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From contract to pay as you go mobile phone

Dear Carphone Warehouse Customer Service:

On Monday 2nd February 2004, I visited your branch at Hammersmith, London at 11 am.

Since I had already consulted with a member of your sales staff on the telephone (the general 0808 number) two months before, I was sure that all I had to do was to take the PAC code I got from my existing mobile phone contract provider (OneTel) and pay and apply for a Virgin pay-as-you-go sim card.

That last phone call had taught me that pay-as-you-go was a better deal than contract. Currently I'm paying STG 4.99 per month just to have a mobile phone connection. With pay-as-you-go, I only pay for the calls. There are no separate charges for connection and no minimum contract period.

The person who served me transferred my phone book to from my OneTel sim card to the Virgin sim card for STG 1.99, a useful service I've used when I transferred from Vodafone to OneTel about a year ago. After paying for that and the STG 9.99 Virgin pay-as-you-go sim card, I was told to speak to a Virgin sales representative on the phone to complete the transfer.

The first thing the Virgin sales rep asked was whether my mobile phone (Ericsson T-28 World) was compatible. I was not told by your staff that this was a requirement. It was not compatible.

Another staff member came to my service at that point. He was obviously more experienced than his colleague. He advised that I have to either upgrade to another telephone or choose a different pay-as-you-go provider. I had decided on Virgin because it was by far the cheapest provider on a per-call basis. Also, it offered free voicemail retrieval.

The Carphone Warehouse salesman advised me to upgrade to a new model which would give me the tri-band coverage I wanted. He told me that my phone was ahead of its time. The handsets these days were not necessarily lighter in weight because of the new features. There were too many choices and too many attributes. The model I would have paid for was out of stock.

I did not have time to ponder because I had a flight to catch. I had spent almost an hour trying to transfer from a OneTel contract to a Virgin pay-as-you-go mobile connection without success.

All of this could have been avoided if your sales team on the 0808 number weren't so eager to sign me up for a pay-as-you-go ---- in my phone query two months ago. That person should have asked me about my mobile phone and its compatibility. It would have saved me an hour today.

There is a reason why I am hesitant about upgrading to a different one. It took me a month to figure out which handset to buy. It took me another month to wait for your Wimbledon office to get it in stock. Two years later, it broke. Your Greenford office replaced it for me. Now I just need good advice about how to transfer to a pay-as-you-go scheme.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Ku

4 February 2004 Wednesday

Related entries:
Mobile phone culture
Phone service
Simple impartial advice
Negative mobility
Hindsight note, 6 March 2004:
I didn't bring my charger on my last trip to London and my battery was almost dead. The Carphone Warehouse branch in Ealing charged it for me while I did my errands. They charged it without charge. Hurray for Carphone Warehouse!
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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