate the call to a manager.

The manager was much more understanding and on hearing the story, immediately agreed to the $21 refund. I'm happy again - although the credit still doesn't appear on my account - we'll see.

It just makes me wonder how much they've managed to rip off people who aren't willing or able to insist that the right thing be done by them.

Does anyone else have a telecoms horror story to share?

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