Rotten to the Core

Hello. This is a break from running and a good old rant like I use to do so those who know me can sit back and imagine me all animated changing the pitch of my voice and waving my arms around like a man processed.

So where did this rant come from. Well it started bubbling into a life over a year ago when Apple announced it would end MobileMe and replace with cloud and everyone would have to migrate their accounts and do it by themselves and if you had failed to move your account by June or July of this year then you could wave goodbye to your email and contacts and calendars. The issue with this is, you had to upgrade to Lion to be able to upgrade to the ‘Cloud’ I hate Lion, its rubbish it basically turns your mac into an iPhone or iPad of which I have great distaste for.

Anyway I made this happen, and the minute I did my Blackberry (best for emails) beeped. Your .Mac email is not valid, please confirm your password. I did. I still got the same message. Straight onto Vodafone and straight to one of their off shore call centres where if your issue is not listed on the script in front of them they can’t help. In fact they don’t understand your issue. I had two customer service people tell me, that unless it’s an iPhone then mail will not sync. It’s mail. It doesn’t matter what email client you use, it just logs into your email and pushes email to your phone or outlook, or android or whatever email program you are using be it on a computer or handset. Five people I spoke to until I finally got through to some one who was English and did not need to speak into a machine that gave them a computerised American/English accent. He admitted that he did not know how to help, but would try. I finally got through to yet another ‘Technical” person a phrase that is used in the loosed sense. He informs me I should take it up with Apple as it is not Vodafones or Blackberrys issue. Except it is. BB is no longer finding the server, and when I manually input the server information that Apple and several websites have confirmed my phone still rejects the email account.

So I now have a phone that won’t push my work email to me. A little annoyed does not even begin to describe the issue, so when I get a call for work on Thursday and I go to check my calendar only to find that all my dates have gone, and disappeared into the cloud I was not best happy. ‘I’d love to work on Thursday but I’m not sure if I’m free, as at the moment according to Apple iCloud I am free until 2089 and have not worked since 1972″

So I am now stuck with the Cloud that is not playing ball. A phone that Apple won’t allow to access my email, and a mobile operator who does not know what they are talking about. One agent asked if I had a 3G signal as that could be causing the issue. What planet are you on I bellowed. I’m connected to Wi-Fi and I can still transmit data via 2G and Edge. She went on to inform me that she needed to check if the browser worked. Why do you need to know that??? My other email works on the handset, stop reading the bloody script and listen to the customer, need less to say she didn’t, she carried on reading what the computer was telling here. Sure this method is fine for simple issue, like ‘My phone won’t turn on” Have you charged the battery the computer will say, however more complex issues which require listening skills and problem solving, issues that stray away from a predetermined script needs people who know what they are on about. Sure I could sell pensions or insurance if I had a script, but the minute we went off script I would be screwed.

This remind me of another time I spoke to a ‘so-called’ Customer service agent who had been trained in America as she was all “Good day, I’m here to help Sir, How can I help today, Hello Sir, I’m Happy to Help” every world hung with that terrible infliction that only America and Australia seem to have. I asked this agent if I could get a cheaper deal on my line rental, she said ‘No’ I said I was told I could as someone from the deals department phoned me last week and offered me a cheaper alternative. She said that there wasn’t one. Keeping to the script. What I should have said was I would like a ‘Sim only deal’ then she could type it into her machine to get to the right page, but because ‘Cheaper tariff’ wasn’t on the script she couldn’t help, in the end she put through to some one else, who also could not help. I hung up, and phoned back, asked where I was speaking to and got the response ‘Swansea’ Good enough I thought, and asked the same question, the reply came very quick. “You need our upgrades team, to talk you through the options of Sim only deals, if you don’t want to take out a new contract” Thats the type of service i expect, someone using their knowledge of the industry they work in to answer questions that don’t use the terminology.

I suppose I am more annoyed at VF for their constant lack of focus on customer care, but also my growing hatred of Apple for monoplising and handcuffing their customers. You have to upgrade to do this, and if you want to have this then you have to do this, and we have changed the way Mail works to make it better if you are one of the dorks who take out a second mortgage to buy an iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Apple t.v and the rest, only to have to get a loan 4 moths later to upgrade to the next iPhone which is no different, it just comes with a little bit more memory.

