I am happy to report that after putting social media to the ultimate test, it passed, but unfortunately Cellcom did not. OK, here is the story. After writing that last blog post about how horrific Cellcom’s service has been, and after attempting to speak to a manager for months, I finally got the call. It did not take long, in fact it was around a half an hour after the post was published that I got a call from a senior manager in Cellcom apologizing for the whole ordeal and offering me a “new” phone for “free”.
The reason for the quotation marks in the last sentence is that I was to find out later that the new phone I received and am now using was neither new nor free. Now, let me say one thing before I go into the small details. I think Cellcom deserves props for even reading the blog and even bigger props for actually searching for my number (mistakenly, I did not leave a number in the blog post for them to contact me), and contacting me. It shows that they are on the right path and are not completely ignoring the blogesphere.
Having said that, it is a good start, but that is where it ends. They have a lot more to improve before I can say that their service is even satisfactory. When I got the call, the manager was extremely nice and professional and I chewed his ear off telling him the whole story and how horrible my experience was. It is true he had already read about it on the blog, but it was important for me to repeat it to him with all the details so that he understood how ridiculous the whole thing was.
So he told me he would like to compensate me. At this point of the conversation I cut him off (apologized of course) and said that this conversation will end in one of two ways. The first option is that I will thank him for fixing the phone and use Cellcom till my contract is over then say goodbye. The better option is that he makes such a good offer that I am thrilled and stay with Cellcom and even give them some good PR. He opted for the second and offered me a choice of 5 phones from which to choose. He explained to me that this will not be considered an upgrade and that I am being given the phone for free with the hope that I stay with Cellcom as a happy customer. I was of course thrilled, till I heard the 5 options.
As nice as it was, he knew he was talking to a tech blogger, so you would think he would give some reasonable options, but the best option he gave was a Samsung F480, which is a decent phone, leagues above my last Nokia 6288 (the one I was replacing). The phone lacks a keyboard of any kind, not hardware and not virtual, nothing. It is borderline impossible to type on. It lacks Wifi, which is not the end of the world as it has HSDPA, but is Java-based, so no normal apps. All in all I was ok with it. He told me to go pick it up and the whole ordeal would take 5 minutes at the Cellcom center…YEA RIGHT!
Went to the store and 5 hours and a lot of yelling later, I had myself a refurbished F480. They guaranteed me it never left the store and it was just from display but the scratches on the screen say otherwise. Now, at this point, I was a little upset, but again, it was free, so how can I complain? This is where the story gets interesting. Approximately, 24 hours after I took the “new” phone and singed on for another 18 months with Cellcom, Orange, Cellcom’s biggest competitor called me.
To make a long story short, he offered me a free Blackbery Bold. I almost fell off my chair. As you know if you read my blog, I LOVE the Blackberry Bold. I told the representative that I had just signed with Cellcom and I am committed, to which he replied “No worries, we will pay your fine”. At this point, I thought I was on candid camera. I told him I would find out what the fine is and get back to him. Turns out finding out how high the fine is for leaving Cellcom is NOT an easy task. After days of phone calls, I found out it was around $400. Orange offered to pay it and give me the Bold. But, as always, there is a catch, I need to sign on to Orange for 18 months including a package for calls (around $70), data, ($10 for 100MB), and Blackberry service ($30).
I told Mr. Orange that he knows I am a tech blogger, and there is no way I am signing on to any particular phone for 18 months, even if it is a Blackberry. I explained to him that I have no problem committing to Orange that if and when I get an iPhone, I will use an Orange SIM card, but to commit to Blackberry service for 18 months was unacceptable. He said I am pushing my luck as they are already offering me a free Bold, and he is probably right, but the bottom line is I will be paying more monthly than I am paying now, so free or not free, his offer doesn’t seem so appealing unless they cancel the Blackberry service contract.
Where it stands now is that I am waiting on Orange’s answer whether I can take this “present” with no contract on the Blackberry service. I hope I get an answer soon and I hope the answer is yes.
<Taking a deep breath> To summarize, both companies have impressed me with their initiative to take bloggers seriously. Cellcom has disappointed at the end of the day and as for Orange, stay tuned!