A Measure Of Service

Posted: 16.07.07 in Blogging

Yesterday I emailed O2, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile, using the most appropriate email address I could find on the website. In the cases of O2 and Vodafone, the contact address was for current customers, as no other email addresses were available. Here is the content of my message:


I am currently with Orange on a service plan called “EQ Virgin”, where the cost of my calls and messages are equivalent to those currently charged by Virgin Mobile.

The deal is that I do not have any monthly line rental charge, but I pay for the calls I make in arrears by Direct Debit.

Can a similar tariff be arranged on <company name>, where I don’t pay a monthly fee, but I pay for the calls and messages and I make?

And this was sent at about 12.05pm.

The first to respond was T-Mobile, received at 15:31:

Hello Stephen

Thanks for contacting me to know the price plan available with T-Mobile that would suit your requirement.

After looking into your query I’d like to suggest you for a new pay as you go price plan. It is not a monthly contract phone but you will have to top up as per your usage.

… followed by a lengthy run-down of their tariffs. It was very quick, very detailed, and though it did not offer what I really wanted, T-Mobile told me (everything) that they could offer. Good service.

The second to reply were Virgin Mobile at 16:11:

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your email to Virgin Mobile about finding out more on our latest deals and promotions.

We’re really excited to hear you’re thinking of joining Virgin Mobile, with our amazing deals and services, we’re sure you’ll be more than happy if you decide to switch over!

The great news is if you’d like to Pay As You Go and avoid top up hassles, you can choose to pay by Direct Debit.

… again followed by a run-down of their pay as you go options, and their pay monthly options. It was also still quicker than I had expected, offered me pretty much what I wanted, and gave me all the information to view in one place. Good service.

At 16:38, O2 replied:

Hello Stephen,

Thank you for emailing us to ask if we can offer you the same deal that you received from Orange network.

I’m unable to tell you if we can offer you the same deal that you received from Orange network. Our sales team handle all sales related queries and they’ll be able to help you with your query. Please contact them on 08702 257 879. They’re available Monday to Friday between 08:30am and 09:00pm and on Saturday and Sunday between 10:00am and 06:00pm. Calls are charged at 20p per minute from O2 Pay Monthly phones and at national rate from fixed line phones.

… with little more by way of information. That’s pretty rubbish to me. Potential customers have to pay national rate to talk to one of their "sales team" just to find out whether what I want is possible. It’s not something I was willing to do – I avoided it in the first place – so I won’t. And I don’t appreciate being fleeced before even considering becoming a customer. So they’re out. Bad service.

Finally, Vodafone replied the next day at 10:03:

Dear Stephen,

Many thanks for your email,

Unfortunately there are no deals similar to this on our website, but please call our pay as you talk customer services team on 08700 77 66 55 who may be able to recommend a better deal for you.

… which is even worse than O2 – at least they tell me their number is national rate. This was also the entire content of the email. I suppose at least they gave me a straight answer and advice on what to do, but really, surely they could at least give me some indication as to whether my hunt for the deal I want is in vain.

I didn’t think that what I wanted was such a problem: Orange have let me do it for years. All I want is to pay for the calls and messages I make – just like any ordinary landline phone. It’s not outlandish, so why the hassle?

Thanks to all those at the companies that took the time to respond. Perhaps soon I shall hit the town and try the stores and see what better offers humans can give me rather than machines.


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