This is part 6 of a multi-part post on my battle to get an iPhone for myself and a Blackberry Pearl Flip for my wife from Roger’s wireless. At the time of this writing, the saga is still on-going so I cannot say how many episodes there will be… Previous episodes: Episode 1: The Phantom iPhone, Episode 2: A Lack of a Phone, Episode 3: Revenge of the Pissed, Episode 4: A New Phone, Episode 5: The Empire Bills Back.
Thus far in my struggles to get an iPhone, all of my problems have been in getting the phone itself and in my dealings with Roger’s on billing and such. I had not had any problems at all with the phone itself. Considering the way everything had gone with the whole ordeal, I guess I should have expected there to be something in the works for me.
It all started with my wife accusing me of ignoring her. Several times she had called me and I didn’t answer my phone. I really was not ignoring her, I just thought that I had my ringer turned down too low. I would wake my iPhone from its slumber to find a missed call. Or two. Or three. And voicemails. I tried turning up the ringer volume. I even tried setting the ringer for my wife to be a loud klaxon alarm. Nothing. I told her that I just wasn’t hearing it when she called. She didn’t believe me so I tried an experiment – I placed the phone on the table in front of her and called it from her cell phone. It rang away in my ear but sat silent before us. As soon as I woke it, it registered a missed call.
Now, being the kind of guy that I am and dreading having to speak to anyone at Roger’s, I decided to do some searching for the problem. Fairly quickly I discovered that there were two possible issues. One was just a software glitch that could be solved by doing a reboot of the phone and the other, a hardware problem affecting a certain percentage of Canadian iPhones, would require replacement. I shut down my phone to see if I was lucky enough to have the software version of the problem and while it was restarting, I dug into the box it was shipped in to see if there was a special number to call for technical issues. What I found in the box was far more troubling than the phone not ringing while asleep.
My iPhone is a refurbished one. I was originally sent a brand-spanking-new one, but it was stolen en route to me. Since I received my replacement phone through the lost and stolen program, they sent me a refurbished phone. I knew this when I received it but I didn’t really care. First of all, I was very happy to finally have the phone in my possession. Secondly, I understand how refurbished hardware works. In fact, the MacBook Pro I am using to write this is refurbished. Refurbished machines can be anything from returned in an open box but never used to machines that had some small problem that was then repaired. Refurbished products are usually heavily tested and checked and in most cases they are just as good as new. What I didn’t notice upon first receiving the iPhone was the small red card in the box that now grabbed my full attention. This little red card stated that my refurbished iPhone came with a 6 month warranty.
It was that small red card that prompted me to call Roger’s once again far more than it was anything to do with the not ringing issue. In fact, since that reboot my iPhone has never failed to ring while asleep. Not once. In all likelihood it was something caused by an app I had installed and not rebooted afterward. I’m a bit of an App Store whore and I am loath to ever turn my phone off. Nevertheless, I called in to Roger’s to see if anyone there could kindly send me a brand new phone with a full 1 year warranty, since that was what I paid for.
I dialed the hated toll-free number yet again and rambled my number (starting with the area code, always starting with the area code), name, postal code and birth date. I was connected to a woman in the customer service department. She had a moderately thick Spanish accent but she seemed to be understanding what I was telling her. I explained my saga and how it led me to have a refurbished phone. I explained about the ringing troubles and how it led me to discover my truncated warranty. She told me that I should talk to technical support but that they were not open as this was on the weekend. I explained again to her that I was not really calling about the technical problem, I was calling her because I wanted a brand new phone which is what I had paid for and I wanted my full 1 year warranty. Again she told me that I needed to talk to technical support. Again I explained to her why this was not a technical issue. I told her I wanted a brand new phone. At this point something new happened. Something which had not happened to me in my dealings with Roger’s. She started yelling at me.
