Sep 08 2008
A lot has been said of O2 and its customer service in recent times, and sadly I’ve become just another number who has borne the brunt of O2’s lack of respect for its customers and lack of interest in its customers problems.
My issue is slightly different to others. It does not relate to the iPhone, it does not have anything to do with dropped calls or billing issues, it’s not even regarding a phone at all.
A few months back, I purchased a new iMac Computer at the O2 Experience Store on the lower end of Grafton Street (opposite Marks & Spencers). The transaction was relatively painless and within 20 minutes of arriving back at the office, I had the beautiful Mac unpacked, up and running and on the network.
A couple of months later, we encounter a small problem. CD’s keep getting stuck in the drive. There’s a few things we tried (as advised by Apple after-care) such as restarting the computer, holding down certain keys in sequence, using the eject option from iTunes rather than the desktop. Some of these worked sometimes, but it was quickly clear that there was a problem.
I returned to the O2 Experience Store and explained my problem. They said they had encountered it before and if I just brought the Mac in to them, they would send it off for repair. All sounded simple enough. They said repair would take up to 10 days. I therefore waited another week before bringing the Mac in to them, so repair would coincide with the month’s holiday the person who uses the Mac was taking (i.e. the month of August).
Firstly, the repair did not take up to 10 days. It took 16 days. This is obviously not a major problem, but it the interest of a full story, I thought it best to include it. I collected it towards the end of my working day on Friday 29th August and brought it back to the office.
On Monday morning, bright and early, I returned to work and went to set the machine back up in time for the boss’s return (he is the Mac user). Lo and behold, the power cable was missing. Now, I know I gave them the power cable when I left it in for repair. I know this because a) I’m not stupid and b) I have an O2 docket confirming same. I immediately hopped on to the O2 website to try locate the telephone number of the O2 Experience Store. It was not available (at least, not obvious to me). I had a similar problem when consulting the phone book. So, being that I work in Dublin’s city centre I just walked over to Grafton Street (documentation in hand) to get my power cable.
The store was closed. Yes, they had decided to close for renovations. A sign on the door directed me to the other O2 Store on Grafton Street (I am aware this is not an Experience Store and doesn’t stock Macs, so I knew this was going to cause problems for me).
I went up to the Store (50 Grafton Street). It too was closed with a sign saying they were closed temporarily due to maintenance issues. From what I could see, they were unable to open the security shutters. Frustrated, I returned to the office.
Later on the Monday I returned to the O2 Store. There were five members of staff dealing with customers. Not one of them acknowledged me to say they ‘would be with me shortly’ etc. Instead, I approached one of the after 15 minutes, with the intention of asking when the best time to return would be. He cut me off mid-sentence and said he was busy with someone else. Duly chastised, I stepped back again and waited. After another 12 minutes (total of 27 minutes standing without even a nod from a staff member) a female staff member came over to me. I explained my problem in detail. It may be worth pointing out that she was foreign and struggled with what I was asking. She ran off upstairs to see if they had the power cable. It didn’t seem likely to me but she went to check anyway.
After 10 further minutes, she returned to say the cable wasn’t there and I should try the Experience Store when it reopened. She then walked off to serve another customer. I quickly called her back and made it clear this was unacceptable as we needed to computer for business. She said that they don’t sell power cables in that store and she could not help me. I pushed further, looking for someone to help me, but she said that it was “not her problem“. I felt this was completely unacceptable and asked for the manager. She went away upstairs again and returned to say there was one of the O2 Experience Store staff members dealing with any queries while the store was closed and she would ask him to ring me when he was in, which would be in an hour’s time. I accepted this, gave her my details and number and returned to the office.