Oh well, time for another jog to calm me down.

Who Am I

Now I’m not the first and certainly will not be the last to make this observation unless the world is too suddenly terminate the second I have published this post.

While the title suggests a deep meaningful insight to who I think I am or what I am, then I’m sorry but it couldn’t be further from the truth. No it’s all about call centres and having to check who you are. I have always found this strange and they say it’s all to protect your identity and to prevent fraud. In theory I understand and what a great idea but in practice it’s bloody stupid. Here are three examples where I feel it has proven to be comical.

Blood Donation

Yeap the old blood bank asks you. The other day I went in to have my pint of blood drained from my arm to be asked my name, date of birth and address. This was all done after I had just filled in the health questionnaire which has these details printed on it. Also this form was now positioned on the table in front of the nurse and myself. So lets say that some one was stupid enough that they wanted to steal my identity to give blood they could either remember the information on the form or do what I did yesterday and read the information. I can understand why they need to do it, but why not ask for photo I.D the system of asking you address, and Date of birth seem silly. Also my best mate could go along as all the information they ask is common knowledge amongst my friends. The real laughable event is after the health screen, I then go over to the bed to donate. After the needle is inserted and the blood is flowing the same nurse asks the same questions. As if I would have changed person within those ten minutes and if I turned out to be an impostor what would they do, stop the donation? or carry on draining all the blood out as punishment?

Tax Office

This one is short, why would someone steal someones identity and then phone the tax office to talk about their tax needs and pay their tax bill. The real annoying thing is when you get passed from department to department and each new operative asks you the security details again. Why? My phone company does it, can I ask them questions to make sure I’m talking to the right company?

Banks/Phone/Tax/Insurance

It’s not a summary of what I’ve just said, it’s a biggest pain out of all of them. There is a little bit of me that understands the security check when I phone. After all I want my money to be safe, the issue is when they phone you. I feel like saying, ‘It’s me! you phoned me? Surly me answering and confirming it was me should be enough that I am the person you wanted to speak too?’

So there we have it, todays life complaint.

Finally the truth, So they claim!!!!!

My god, this has angered me so much that I was yelling to the customer service agent.

Yes my online account issue is still not resolved, so I phoned up again ready to explain the issue to a new member of the so-called customer service team. To recap I log on and get an email saying thankyou for registering, a couple of days later I am no longer registered and have to go through the whole process again.

Today I was told that the computer system at Vodafone would not de-register me, which I told the agent that was bollocks and read out the list of emails saying I had registered. She then informed me, and this was the first person who has said this ‘That you can’t have postal bills and have an on-line account” This was after a long frustration of explaining the situation with her come backs of “Well the system is showing you don’t have an online account.” I know; I would say that is because its keeps being deleted. “But we can’t help you as there is no issue to investigate.” The issue is I register and the systems takes it away after a couple of days. “I’m sorry Sir we can’t investigate as you haven’t registered for an online account.” And so it went on, until she finally realised that I was right when I returned back to the evidence of the emails saying that I did in deed register for an online account. Anyway she said I couldn’t have both….

Now if this is the reason for the issue then why has no one else said this before????

The fact that this is a lie, as I have been told I can have both, as the online account section also allows you to place or lift calling bars, or look at My Vodafone (Kind of App store) I decided to take this has the best offer of a resolve but I will be phoning up and questioning the reasoning for this.

What this now means is I can’t access my Vodafone At Home billing or emails as I need to log into the My Account section to get to the link of @Home. However the helpful person informed me that they @home could send me paper billing and I could just access my email through my 3rd party client I would just need the @home team to send me a new password.

So within 15 mins my seven month issue seems to have been sorted. Fair enough, it means I can’t have an online presence as their stupid computer system won’t allow it, but it now means I will get my paper bills and my emails, and I will never have to go online to do anything.

So we will wait yet another month to see if this issue has completely been cleared up. I think we all know the answer will be no. But we can but hold our breath.

