Skip to main content

How to Lose a Mobile Phone Customer

I recently upgraded my mobile phone to this very modern Nokia E63 (pictured right). At the same time I changed my phone carrier to Virgin Mobile. It cost me nothing up front and the new plan I'm on is far better than the plan my previous mobile carrier imposed upon me as part of 'upgrading their billing system'.

This article is actually a sequel to an article I wrote just over two years ago titled Forgotten by my Phone Company. In that article from April 2007 I described how my phone company *cough* AAPT *cough* failed to upgrade my very old mobile phone (a Nokia 2100, pictured left) when my contract ran out - like they had the previous contract.

How to Lose a Mobile Phone Customer

Step 1: Double your monthly service access fee.

Fast forward to November of 2008 and I get a letter from my phone company explaining that they will be upgrading their billing system over the next few months and as part of that I'll be switched over to a new monthly plan called '$15 Access'.

I thought very little of it, though I did notice that the new plan more than doubles my monthly service access fee from AU$8.95 to AU$19.50. Which is about what I used to pay when I was paying off the handset in my first contract. Hence, I'm too lazy to change plans and assume my bill will be AU$19.50 each month instead of AU$8.95 as it previously had been for most of the last two years - except for months where I actually made a call.

I'm not a big phone user but I do use SMS text messaging quite a bit. My original plan included AU$20.00 of call credit which I rarely exceeded except, as I said, if I actually made a call.

Step 2: Offer no new services and fail to upgrade the customer's phone.

For a long time I've wanted one of those flash new phones with tons of features that have little to do with making a phone call but lots to do with communication and productivity. Why? Because I'm the kind of person who uses all those features. Digital camera, Digital Video Camera, MP3 players, Mobile Internet access, MMS messaging etc. etc. You can't do any of that on a Nokia 2100 handset.

Mid way through 2008 I got my hands on my partner's old Samsung SGH-E370 mobile phone (pictured right) which is capable of all of the things I listed above but, since my phone company didn't offer me any new services or a new phone, none of this was available to me. It's like having legs that work but you're not allowed to use them.

The Samsung phone wasn't that great. The video was small and too slow and the photos weren't that high a quality either. Great for music but because it had a non standard head phone jack I couldn't get a head set to fit unless I wanted to splash out for a specific set from Samsung (nope). So I couldn't really use it as a personal MP3 player.

3. Raise your call fees and lower your customer's monthly credit.

Like I said earlier I text message a lot. Mostly to my partner. Despite this I rarely, if ever went above my $20/month credit from text messages alone. However my phone company raised the cost of a text message from AU$0.23 cents to AU$0.25 cents and lowered my monthly credit to AU$15/month (hence the plan name $15 Access). Suddenly I'm exceeding my credit limit by a lot, every month.

4. Change your billing period so that unbilled charges from previous months constantly appear on the current months bill.

I literally don't understand how upgrading your billing system and changing to a six week billing period can cause this much problem but it did. In June of this year I received a bill that included new charges totalling more than AU$72.00 - WTF!! That's quite a jump from $19.50 per month.

That particular bill contained a whole list of charges not available at the time of my previous bill. What's worse is that these charges come with the statement:

"These calls were not included on your last bill. You made these calls in the last 90 days and we've just been told about them. Sorry we didn't know about them in time for your last bill"

Oh. That's okay then? NOT!! I'm not disputing I made the calls but come on. You're not helping my cash flow at all by lumping all these charges together and expecting payment within 14 days.

My next bill they give me a $20 credit for reasons I still don't know why and the total bill is only $5.00. Nice but then they follow up with a $49.00 bill that contains a bunch of calls from the previous month with the same apology... you get the picture. My cash flow is not looking healthy at all.


I did end up paying the $72 bill but it was at about that point that my phone company lost me. See that shiny new phone at the top of this article. I got that for AU$20.00 per month with $50 call credit including 5MB of internet data downloads per month, free text messaging and calls from Virgin to Virgin phones (which my partner has) and I get all the features of the phone I've wanted for ages. I used it to film my first solo exhibition with (see video below).



Being a heavy internet user I decided to pay an extra $5.00 to get 50MB of internet data downloads per month.

To add a few more nails to the coffin here's how you lose a customer forever...

5. Let your customer service people tell the customer they have no outstanding balance then send a bill for $49 that includes charges not owed by the customer.

Yes that's right. This company billed me for a charge that I didn't owe on a final bill that I didn't know I'd be getting (and neither did they apparently) because, you guessed it... it contains charges they didn't know about before my previous bill.

In the process of transferring my number to my new service I rang my old phone company and specifically asked two questions. The first was would it cost me anything to transfer my number? Answer: 'No'. The second was would I be getting another bill? Answer: 'No because my account had a zero balance'.

You can imagine my surprise at receiving a $49.00 bill that included a $13.00 'unbundling' fee because I transferred my mobile service to another provider.

When I queried this with their customer service people they said the fee is usually applied to people who have more than one service on their bill. You know, those deals where you 'bundle' your home phone, internet and mobile service into the one bill.

I've only ever had one service on my bill in five years of being with this company. My mobile phone service. To the customer service person's credit they did remove this off my bill saying it was a fault with their new billing structure but if I hadn't contacted them?


This has been a very long venting article for me. However, let this serve as feedback for any phone company that chooses to listen. It actually takes a lot to lose some customers. If you're like me, you don't want to be bothered with who's got the best deal from month to month. You just want a phone that works and doesn't cost the earth to maintain.

