Customer Service Gone Wrong – Or Right?

Would anyone be surprised if I said that, in large customer service teams, the left hand doesn’t know what the right one is doing? Although clearly frustrating, this can sometimes work out in our favour. Which is why I will always keep a (fond?) memory of upgrading my mobile phone contract this year.

It started with a scam. Yet another one! I know… Haven’t I been lucky nowadays?? For those who haven’t followed my blog recently: over the past couple of weeks there was an attempt to hack my Facebook account and I was subjected to fashion modelling scam. Third time lucky? Yes, the saying proved to be right: scam No 3 got me a new phone!

The guy: 'What the hell??'
The guy on the right: ‘What the hell??’

To cut the long story short, last Friday I got a spam text message followed by a spam e-mail claiming to be from my mobile operator, Vodafone. I decided not to ignore it – just in case it was genuine. After all, knowing my track record, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that someone had bought the latest iPhone on my credit card! As I was on the phone to Vodafone anyway, they decided to talk me through my upgrade options.

This is when the fun begins.


After my call No 1, upgrade agreed. I got a confirmation message (No 1) to let me know my order was processed and would shortly be dispatched.

Happy days.


Text No 2: the item was out of stock. I wanted a black phone, while they only had it in white. Oh well, I can live with that. I made phone call No 2 to let them know I changed my mind about the colour. They were happy to oblige, so minutes later message No 3 confirmed my updated order.

Oh no. The last letter in the post code was wrong! Call No 3 to sort this out. No worries, they updated it for me. Or so they said.

At this point, my husband raised his eyebrow: ‘How many times do you need to call these idiots?’ I reassured him that I would not have to call again, and my phone would arrive on Tuesday.

Yeah, right.


Text No 4 happily confirmed that my phone had been dispatched… to the same wrong address. I was reluctant to follow my other half’s advice and leave it for Vodafone to sort out. Somehow I didn’t fancy the thought of my phone going to someone else. What a mess…

Needless to say: call No 4. This time I got to speak to a nice guy, very helpful, understanding and friendly. A tad too friendly, perhaps. While waiting for him to complete the ever so long redirection form, I expanded my geographical knowledge – a lot! He was a half-Romanian living in Egypt. It is, apparently (and admittedly), a very beautiful country. Have I heard of Sharm El Sheikh? Yes, I have. It is, apparently, a magnificent place. And it is so nice to lie on the beach at the Red Sea. And so cheap. I got to know how much a restaurant bill for two costs over there. Now, that got me interested, so, in turn, I asked about hotel prices… Which is when my husband’s eyebrow shot up again in disapproving dismay. ‘Don’t flirt with that man!’, he snarled.

Clearly a very bored customer services agent!

So, he updated my order – again, but advised me to call on Tuesday morning. Why?? Just to make sure the phone was still in the depot and they have received the address change information. This didn’t prove to be necessary.


First thing in the morning: message No 5. My parcel will be delivered between 9.45 and 10.45 by a driver called Martin. Yupee! By clicking on the provided link I could see exactly where on the map he was – and he was heading for the right direction! He was currently on delivery No 7, and mine was No 19. One and a half hour away from me.

A minute later I received message No 6. As requested, my delivery was changed to the following day, Wednesday. What?? I didn’t request this! Plus, I was going to London on a training that day, which meant I wouldn’t get my phone until Thursday.

Needless to say, I called the delivery company straightaway. Call No…. I lost track now! 5.

Why is it that my blood started boiling – any ideas?? I was calmly reassured that my parcel would be delivered on the following date. Which is obviously not what I wanted! Apparently, even if only one letter of the post code is wrong, they treat this as a change of address, and according to their policies, this incurs a 24-hour delay. I tried to argue, but this was against any rules, regulations, and, effectively, against the whole world order.

Frustrated? Not beginning to describe it!

In the meantime, I cheekily clicked on the tracking link provided in the original confirmation e-mail. Only to see the driver approaching my location. He was on parcel No 15, half an hour away. He must turn back, surely, as he has been told not to deliver my freaking phone just yet. There was no reference to a postponed delivery date there – obviously they hadn’t updated the website.

Why did this take over my thoughts that morning and distracted me from work? Makes you wonder!

I sneakily checked the link shortly after. Martin was now 15 minutes away, really close to me. This time there was a fat red message confirming that delivery wasn’t until the following day. What the hell?

If you are still with me, you must have guessed what happened after all. Yes, he did deliver my phone – on the original day, Tuesday, rather than the newly ‘arranged’ Wednesday.

Happy end. What about the frustration and wasted time, though? Or is this irrelevant, as I got what I wanted? Got my phone, after all. Six messages and five phone calls latet.

Oh, and Egypt is now definitely on my to-visit list!

P.S. I did ask the customer service agent if he was getting paid by a travel agency to advertise Egypt. He wasn’t. Or so he said!


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