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**********SUNDAY 8TH AUGUST 2004 - FOR THE UPDATE THAT IS WORSE THAN THE ORIGINAL POSTING JUST SKIM TO THE BOTTOM**************
Well so far within Ciao my few reviews have been nice and I have only had good things to say – well not anymore. This review is about O2 and the service that they offer. I will aim to give an honest account of my dealings with them including the good and the bad points.
I am a Financial Director for a local company and needed to get some new mobile phones for various members of the team. The network we were on did not always get coverage in the rural area that we work so I shopped around. O2 are doing a business deal where you are given a free Nokia phone with Wap, Bluetooth and more functions than you could shake a stick at. All this for £16.50 + VAT a month and they also throw in 100 free any network any time minutes and 20 free text messages a month. Brilliant I figured – 100 minutes is actually an hour and 40 minutes of free calls a month so I thought that was probably adequate for many of my employees business needs.
There are a range of tarrifs available but I didn't take any advice on which one would be suitable as the minimum free minutes and free text messages were enough of our needs.
The reason this account is such good value is that it is all done on-line. I was admittedly a little dubious about this as I wondered what would happen if I needed to actually ‘speak’ to someone. Don’t worry I was reassured they also have a business phone help line where you can speak to someone (8-8 Monday to Friday and 10-4 on weekends.)
I ordered the telephones, they turned up promptly and no problems there. Couriers delivered them, all intact, handbooks evident and nice shiny Blue tooth ear pieces to use if you want. Slot the sim cards in and literally away we went brilliant service so far and no problems to report.
All was well until the first email turned up saying I had my first bill. The web site is impossibly hard to navigate with literally lots of options down the left hand side that have no purpose (think Ciaozone and all the options down the left hand side that do little or nothing and you have got the picture.) After trying for over an hour I downloaded the bill and then tried to print of a VAT receipt. Stupidly I imagined that the click button that clearly stated ‘Print VAT Receipt’ would do this for me. But no when you print it out the vat receipt states that this is not a Vat receipt. Great my taxman and accountant will love that I feel.
This VAT farce and bill downloading continued for a few more months until I decided to order more phones on the same account. I received an email to say my order had been accepted for 2 new phones and then an email to say that the phones had been dispatched. However they failed to turn up. I rang the help line number (this helpful addition is actually 25p a minute so please try not to call them often the bill soon mounts up although they do answer it straight away) and I was told we had a bad credit rating and the phones had never been despatched as we had been refused credit. Bad credit rating umm the company turns over £5 million a year. After a bit of digging (more 25p a minute etc) O2 admit they have made a mistake and send our phones out to us. No apology, no reason, no explanation. In total we now have 7 phones with them.
Last month I checked the bill when it was sent through to us (our 4th bill that is all) and found that on every phone the calls made were less than the free 100 minute allocation yet we were billed for approximately half of all calls made. I emailed the help icon on the web site (this took me 10 minutes to find) and found that I had 300 characters in which to lodge my query on my bill. 300 characters are nothing and it is a real squeeze to get your query in. However I eventually spoke to someone at O2 (remember 25p a minute) while trying to sort this out and he would only give me his first name not his surname. I rang a few days later to see how this issue was panning out and I was informed that nobody of that name worked there. Well he certainly did because I spoke to him – yet they have 100s of employees so I was informed that it could have been anyone. Not good customer service there then.
In the end I had to instruct my bank to not pay the bill as it was still not sorted out 2 weeks later when the direct debit date arrived. Funnily enough as soon as they couldn't get their money the problem was sorted and a credit applied to our account.
I checked my online bill today a month later and again the same error has occurred but this time with my phone. I have used 44 of my 100 free minutes yet I have been charged for 25 of these minutes. Umm obviously the O2 gremlins are at work again. I rang them on the 25p a minute phone line and asked them to call me back. Initially they refused and said it was not company policy to ring caller’s back. Eventually after persistence they did call me back yet told me that some the calls I had been charged should have been free calls yet I had had free calls on some that should have been charged!!!!! Are you keeping up? I explained again (God this is getting tedious) that I had only made 44 minutes of calls therefore they should all be free and as how the bill had now been produced I needed it sorted asap or I would instruct my bank to again not pay the phone bill.