Some of us like to have all the latest features but we're not going to chase you to get them. If you want to keep us as a customer then learn that communication is a two way street. Make us feel like we matter to you and offer your existing customers the new deals and plans you've put together.

Comments

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Skateboard Trick Tips: Two Ways to Ollie North (Ollie One foot)

You have to be quick to see my Ollie Norths! Ollie One Foots, otherwise known as the Ollie North, is one of those skateboard tricks you learn and then tend not to do very much as more interesting trick challenges grab your attention. However it does look really cool if you learn how to kick your front foot well past the nose of your skateboard. Still shot from Braille Skateboarding's Ollie North tutorial. I was inspired to make my video below, showing two different techniques to achieve a successful Ollie One Foot, when I not only saw that Braille Skateboarding's Tutorial used a different method to the one I had learned but also, when I looked at various other video tutorials, I discovered yet another technique, with no one using the method I had originally learned. Braille's method is to simply Ollie and drag your front foot past the front of your board. The second method I came across in several video tutorials is to Ollie, drag your front foot and tap your

I'm Joining the Illuminati Brotherhood By Personal Invitation of Hiltom Rothschild... Wait, What?

How special am I to have finally come of age (53 years young) and am now eligible to participate in building the world alongside other members of the Illuminati Brotherhood... Yes I've received the call by way of an email, which I'm sure is real because I had to translate it from the Dutch language and it was personally written by Hiltom Rothschild, one of the non-existent members of the Rothschild family (or perhaps deep undercover because Google has never heard of them?). A Transcript of the email below: To: etourist From: Illuminati Brotherhood  Subject: Illuminati Broederschap (Illuminati Brotherhood) I am Hiltom Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild family, one of the 13 families of the Illuminati brotherhood. I'm here to let you know that you've come of age and are eligible to participate in building the 🌎 world. It is a calling and a privilege to honor him with pride and gratitude as not everyone will ever be chosen by the LIGHT, many are called but few are ch

Are Ion Thrusters the Future of Flying Cars? Spoiler - Probably Not But... Hover Boards... Maybe?

Undefined Technologies Ion Propulsion Drone prototype 3D concept image. You may have heard of Ion engines or, more likely, Ion thrusters. NASA uses them on their spacecraft to help maintain a craft's position or to propel them through space.  Upon hearing that you might think they're big, powerful engines, but actually they are not. They work well in the vacuum of space but, once any kind of atmosphere and gravity is involved they'd be hard pressed to launch you off the ground if you strapped four of them to your lawn chair and yelled "up, up, and away!" I am no expert on Ion thrusters - they're basically magic that science has an explanation for. If you want to know the details, The Space Techie website has a layman's explanation .  Build Your Own Ion Thruster Earth based Ion Thrusters work a bit different to their  space based cousins by Ionizing the same air that we breathe to create thrust (an effect known as Ionic-wind ).  While they sound highly soph

Book Review: Around Australia at 80ks by Meredith Schofield

A s someone who has written a travel diary about driving across three states of Australia , and owning a frog van that became very much a character in touring my own state of South Australia at sometimes well below 80ks, I have some affinity for Meredith Schofield's book, Around Australia at 80k's . I'll definitely tip my hat to Meredith and her husband Sean for going way further in a bright yellow, unairconditioned, mid 70's kombi van, than they were ever designed for.  Also kudos to them for traveling with their dog Bandit. My partner and I have also taken our dogs on our holiday adventures and, even though South Australia is likely the most dog friendly state in Australia, it's still a challenge planning a trip where you can all stay together. Particularly, your dog will keep you out of most national parks. Meredith's book is a road trip adventure across five Australian states, NSW, SA, WA, NT, and Victoria (technically four states and one territory I guess)

Porn Site Blackmail Scam - That Time a Scammer Contacted Me and What I Did

Have you received an email with a subject line or content that contains an actual password you use either currently or at some point in time (likely it's one you've been using for a few years)? The email claims that the sender has footage from your webcam of you visiting a porn site for some 'fun' and threatens to release that footage to all your contacts unless you pay a specified amount to a supplied Bitcoin account. It also mentions your password was obtained by installing malware on a porn streaming site that basically gave the sender access to your keystrokes, desktop, and webcam. I've received such an email twice now. I've posted the second below. The first email requested a deposit of US$7000 to said Bitcoin account. This time that number has gone down to $1000 (Rude! are they saying I can't afford $7000? Spoiler, I can't but, rude!). The actual email I received. Password changed just in case I'm still using it on some site I'

Movie Review: American Fiction (2023) *No Spoilers*

T helonious 'Monk' Ellison (Jeffrey Wright) is a relatively successful novelist, who just wants to write quality fiction, without feeding into the diversity market that wants to hear stereotypical, authentic stories from black authors.  Outraged that this type of black fiction sells incredibly well he writes his own stereotypical black fiction novel as a joke and sends it to a publisher under a pen name. He is shocked to discover that they love it with the book propelling him into a spotlight that he never imagined. That's the premise for American Fiction , a fairly low key, satirical commentary on the 'diversity industry' looking to broaden the types of voices being heard but channeling those voices into what the market thinks is authentic and real... i.e what sells. Jeffrey Wright is perfectly cast as an author who's maybe wound up a little too tight in his own idea of how things should be. While it is definitely satire it's not exactly a comedy, though i