Excellent product, excruciating customer service. 3 Mobile Broadband
Should I shout, or whisper? An excellent product, but a dreadful company to deal with. I ordered a mobile broadband connection and router to go with it on 11th April and here we are - 21st May - with it just working. Not exactly technical problems - I knew exactly what I wanted as it was a repeat of the order I had placed 2 months earlier, and been so impressed that I have given that original to my Dad. Should I tell you the company. They're not called "One", they're not called "Two" ... I won't name them, but I'll let you guess.
Order placed for a USB modem, SIM card, and Wireless Router on 11th April. "Interesting" discussion with sales rep at the time, who insisted that I could not have the "25% less for existing 3 customers" deal because the terms and conditions that should have been available through a broken link stated that it was excluded from certain packages such as the one I wanted. Either he didn't know his products, or he got upset with me and decided to make my life a misery, because he sent a modem stick by a different manufacturer that (later) turned out to be incompatible with the router ... I thought it very interesting at the time that he needed my credit card details twice, once for each part of the order. He also told me that the two parts would be delivered separately.
USB stick duly arrived; I was surprised to see a different model number on it, but never mind. I put it aside to wait for the router. But no router, so about a week after placing the order I phone to enquire. To be told that my credit card had been refused for the router and that I must have missed /spamtrapped the email telling me. They suggested I order again, so I phoned in and did so.
Once again, a week, and ten days, went past. No router. By this time, I had borrowed the router and his stick back from Dad as was going away on business and needed the facilities. Sorting out the mobile broadband access had to go onto the back burner ... which I came back to about a fortnight ago. I decided to try to use the stick modem on the only computer it stated it was directly compatible with in my network - running OSX, and one that the other stick modem had worked perfectly in.
"Plug and Play". Wrong - plug it in, Icon for a disc drive comes up, and disappears again 2 seconds later. Try it a few times, hoping to click on disc drive. Cutting a long story short - it's not plug and play. If you have had certain other devices in use in the past on that USB port, they can conflict. Ah - but you try finding someone in technical support who can tell you this gem. Eventually, I did, and the dear gentlemen (to whom I'm very grateful - compliments to the offshore call centre staff in this case!) also told me that the modem supplied would not work with the router when I eventually got it. He wrote notes onto his system so that anyone else I spoke with later would be quickly up to speed. But he couldn't arrange the necessary swap - so I was to call the part of the company from which I bought it.
So I phoned, and explained my predicament. Of course, I had to explain it from the beginning because the computer in India wasn't actually linked to the sales department's computer in Scotland ... but eventually I got my message through. "But you only have two weeks from receiving something to reject it or ask for a swap" I was told. Err - the second part of the order wasn't even completed within the two weeks, so how on earth was I expected to know it was wrong - in fact I still didn't have the router. "Nothing I can do - I'll get a manager to call you tomorrow".
Call never came (can't say I was surprised) so a further few days went by, and I made a further call along the same lines. And the same long explanation. And the same "I'll get a manager to call you" ... and this time, he actually did, and (after a long explanation ...) agreed to set up the swap. Now - what about the modem - "I'll put you through to re-order" says he.
"We've stopped doing those" says the lady I spoke to. "But I have ordered one twice and it's a necessary part of the setup I require". "I can't help that - you can't expect to be able to order something in May just because we offered it for sale in April. It's discontinued". Now I really wanted to find a solution, but I asked if I could return the parts of the package that had been shipped. "No - you are far in excess of the 14 days" she said. So was there somewhere else I could get the router. "You could try going into our local branch in your high street and seeing if they have any left" she said, and told me that she had no way of checking for such stock levels on her system.
I asked for a customer service email address, or to speak with someone with whom I could take it further. Apparently, neither were available, but I could send a letter to an address in Glasgow. I ruefully wondered (and still do) whether the address I was given really would reach someone who understood customer service, or whether the letter box dumps straight into a refuse sack ...
But, storm clouds brewing and what looked like a 2 year contract for something that would be of limited use (and thoughts of calling in Esther or Watchdog), and the pieces fell into place.
A google search found me a third party supplier of the router ... 5 quid cheaper, ordered online with no question of my card being rejected (I think that was standard excuse no. 1, and not what really happened), and the router arrived.
The modem swap was actually made (I'm not one to shout about a correct delivery normally, as it should be what happens every time - but I've made an exception here!) and I swapped the SIM card over.
And with a few minutes of setting up, I am configured and it's online.
But what a hassle - a month and 10 days, speaking to perhaps a dozen people, at least half a day on the telephone - all to order and receive "another one just like the one I bought 2 months ago. Superb product. Shame about the company's customer service!
Link - The router - my previous technical article (written 2009-05-21)
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