Sunday, March 14, 2010

cellphone wars

Cellphones are expensive, but so necessary.  I wonder how we managed years ago when we had to depend on pay phones to tell someone we'll be late, or make impulsive, last minute arrangements with friends and relatives.  How inconvenient it all was, trying to find that quarter or whatever the cost was then.  But my cellphone bill has been expensive of late and so I called up the competitor of my current cell provider. 

There are three major cellphone companies in Israel, Cellcom, Pelephone and Orange.  I got a much better offer from the competitor, after complaining about my current cellphone provider so after a week or so, I got on the phone with my current provider and told them about the offer. Can they match it?  Closely.  They connected me with a special department called Customer Retention or something like that.  I would get a new phone at 50% of the cost.  I complained that their competitor offered me a free one.  OK - then they'll give me a free one too.  Wow.  It sounded so easy!

I went to their service store and waited nearly an hour to be seated with one of their reps.  They wrote my number down on a piece of paper. I was number 218.  Number 211 flashed on the screen but there was no customer.  They probably got impatient and left.  I could have been crafty and written the number 211 on the other side of the paper to be promptly seated - but I'm too American.  Or Canadian.  I'll wait my turn, the way civilized people are apt to do.  I finally got my turn. 

The sales rep gets my phone number and asks me questions.

"How much did they offer you?"

I asked - "Isn't it on the computer?"

"Yes, but you're a special case from the retention department.  What exactly did they promise you?" 

I told him.

"Yes, you're right" he says - obviously regaining his eyesight, as what they promised was probably on the computer screen all along.  I couldn't figure out why they were playing this game.

About 5 minutes into this, a woman comes over to me with a typed up survey in her hand - asking me how the service is and how is the sales rep I'm talking to?

"Isn't it odd that you're asking me how is he when I'm right in front of him?|

"Give me a 10" said the sales rep to me.

"Ok, I'll give you a 10, but if I find that you're saying 'ok' to whatever was agreed on the phone and I get a totally different, more expensive, bill, I'm coming back to rate you a 1."

"Don't worry.  The new rate will show up on your bill."

The new rate didn't show up on what I signed, and after I questioned him, he said it was standard.  I'll get the new rate on my next bill because I was a "special" case.

"So in case you're lying to me, how long am I contracted to you?

"18 months"

Fine. That's better than the more common 3 year contract.  If they're a bunch of liars, I'll use my phone minimally and pay the minimum charge and after 18 months switch to another provider. 

1 comment:

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

a metaphor?