Monday, April 02, 2007

Phone moan

Someone once said, "Even a paranoid can have enemies." It was Henry Kissinger. It appears that some of my enemies are the purveyors of telecommunications services. That's right: mobile phone operators and their various lackeys. And just for once, It-Is-a-Lot isn't at the top of the list.

Vodafone UK is. I have had the same UK mobile phone account since 1998. Originally I left the SIM card in Britain while abroad, but later brought it with me so that I had international roaming access, as not provided by It-Is-a-Lot. I used to have full international roaming with my old Q-Tel account, so the absence of roaming didn't become a problem until I relocated to the UAE.

Last year I didn't put the Vodafone SIM card into a handset for a year, and then last May I was astonished to discover when I did that it worked fine, and that there was some remaining credit. There followed a series of calls to Vodafone's helpdesk to establish that I could in fact use the account in the UAE. Once I got back to the Lands of the Sand I discovered Vodafone's evil subterfuge. They had failed to lift the barring of international calls and initially refused to divulge the barring password. Then, when it STILL didn't work, Vodafone confessed that there was (allegedly) no roaming agreement with It-Is-a-Lot. Funny that; the handset connected to the network OK. It's just that I couldn't make calls.

Now I discover that owing to inactivity, my account had been terminated and the number recycled. Did they email me first? Did they phone me on the alternative number? Guess. Go on; you'll never guess. And what of my outstanding credit? "We have no record if this, but will 'as a gesture of goodwill' allow you £5 credit on your new Pay As You Yack". How benevolent. How unutterably arrogant!

The issue of the lack of international roaming access on my DU account remains as yet unresolved. The promised return call withing 48 hours has failed to materialise after more than a week, despite numerous calls to Customer Support. And DU persists in deactivating my voice mail. It's been switched off by DU's robot four times now, in as many weeks.

Still on the subject of DU, but now related to my other bête noire: Red Triangles Bank. I have learned that SMS alerts are only possible to It-Is-a-Lot. Red Triangles' terms and conditions specify that SMS alerts of bank account activity can only be sent to UAE mobile phones. But not DU ones, it appears. And no, the Triangles have no idea when it will be possible for the Bank's computer to dial 055- instead of 050-.

According to RTB, "We acknowledge receiving your feedback and would like to extend our appreciation at having devoted customers such as your esteemed self. As a result of your feedback, [RTB] is continuously striving to improve its services and ensure clientele satisfaction." They seem to have forgotten the [IRONY] tags.

Maybe I should give up on mobile technology, keep my money in an old sock under the mattress and go back to banging rocks together.


roam4free said...

You could buy a roam4free sim :-)
Totally free to receive calls in UAE.

Grumpy Goat said...

It might receive calls for nuppence, but making calls costs a wallet-crippling Dh2 per minute.

CG said...

My experience of voda-uk is that if you do not use your sim card for a year then you find yourself disconnected. BUT if you send an sms from the phone then this will keep it valid (yes, even when roaming won't work). And when you send the sms it shows the uk number, so if you are feeling particularly sneaky, like you don't feel like going in to work after your holiday, then send an sms to your boss from your uk sim card saying that your flight has been delayed, even if you are sprawled out on a beach in Jumeirah....hehe

Restless in Dubai said...

This new Du Dilemma created such a mess for our company, we had to update our records for 10 years back. On the other hand I am enjoying the pay-by-the-second calls. I enjoy your blog GG.

And lol at the Red Triangles Bank...



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