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O2 – read between the lines December 5, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

I can be clumsy at the best of times. In fact, in my case, the old adage “bread always falls the buttered side down” or the lesser known words of wisdom “spilled water always falls on my mobile phone”, ring quite true.

I recently spilled water on my phone – a reasonably new one. It didn’t take long before the thing starting acting up, crashing out and all round generally malfunctioning, apparently not liking the dip I had inadvertently given it earlier … before long I was phoneless.

A little history : I am a heavy mobile phone user. I changed from Vodafone to O2 because they were too expensive. O2’s charges were better. So I called in to more than 1 O2 store and pleaded my case for an upgrade, explaining the situation about the non-working, semi-shorted out hunk of junk that was now my poor Nokia. No luck. I had had an upgrade from the wonderful folks at O2 this past July and according to the lady assistant in the shop “I was way off the mark for another upgrade”. In other words, they are blatantly telling me I haven’t spent enough money yet so as to deserve a new handset … the ones they make in China for like 30c.

So in a last ditch effort not to splash out a handsome price for a new handset, I rang O2 themselves and after having painstakingly explained my case to the not very English-fluent operative, I was put through to one of the “supervisors”. I went through the ins-and-outs of the situation with him explaining how I was a heavy phone user and how I had switched from Vodafone to O2 and how all I needed was a handset and didn’t want the hassle of a whole new contract/number etc., when lo and behold, what does the supervisor say ? “You’re way off the mark for another upgrade ! There’s nothing I want to can do.” It was obvious this chap was not for turning, so he suggested (helpfully he thought) that instead of running back to Vodafone (worst case scenario) that I try to find an old handset because people rarely throw them out but then my new SIM card wouldn’t work in it but I could pay to have it converted … and so it went on … until finally he said “Thank you for choosing O2 !”. I hung up. Another valued customer completely satisfied with shite !

Just thought I’d bring that to your attention – so don’t ever drop your phone down the loo or drop water on the keypad or damage your phone in any way, because you ain’t getting a replacement if you’re “way off the mark !”. It now seems my best option is to buy a SpeakEasy phone with O2 (new number and the whole shebang) and use that SIM card only for “ringing my friends in the US or somewhere foreign”…

Lovely ! Tosserati !

PS : Something I also found out during my phone debacle … the character limit for writing a text message is shorter than the amount of “screen fulls” a phone will let you write … i.e. If you write a message that’s 2 or more screens in length, you will be charged for more than 1 text message. This hurts if you write postcard-sms’s on holidays like I did and never will do again …

ADDITION : I forgot to mention a rather important fact … it seems that no matter whether you have a working phone or not – or whether O2 will replace a broken phone or not – that your contract with them is legally binding and you’ll be billed accordingly.  Let’s clarify that – even if you have NO WORKING PHONE !!


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1. donal - December 5, 2006

Why not change again? Meteor are pretty good price-wise, and their reception has been fine for me in the last year that I’ve converted.

That SMS or concatenated SMS trick catches a lot of people out I’d say.

If you’re such a heavy user, have you tried the Call Costs website? I don’t use the mobile much myself but if you know others who are on Meteor, you can ring them for 5c at all times which is handy. Most of my friends/family are now on Meteor.

Oh, and threaten to move and see if their attitude changes.

There’s a handy link on Ask About Money you might wanna check out too.

2. Rambling Man - December 5, 2006

thanks donal – nice few links there
i did threaten to go back to vodafone but they weren’t interested – it’s as if it’s policy … as a matter of interest, just this lunchtime I went to a vodafone store and asked them were they (more or less) cheaper than O2 for someone who might be on x or y plan and they couldn’t even give me a ball park yes or no !

3. donal - December 5, 2006

I’m not surprised that they didn’t know but that’s another story.

Meant to say earlier that the askaboutmoney approach came up trumps for that person so worth a quick email to them might help. I’d imagine they don’t like much bad publicity so once this hits their radar, hopefully you’ll get some satisfaction.

4. laura - December 14, 2006

In order to be eligible for a new phone, you have to spend €900 in twelve months to qualify. If you do not spend €900 then you have to wait for eighteen months before you qualify for an upgrade. I have been told this by O2.

O2 are open and up front about how long it takes a contract to expire/how long it takes you to become eligible for an upgrade. You should read the terms and conditions before you sign on the dotted line.

However, as your problem is related to a malfunctioning handset, why are you getting cross with O2? It is not their fault that you spilt water on your phone!

Your real issue is with the manufacturer of aid phone, but most phones are covered by a guarantee, so, if you still have that guarantee, you can ask the manufacturer for a new phone.

I think you are giving O2 lots of un needed abuse here!! (no, I don’t work for them in case you think I do).

Btw, there are phones that you can buy from o2, like speak easy ones and just put your existing O2 sim into that phone!

On the SIM thing, and being locked out, that is horse shit. Any O2 SIM will work in any O2 phone providing that you haven’t decided to set the phone up yourself to reject any SIM. I have two o2 sims and about four o2 phones (new, old, ancient, work) and swap sims in and out of them all the time. I swap my SIM into my mother’s O2 phone without a problem etc. If you have an old handset from an old network on which a contract has expired, all you have to do is contact that operator and instruct them to unlock the phone so that it will accept any sim. Did I mention that I have use of a vodafone phone that takes an O2 sim quite happily because it was unlocked.

The SMS character length is in octets, and that depends on whether it is 7 bit encoding, 8 bit encoding, most phones have a setting that allows you to set the max message length to only one SMS. “Screen Length” is not a very scientific measurement!

5. Rambling Man - December 15, 2006

thanks for that laura. i was more pissed off with the fact that they didn’t even say sorry but we cant help you because you havn’t spent enough money … i’ve changed back to vodafone because their handset was cheaper than getting a speakeasy one, as you (and they) suggested … i take your point about the sms character length, but what i’m saying is that i didnt know that and got caught by it – it appears nobody really reads T&Cs ! thanks though

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