I always like to write up a review of a store or company that I’ve had issues with, just to make sure my situation is not only available so other people will have some kind of warning if they search for said company. But it’s also a nice documented take on how shoddy customer service can get in some businesses.
As I’ve said previously I have been looking through cell phones to replace the iPhone 3GS that I still have from AT&T until next month, as well as the Blackberry Bold 9700 that I’m using through O2 on a Pay-As-You-Go plan. (Why AT&T hasn’t figured out to let people have Blackberries on pay-as-you-go there is beyond me. That’s a ton of teenage customers they’re missing out on who would gladly spend their allowance money for a smartphone.)
Anyway, I finally decided on the HTC Sensation but the charge of the handset was just too pricey. O2 wanted about £104 for a £21.50 per month plan and Phones4U wanted £19.99 for the £21.50 plan. Now, I’ve used Wirefly in the U.S. a few times and I’ve never had an issue with their phones or service, so I naively assumed that Phones4U was the same sort of company. They have branches all over as well as their online store so I figured it would be okay to order the cheaper phone from them. (Interestingly, I just discovered that Wirefly no longer supports AT&T products.)
I ordered my phone late Friday night and received the first email saying,
your order with Phones 4u…has now been received and is currently being processed…Once all required checks have been completed you will receive an email to confirm that they have been successfully processed. Once your goods have been despatched you will receive a further email to confirm that they have been despatched.Less than an hour and a half later I received this email,
Your order has now been successfully processed. Your order will be despatched shortly. As soon as it leaves Phones4u we will send you an email to confirm that it has been despatched.Granted I knew that it was Friday and the Bank Holiday Weekend was coming up so they wouldn’t be able to send anything within 48 hours. Over the weekend I looked up “Phones4U reviews” and low and behold, they have terrible ratings. I decided to cancel the phone and order from O2. However, after calling Phones4U who said “oh, yes, the cancelation department is open today (on Bank Holiday Monday), I was in a hold queue for 40+ minutes only to be told “oh no, this department isn’t open, I’m just answering phones to advise people to call tomorrow.” Because a voice message would be too complex, I’m sure.
Today when I called, I was put in another long hold queue except someone actually answered this time. They said “oh, well, your phone was already send on the Saturday so you’ll have to send it back once you get this return envelope that we’ll send out and it will take 3 days to get that.” I tried to do the online chat to reason with someone and said, “look, I’m sure it’s not dispatched already, can’t you just cancel this without the whole sending and returning business?” I got this response,
Simona N says:Yup, that’s the rudeness that I’ve heard about online from Phones4U reviews. So, you can tell that the phone was shipped but you couldn’t have sent an email out? I’m sure that’s not true at all, but I’ll play along. If it shows up, I’ll return it in their little envelope and keep hold of the shipping info. Nothing’s been charged to my account, yet, so as long as they don’t try to charge me for anything now that I’ve given the magic “cancel” word, I won’t be too fussed.
I believe that you have discussed the cancellation process with an accounts manager who has explained how it works and what to expect. I have also explained to you how it works and what to expect on this chat twice - the handset will be sent to you and then we will send a returns bag that has been requested today. There may be a delay with sending emails to customers regarding despatch information due to Bank Holiday Monday that we just had. I am sorry that you have not received one.
My guess is they’ll ship it now that I’ve tried to cancel because when I called them they tried to talk me out of cancelling and even asking if anyone in my household could just take on the contract instead. Sheesh. I feel bad for those people who have to work like that and try to swindle people each day.
Anyway, my shiny new HTC Sensation that was ordered from O2 on Sunday is on its way. The customer service over the phone, in store and through online chat was way more responsive and helpful than Phones4U has been. So sorry I didn’t just shell out the cash to O2 in the first place. They’ve texted me about the phone being dispatched, even had me chose which day and time the phone was delivered.
Not every company can be perfect but, as the review say, “avoid Phones4U like the plague.” The phone would probably have broke in a few days if I’d used it anyway. Just glad I figured this out before I started using the thing and was sunk.
UPDATE: 9:30PM. O2 didn't get my phone delivered through Home Delivery Service by 9PM as they said they would. Now I get to sit at home for a second day waiting on a stupid package. Fabulous. Remind me to go to a store and order a new phone next time, would you?
UPDATE: 10:30AM. Glory be! The Crooks4U phone arrived but the O2 phone is still floating around somewhere. Just FYI: If O2 gives you a Yodel parcel number that starts with JD, you can call 08442480561 to get a hold of someone who can phone the driver and see where your package is. They're open until 9PM.
Yup, still waiting...