I’m sure you won’t be hugely surprised to know that I did not receive the promised phone call. Nor did I get any call on Tuesday. I was unable to get over to the store on Tuesday due to work commitments. I did, however, return to the store on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning I rang O2 Customer Care (an oxymoron). I was, it should be said, not left on hold for any lengthy period of time before reaching a human voice. I explained my situation and they tried to ring the O2 Experience Store, despite my telling them it was closed. They had no luck and recommended I go into an O2 Store. Unhelpful as this was, it did force me to look through the documentation for the repair and I noticed it had a letterhead for Mactivate in Blachardstown. These are the people who repair Apple products for O2. So, I tried ringing them and explained my issue once again. Their first response was that I should contact the O2 Experience Store as they would have shipped everything to them, including the power cable. Again, I reiterated that the store was closed. They put me back on hold and when they came back to me, they said that they would look into it further, but they were sure they had sent everything back to the store. They too suggested I contact another O2 Store.
So, back to 50 Grafton Street. Once again, I was left waiting for over 25 minutes before anyone addressed me. I did not make the mistake of approaching one of the staff for fear of further chastisement. I did, in my time in the store, witness two other customers being snapped at by the same man who did not wish to speak to me on Monday. One woman just wanted to ask where she could buy a charger. He literally told her to “go away – I’m busy“. I directed her to the Vodafone shop next door.
Eventually Dinko (according to his name badge) became free. I, once again, explained my problem and he went upstairs looking for my power cable, despite my telling him the girl had already checked on Monday. He returned and said it wasn’t there. I told him that I was aware of this and he said there was nothing more he could do for me and I would have to wait for the O2 Experience Store to reopen. I was not prepared to accept this. I asked to speak with the manager. He went upstairs again.
After 10 further minutes of waiting (I was approaching 45 minutes in the O2 store at this stage), Dinko returned with a guy in a very wrinkled shirt and no tie. He introduced himself to me as the manager, Shane, and told me they didn’t stock power cable for laptops(???). I was becoming very irate at this stage, as clearly Dinko had not properly relayed my problem to him. I tried again to explain my issue and he too uttered the dreadful phrase – “it’s not my problem”. My voice was definitely raised at this point and he repeated again that I would have to wait for the Experience Store to reopen and he couldn’t help me. He walked away from me and became extremely infuriated, saying that he must be able to point me in the right direction for getting my problem sorted, even if they could not do anything in-store.
At this point, a more senior looking individual (apologies for the stereotype but he was wearing a suit, tie and looked clean cut) approached me and asked me what the problem was. He introduced himself to me as the store manager, Garreth. This left me wondering why Shane had been lying to me about being the store manager and just angered me further.
Now, I tend to be very good at keeping my cool when having to explain myself a number of times, so I took a deep breath and started from the beginning. I gave Garreth all my information and told him of my issues with ‘his’ staff, O2 Customer Care and Mactivate. He once again said that he could do nothing for me and I would have to wait until the Experience Store reopened (sensing a theme?). He also said that everyone from the Experience Store was away on holidays, every single member of staff. This is despite the fact that the girl I spoke with on Monday told me that there was a member of staff from the Experience Store who was dealing with any issues arising from their close. I told him I could not accept this and I wanted to speak with the area manager, or whoever was over the Experience Store. He would not give me a number to call and began spouting the “you must ring Customer Care” line. Again, I told him that I had contacted both Customer Care and Mactivate but they both told me to go into the store.
He gave in and went off to ring Mactivate (I was in earshot and could hear that he did try to get to the bottom of it). Eventually, they said that someone would contact me later in the day or early on Thursday. Garreth gave me his number and a contact name in Mactivate (Gerry) and told me if Mactivate did not help me out, I should call him back and he would look into it further. Finally, it seemed someone was giving me some help with my problem.
No, I did not receive any phone call from Mactivate. So, I rang them myself on Thursday and tried to get to the root of the problem. At first they were adamant that the O2 Experience Store were at fault and I needed to deal with O2. When I rang back later, they said they would be willing to supply me with a power cable but I would have to arrange collection from Blanchardstown. At this stage I was so furious and irritated by the whole stupid debacle that I accepted this and said a courier would collect the cable on Friday morning.
So, I have a working Mac now, at expense to me and I await some form of response from O2. I am not holding my breath.