Vodafone – The On Going Battle

Well, it’s a ongong battle, and so much so that I have decided to make new category just for Vodafone and the issues I have. Might even make a new blog just dedicated to the Company that answers the phone with the UK’s number one Network. (I am slowly building up a one man case on why I feel that is not the truth)

Last week, I put pen to paper to write about the ongoing issue of the online account being deactivated, and my Vodafone at Home account following suit. After a phone call to the Online at Home team who assured me the fault was because the account had been dormant for a month I injected with “it hasn’t I downloaded my Online bill two weeks ago” They quickly and helpfully said that Keith from Tech Support would phone on Monday.

Keith didn’t phone till Friday, and below is the transcript of what happened. As much as I remember it. To protect the identity of people Keith will be played by me and is called Burt. Oh wait! Hang on, I’ve already told you his name is Keith! Dam! Well there must be lots of Keith’s in Tech Support, It’s a tech support name. Plain and boring. He probably goes home to his wife Cassandra to eat Shepherds pie and watch the News before retiring to the shed or garage to paint his tiny army figures, and read up on battle of the Somme and listening to his Ham Radio.

Any way, I digress. Keith phoned at 9:30 making me late for work as he would not shut up, defiantly not trained in the art of Customer service he was going it alone without the aid of a script, and any research of what a nightmare of a customer I could be to agents.

Me – Hello

Keith – Hello is that Mr Scott

Me – Speaking

Keith – Hello it’s Keith here from Vodafone at Home, I had a memo to ring you about logging on to the website.

Me – Oh yes!

Keith – I’m afraid it has always been this way. You can only log on with your main email address, the one you first set up. Any other emails address’ you have registered can only be accessed through 3rd party clients through PoP3, as there is no way to check these emails online……

Me – I’m sorry Keith can I interrupt you. As interesting as this is, I only have one email address, and this is not the problem. My account is being deactivated. So when I log on, I can’t as it is asking me for an activation code.

Keith – Oh do you require a activation code?

Me – No I got one last week, the reason why they said you would phone, is to investigate why this keeps happening!

Keith – Well it’s because the account becomes inactivate after 2 months of no use, so you need an activation code.

Me – This has been explained to me, as I explained to your colleague this is not the case with me, as I went on-line 2 weeks ago to download my bill, and I still get my emails pushed to me from the server to my 3rd party email client. However last week I went on-line to find I needed to activate my account.

Keith – well, yes that does seem to be an issue.

(No shit Sherlock that is why I’m phoning and why you were phoning me)

Keith – Obviously you think there is a problem there that needs looking into. If it keeps happening I would suggest you phone back.

(But you don’t seem to think there is an issue Keith. Don’t make me out to be a complaining fool. I want to log on, download my bill, quickly. Not log on, phone you up, get a code. Wait for an hour for the system to reset. Input the code, and download my bill. I’m sure On-line billing is suppose to save you the Company Money. But it seems that you are spending the money saved on call centre staff dishing out activation codes.)

Me – It is keep happening which is why they passed the issue to ‘Tech Support” and for you to look into.

Keith – Well all I can suggest is you phone back if it keeps happening, and we will take it from there, as it is an issue that is upsetting you and is causing you some problems.

(Some, It’s wasting half my day is what it’s doing. Can’t we go back to the time when I woke up, have my cereal and opening the post, which contains a Bill from Vodafone that I can file away, rather than wake up, check my emails – see that my bill is ready, log on to the account, click on the link to At home – Phone up to get an activation code, input it, click on bills, download, open it and save as PDF to FIles – Bills- Vodafone – 2010-2011)

The rest of the conversation was me looking at my watch, thinking I have no time to battle with a 49 year still living with his mother and playing with toy soldiers and enjoying a boiled egg and sweet tea for diner. Him and his team don’t know what the matter is, and turning it off and back on is not working, or the fact of trying to blame the web browser as I told them I have used several apart from explorer. The last failed attempt to try to fix it was telling me to delete the cookies and cache as that could be somehow informing the servers at Vodafone towers to deactivate my account. If there are any computer geeks out there I would love to see how this affects the my online account.

Tomorrow I am getting a phone call from the normal Vodafone Customer Agent to inform me that my online account for my phone is fixed. It’s not. Everyday this week I have logged on and had to register. So we will see what happens there.