I was informed by a lady that this will take about 7 days to sort out believe it or not and even then they can’t promise that this won’t happen again. They will TRY and call me next week to let me know if they have sorted it but if not I must call them. So I ask for the ladies name and she gives me her first name. However she can’t give me her surname or extension number as they apparently all move desks around the office and giving surnames is not company policy – yes I have been here before and no doubt when I call back next week she will not exist. Bizarre how it is not company policy as they have my name, company address, my date of birth, my mothers maiden name and 3 years of company accounts which we had to produce to open an account with them. I only want her surname for God’s sake – I didn’t ask for her home address or bank account details – just her surname.
In a nutshell the level of service this company offers disgusts me. We have signed a years contract with every phone and their attitude seems to be that they have my money for the next year so why bother offering me the service I require as they have my money and I can’t go anywhere else can I? I have threatened to take my business elsewhere yet they are not interested. I can’t go elsewhere as they tell me as I have signed a years contract an almost like it or lump it situation. Its ok I think I will make sure everyone uses less than 100 minutes a month and less than 20 minutes text messages a month then they are all free and we wont have to line their pockets any further. But no they charge me for minutes I haven’t even used.
In a way to make this review and not seem one sided, the phones are of excellent quality, the reception excellent, the battery life fantastic and I literally charge mine up once a week that’s all. The phone has every gadget you could ever want including voice recorder and wallet section etc but I feel this has more to do with the Nokia phone than the O2 contract.
Would I recommend this phone company to anyone? Well no not on the business tariff perhaps on a personal tariff you might get better results but I would never recommend this company on the business tariff. I don’t feel as if they care about us now they have our money so much so that as soon as the year is up I will be looking around to change companies. They are cheap but I think in the case of business 02 you get what you pay for and remember we are only paying £16.50 + vat a month – I would rather pay triple that and get excellent customer service.
I would be interested to know if this is a one off or if anyone has similar stories about 02 business.
***********SUNDAY 8TH AUGUST UPDAYE**************
Well since posting my original review every bill that they have produced have had the same problems and we have not paid a bill to them for the last 3 months. I have finally had enough and I have moved my business to Vodaphone. Its double if not more of the cost but so far the service I have received when ordering the phones has been amazing. They seem to care, they want my business, and I have the man I have been dealing withs first name, surname, email and direct dial extension - beat that O2.
I have also decided that I am sending O2 all of their telephones back recorded delivery and I will not be paying for the remaining 6 months that I have left on the contract for the 7 phones. If they try and hold me to it they will see me in court I am afraid. I don't take fools gladly and i refuse to pay for shoddy service - if this were a restaurant bill you would point blank refuse. Watch out for me on the news when O2 try and take me and my company to court - I'll fight them every step of the way. However watch out for a new review on vodaphone and how wonderful they have been**************
Ooh, I've just signed up for O2 Simplicity one month contract... this makes me nervous! I've heard good things about this particular tarrif and I can always cancel with 30 days notice, so no waving any contract in my face! I had similar problems with 3 mobile, being 'trapped' in a contract- well, I took it to Otelo! Go you.
shazzy1967 28.04.2006 12:16
Great Review! I've had the same problem with several personal accounts I hold with them for my family. I'm slowly closing them all due to the shoddy service! Well done you!
PrincessMoo 01.02.2006 11:43
We have had similar problems. I find O2's service utterly sickening. We too have had the contract waved in our face and have literally been told that we were trapped with them! Horrible horrible service. I'll be writing a review very soon. I hope you do take o2 to Court, they are a big Company so think they can get away with literally stealing customers money. They need to be shown that they can't get away with it! Great review by the way! Hannah.