Vodafone’s customer service elves have not been very very good.

I have now been without my Nokia N95 8Gb for over two weeks and am increasingly
irritable about Vodafone’s rather shoddy customer service…

I have now been without my Nokia N95 8Gb for over two weeks and am increasingly
irritable about Vodafone’s rather shoddy customer service.

One assistant checked my phone in for repair, but even though I’d indicated
possible water damage didn’t preventatively arrange the insurance cover. The
assistant the weekend later said this was a “training issue”, oops, and my
phone would be delivered on the 23rd of December.

Handily that was when I was travelling back from my work Christmas party. The next day would be fine, but apparently the booking system can’t actually handle choosing the correct date for a delivery. But that’s ok! All we had to do was game the system: pencil in a delivery for the 23rd, and get me to call back to get it booked to the 24th (the phone delivery elves work on
Christmas Eve after all). Worryingly, my several phone calls were met with confusion as to
why I was calling now and not the 24th (er, because that’s the day after my
delivery is booked), the 23rd (er, because the phone might already be out for
delivery), and finally the 22nd; also with denial of there being any note left
by the shop on my records to warn them that a change of date would be required.
But finally, I was told to not worry: the phone would go out for
delivery on the 23rd, but the company would make 3 attempts to deliver, so I’d
get it on the 24th anyway. Phew.

Vodasanta did not come down my chimney on the 24th.

I went into the shop after Christmas, and was told that the delivery company had been waiting
for me to call them to arrange delivery on the 24th, why didn’t I call? (Apparently
there were no notes on my records about the calls I did make. Naughty elves.)

So, after going into town to visit the Liverpool vodafone store 3 times, making
several calls and waiting in for a whole day for a failed delivery (8:30-5:30
is apparently a decent delivery “slot”), the best they can do is arrange to deliver the
handset to me. Again. The next available date is the 30th, when I’m at my parents:
and they can’t do better than that same time range, so if my family have other
plans for the day (hardly unreasonable) then I will have to put off the delivery
way into the new year.

Of course they couldn’t make a reasonable offer at retaining customer
satisfaction by, say, offering me an equivalent handset. This is because the
insurance people already have the N95 8Gb in stock (how nice for them).
I pushed this point and said I would let this lie and be happy if they could
substitute me for an E71 right now in store (it was my original second choice
of handset) but apparently that’s “not allowed” as it’s a PDA style phone.
It’s very important, apparently, for them only to offer a “standard” service:
messing me about for 2 weeks comes as standard; actually delivering the phone
that I’ve paid an insurance premium for does not.

The one gesture that Vodafone have made is to refund the £25 excess on the
insurance claim. That’s appreciated of course, but I had to ask for it after
expressing my clear frustration both in the shop and over the phone to the
insurance team.

Ho ho ho.

Edit (20 Jan 2009) I got a reply from a James from Vodafone on 31st December suggesting I should get in touch and he would try to resolve. Good news right? Sadly, all I got from the online form submission (including a reference I’d assumed would dispatch the query to him) was a confused reply from a generic customer service representative. I emailed James direct and heard nothing – I’m currently assuming he was an impostor pretending to be from Vodafone for comic effect.

I’ve since made an official written complaint to Vodafone head office, the insurance service, and the Liverpool store. I’ve had once reply so far from the insurance, which is fairly generic, though it does mention “On checking our records we can see that you did not make contact until 27 December 2008″ – apparently it is far more likely that I lied about calling 3 times than that their record keeping is at fault.

Edit (26 Jan 2009) (Been a bit busy with long weekend away to write this up till now.) Got an email from Paul at Vodafone’s customer service on the 22nd. Apparently James is not an impostor, but merely failed to get my messages because a) the code I typed in my response didn’t work (apparently I shouldn’t have put it in parentheses, which seems a bit silly) and b) didn’t receive the email I sent (to the address he left on my comment form). Apparently the refusal to substitute the N95 8Gb with another model is because it “was and still is an expensive handset”, which I do agree makes sense for their logistics, but which clearly doesn’t for me as a customer.

Paul has made a credit for 2 months’ free line rental, which is at least a reasonable gesture: thanks.