I’m sure that she now realizes that this was a mistake. She started yelling into the phone that I had already had my upgrade and I could not get another one for a year. Surprisingly, I remained calm. Once again I tried to explain the situation to her – that I had paid for a brand new phone with a 1 year warranty and that was what I wanted to be provided with. She continued to be very loud and very rude to me. I believe it was at this point that Lindsay set her Facebook status to, “Listening to my husband tear someone at Roger’s a new one”. I ripped into her. I really let her have it. I unleashed all of my pent-up frustration at Roger’s and at being on the phone with one of their mindless fools for the umpteenth time. I ended my tirade with a demand for a supervisor. I am not sure how it actually sounded, but to me, hearing myself raging into the phone it was the voice of a god demanding obedience. It probably wasn’t anything that dramatic, but she told me to hold and went away.
Were it not for the accent I would have thought it was another woman who came back on the line. The essential gist is that she could not send me a new phone (I am guessing that her supervisor listened to a recording of the conversation and explained it to her properly), but that the customer relations department sometimes sent out new phones as replacements so that they might be able to help me. She apologized several times and I just got the hell off the phone. The customer relations department was also closed on the weekend.
Monday morning I called back in. A peon in customer service asked for my details and I said not to bother, just transfer me to the customer relations department. He said he needed the information to pull up my account. I asked him why he needed my account when he was just going to transfer me away? He had no answer and transferred me to Zed. Zed was a very smooth operator. I spoke to Zed for a while, telling him my whole long story and he hummed and hawed at the right times, murmured “that’s not right” a couple of times and then, when it was all done, told me that I couldn’t get a new phone through him, but maybe technical support could send a new one to replace the one I had if it was broken. He said he was going to transfer me to the Technical Support department, but I stopped him.
“Zed”, I said, “you’ve just listened to my whole sordid tale and I’ve been through a lot. The woman I spoke to on the weekend was the rudest, least helpful person I have encountered in a tortuous saga of poor customer service. I have been given many account credits to compensate me for much less than the abuse she sent my way this weekend and I want to know what you’re going to do about it.”. He sounded genuinely confused and asked me what I meant. I told him flat out that she had treated my horribly and I wanted him to put some “goodwill” credits on my account to atone. Unhelpfully, he told me that I had gotten too many credits already and he couldn’t give me any more. I told him that was fine…someone else would if he wouldn’t. He then transferred me to the technical support department.
As expected they told me that they could not swap out my phone. They did give me some ideas on what I could do if the phone continued to behave badly. Then they attempted to transfer me to the customer relations department, as they could most likely help me. Unfortunately there appeared to be a technical issue with the technical support department and my call was dropped.
I was really tired of the automated phone system at this point. I called back in and all I would say to it when it asked me what I wanted was “VINDICATION”. Three “VINDICATION”s gets you to the customer relations department, in case you were wondering. I don’t recall the name of the woman I then spoke to, because it was far less memorable than Zed. She did, however, seem to care about strengthening the relations between Roger’s and this particular customer far more than Zed, despite lacking all of his slick talking ability. She explained to me that the reason I could not get a new phone was because the UPS investigation was not completed yet. Since that had not been resolved, the system thought that I had already received a phone through the hardware upgrade process and would not allow me to get another new one for a full year. She told me that I needed to followup with UPS on the investigation and once it was done I should notify Roger’s and they could then clear my account and send me out a new phone. I told her that it was not my responsibility to contact UPS as that was between Roger’s and UPS and had nothing to do with me. She agreed and said she’d make some notes and send some emails to get things moving on their end. That pleased me.
The Score So Far
- Three months unlimited local calling.
- Three months unlimited data usage.
- $10 credit / phone / month for 36 months.
- $50 goodwill credit
- $25 goodwill credit
- $50 goodwill credit
This new woman was also far more sympathetic when it came to the woman I had dealt with on the weekend. Instead of promising me that the woman would get a “coaching session” to learn from the experience, she put a $50 credit on my account. That was more like it. Finally some results. They were going to chase down the UPS investigation and I’d get a new phone when it was done. My phone in the meantime was now ringing when it should and I had another credit on my account. I thought that I might be able to see this horrid saga drawing to a close. If only that had been true. If only there had been more Star Wars movies from which I could draw titular inspiration. The next episode will see more billing shenanigans, more UPS investigation fail, more account credits and something new with my titles!
Update 07/06/2009: Episode 7: Seeing Red has been released.
Update 07/13/2009: Episode 8: Resolution has been released.
Update 07/27/2009: Roger’s Wars Epilogue has been released.