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Useless, useless, O2 | by James Cridland
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Useless, useless, O2

Presenting... my new business mobile phone: an O2 XDA Mini S. It's rubbish: but more of that later. First, O2's customer service.


Oh, my God. Up until now I'd been a customer of Orange since it launched, with a short unfaithful affair with Virgin Mobile. While Orange are a shadow of their original loveliness, O2 really takes the biscuit in crappy, crappy, customer service.


First, this is my business mobile phone. I can't receive or send picture messages, and I have a legitimate business requirement to do both. The O2 contract is dealt with by head office in Scotland, but my only contact is with our own office in London.


So, I ask the people in London to get picture messaging working on my phone. They ring Scotland. Scotland rings O2. I get a direct call from O2's customer services. I explain the problem ("It says 'user barred' when I try to send an MMS, and sends me a text message when I receive an MMS asking me to log onto a website."). They promise to send me the settings to correctly send an MMS message. I point out that I'm running an O2 phone and that I've checked the preset settings on their website. They say they'll send me the settings. "How will this help when my account is not set up to allow me to even receive picture messages?" They say they'll send me the settings, and that somehow it will. "Will the email have your contact details on it?" Yes, I'm assured.


The email arrives, from a send-only email address which has no contact details. It contains "How to send a picture message" from my phone. That's not, in any sense, 'settings', and not, in any sense, relevant to my enquiry.


Instead of wasting my team's time who'll then have to ring Scotland to ring O2, I look on O2's website to discover the customer services number, and ring it. "Please enter your mobile phone number," says the machine. I do. It tells me that for my account, please "ring the number on the last invoice". I don't sign off the invoices. I have no such number.


I email London, who email Scotland, who reply to tell me that it is now being provisioned on my account and that it'll work in 24 hours.


I try sending a picture message 24 hours later. I get the above message.


Clearly it's an impossible task for O2 to suitably understand a chinese whisper via our London and Scotland offices; or clearly it's impossible for them to understand a simple request to switch on a service that will inevitably mean that they will earn more money. I have no idea which, but I'm bored trying to find out.


(Please don't send me picture messages any more, not that anyone does anyway.)


[Disclaimer: I am responsible for a unconnected business relationship with O2, and have enjoyed some hospitality from the company.]

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Taken on January 5, 2007