December 30th, 2008
This is part 3 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 2 of this saga ended with me being told that the only way I would see my iPhone before the new year was to go into a local Roger’s dealer and get the phone there. This was exactly the situation I had hoped to avoid. You see, my previous phone was a Motorola Razr and I got it when they were relatively new and still selling out. After exploratory trips to several local vendors I ended up calling Roger’s directly and I had the new phone in my hands a few days later. Considering that iPhones are still quite popular I went right to Roger’s to save myself the trouble of searching locally.
This time around I had better luck than when I was trying to get a Razr. I had some holiday related shopping to do on a Saturday morning which would be taking me to my local FutureShop. FutureShop is a Roger’s vendor. It looked like things were finally starting to go my way. I walked up to the cell phone counter and asked if they had any stock in iPhones. Much to my surprise, I was told that they had plenty of phones in stock. Happily I followed the friendly FutureShop employee (distinguishing himself from the average FutureShop employee by actually being helpful) to a desk with a laptop on it. He had an iPhone in hand and I could see the end of my long struggle in sight.
My conversation with the young gentleman started in the same manner as most of my dealings with Roger’s: phone number including the area code, first and last name, postal code and date of birth. He typed away, clicked his mouse a few times, and then said “hmmm”. “Hmmm?”, I asked. “Well, it appears that you are not eligible for a hardware upgrade on that line until November 2009.” I didn’t panic. I took a deep breath and suggested that he check the other line, my wife’s number, as the iPhone had actually been ordered on her line and my line was probably flagged because of the BlackBerry we had received already. Type, type, type. Click, click, click. “Hmmm, I’m going to have to call them.” Was it just me or was it starting to get warm in the store?
His call to Roger’s did not go very well. Apparently, they had no idea why someone would have told me to go to a local store. It was quite obvious to them that there was nothing I could do at a store. The dealer support representative on the line told the FutureShop guy that the best thing for me to do was to call Roger’s customer service myself to get things sorted out. Apparently, the segmentation at Roger’s is such that staff who take calls to support dealers cannot do anything to help actual customers. I thanked the FutureShop guy for his help and pulled out my Razr to dial Roger’s yet again.
When my call reached the automated phone system I wasn’t completely sure which department I needed so I just kept saying “talk to a representative”. I eventually reached a woman who was there to ask me a few questions and then direct my call. I explained the situation and she told me that I needed customer service. She told me there was no one in the queue so I shouldn’t have to wait long. Fifteen minutes later a man came on the line. Phone number. First name. Last name. Postal code. Date of birth. I recounted my whole story yet again. He then dropped a bombshell on me: “There is nothing in the account notes about you being told to go into a store and I don’t know why they would have done that. There is already a hardware upgrade on that line and there is no exception form for your account.”
Up until this point I have still managed to keep my cool when dealing with Roger’s. I’ve gotten a few odd and pitying looks from some of my office mates but I have never really made a public spectacle of myself. Up until this point. At this point I started yelling into my phone in the middle of a FutureShop. I asked him if he was telling me that the past week had not happened. I asked him why I had three people, two grunts and a supervisor tell me that yes, the exception form had been processed. I asked him why that same supervisor explicitly told me to go to a local vendor to get my phone sooner. His answer only managed to make things much worse. “I don’t know why any of that would have happened, sir. I work in the dealer support department and we only handle these calls when there is overflow.” More lies! The last woman’s empty queue was so full that I ended up in overflow. The person on the phone with the helpful FutureShop guy, you know, the one from the dealer support department couldn’t help an actual customer…unless that customer had sat on hold for a certain amount of time?!?!? I was really starting to think that someone had it out for me at this point. I took a deep breath and asked to speak to a supervisor. I went back on hold.
Dark Side Descent Part III
In addition to my first publicly viewable outbursts, this episode marks the first time I began to premeditate the demand for compensation. If I had not been in the middle of running errands and my Razr’s battery warning had not been dinging, I would have fought for something there, on the spot. I had reached the point where I was not going to let it go. I was going to remember this and demand satisfaction when next I spoke to someone at Roger’s. I only hoped that it would be soon and that I would have an iPhone in my hand while doing it.
The Score So Far
While there is not much to show at this point, here is an accounting of what I have been given for my troubles from Roger’s. I’ll post updated versions of this list in subsequent episodes, as I am offered more…
- Three months unlimited local calling.
I was on hold long enough to finish shopping at FutureShop and drive most of the way across town to where I needed to pick up some holiday photos. Once, during the drive, the man came back on the line to, helpfully, tell me that he had emailed a supervisor and was awaiting a reply. He further told me that he wasn’t sure what a supervisor could do, there was not a lot that anyone could do about the situation. I told him quite forcefully that I wanted my phone. That was all. I was trying to spend money with his company and they kept trying to stop me. Every single time I talked to them something got terribly screwed up. I just wanted my phone.
By now I was pulling up to the photo place and I was certainly not going to go in there while yelling into my phone. Thankfully, I didn’t need to. The man came back on the line and told me that he and his supervisor had found a solution. They were going to send me a phone through their lost / stolen phone program. I’d be billed $550 for the “replacement phone” but he’d place a credit of $200 on my account to get the price down to the regular $250. I sighed and told him to check his math on that. He repeated the numbers and said, “yes, that’s right”. I just barely managed to not scream into the phone that $550 minus $200 is $350, not $250. He realized his mistake and told me that he would place a $300 credit on my account to get things right.
With that seemingly solved and a solution in place to get me a phone, I again asked to speak to a supervisor. He wanted to know why. I told him that I wanted someone to explain to me why I had been lied to repeatedly over the course of the past week. I was lied to about this mythical “exception form” and I had been lied to about going into a local store. I wanted some answers and I wanted some compensation. He didn’t understand what I meant. I gave up.
I ended my call by telling him that I would most definitely be getting some answers when I my phone in hand and called back to activate the data plans. I also told him that I would be demanding compensation for my time and my inconvenience and that a little free local calling would not cut it this time…
Update 01/12/2009: Episode 4: A New Phone has been released.
Update 01/21/2009: Episode 5: The Empire Bills Back has been released.
Update 02/10/2009: Episode 6: Return of the Mad Guy has been released.
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.