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I saw the advertisements a few weeks ago in a certain tabloid and (call me a snob) thought they must be of a dubious nature, just because of where they appeared. I had not seen Dialaphone advertised anywhere else, but then, I do't suppose I had really been looking. Then, last week, my partner (David) had decided to buy another mobile - see my op on the Ericsson T20 for more info on this (sorry, I couldn’t resist the plug). I noticed that Dialaphone had an advertisement in The Mail (which I consider to be one of the better quality tabloids). So, I looked them up on the Internet.
~ All About Dialaphone ~
The company was established in 1995 and claims to be “the UK’s No.1 direct mobile phone specialist”. Who am I to say they are not? With a turnover of over £70m in the first four years of trading (their words, not mine – I make it 6 years from ‘95-’01). They are mobile phone distributors who deal directly with the public, so are able to offer better deals to Joe Public, because they cut out the middle man. They are currently expanding, and are offering many positions on their website, for Customer Service Advisors and Telesales Executives in the London area.
~ The Website ~
I was pleasantly surprised with their ‘good looking’ website – a colourful and very inviting homepage, which downloaded with speed and doesn’t overload you with information. It is an easy to use site, but has a ‘Help Using the Website’ option, housed within the FAQ page.
The site is so easy to use I can’t tell you! (That’s not just an excuse so that I don’t have to write any more on this op!) Just visit it and see – I don’t think I’ve come across a site that is so easily accessible AND with fast downloading. I have noted the website address at the bottom of this op.
~ The Deals ~
These obviously vary and the phone you may choose may very well be different from the ‘special’ we opted for last week, because it was subject to availability and had a ‘closing date’. They are not just saying this either to get rid of their stock quicker, I have checked and they do change their offers when they have expired.
All mobile phones are provided subject to a 12 month airtime contract with one of the following:
Vodafone BT Cellnet One 2 One Orange
Each one varies. I could tell you about each one individually, but for fear of boring you I won’t. I will just tell you of the deal we took.
An Ericsson T20 phone FREE with
600mins free off peak talk time 50 free text messages
at a cost of £11.99 per month +£2 itemised billing charge (all inclusive of VAT).
“But….” I hear you say, “what’s so great about that deal?” Well, nothing in itself (apart from the fact it’s a heck of a site cheaper than that pay as you go con – and I know cos I have been conned). Anyway, I digressed slightly there. Back to the deal.
The phone then came with:
a Leather case oooh a handsfree kit aaah a Plug-in Chatboard mmm Tomb Raider CD Rom wowee and an MP3 Player actually, can’t be sarcastic about this Free connection (back to the sarcasm) weee 3 months free insurance cool 8 months free line rental (available by redemption at varying times through the 12 month contract - again sarcasm subsides).
~ Ordering ~
Once you have chosen your mobile phone package, you have one of three options open to you.
1. Order Online 2. Call the Freephone number 3. Click on the ‘We Call You’ button on screen, and they will ring you. (Can’t see the point of this I’m afraid, not if they’re providing a freephone number).
1. Ordering Online
This is exceptionally easy. Click on the ‘Buy Online’ Button and follow the simple instructions. Then after completing the order form on their secure site, giving bank and credit card details, click on the ‘Send Order’ button and that’s that.
2. and 3.
I can’t comment on these because I ordered online, but I suppose common sense tells you what they entail.
~ Delivery ~
Delivery is FREE and is guaranteed Next Day (unless you order the phone on a Saturday). Delivery times however, are anytime between 8.00am and 5.30pm the next day and can only be received and signed for by the person whose name is on the contract. You have the option of paying £5 delivery so that you can guarantee the phone will arrive at your address sometime between 8.00am and 12 noon.
Now then, after saying that, if you order on a Friday and require next day delivery, you have to pay £5 and the phone will come between 8.00am and 12noon on Saturday, otherwise, choose ‘Monday’ and delivery is free. We opted for £5 next day and (sshh) were not charged! The phone arrived at 8.05am by the way.
~ Guarantee ~
All phones come with a 14-day no quibble guarantee, as long as the phones and accessories are returned in the condition they were received in.
~ My Conclusion ~
The website was easy to use, quick and attractive and any ‘jargon’ was explained in plain English. OK, the choice wasn’t THAT great, let me see, on Vodafone there were 6 different types of phone on offer, each with different tariffs and free goodies.
I have no complaints on the delivery front and their Customer Service helpline is exceptional. Yes – I have had to phone customer services already, and yes it was to complain! Let me briefly tell you – I promise it won’t take long, I’ve taken up enough of your time already (but it might just be worth it to some of you).
8.05am phone arrived 8.15am sim card inserted and phone plugged in to be charged 8.20am-5.15pm The words ‘sim card error’ clearly visible on phone screen. 5.20pm sim card removed, checked and replaced. 5.21pm The words ‘sim card error’ clearly visible on phone screen. 5.22pm Telephoned Customer Services to find out what was wrong with phone. 5.23pm Was informed by nice lady that it says this because phone was not actually connected to Vodafone airtime yet, as it could be anytime before midnight on the day of receipt of phone as was clearly marked on the literature that came with it. 5.24pm I apologised most sincerely for wasting her time and thanked her anyway. 5.25pm Nice lady says, not at all, and for me having to call their helpline and waste MY time she offered me one months extra line rental free – making a total of nine months free rental. She even asked me if that was ok?
IS THAT OK? Was she mad? It was my fault entirely! Anyway, with hindsight, I wish I’d held out for more!!
Dialaphone gets my vote 100%.
~ Other Useful Information ~
Dial a Phone Ltd 53-79 Highgate Road London NW5 1TL