A Numbers Game

Over the past couple of weeks I have undergone a long-overdue technology upgrade.

First I replaced my aging Dell Dimension PC with a sleek new HP Pavilion. This upgrade was simplicity itself: I had done some research around the internet and was all set to buy a new Dell when I wandered into Comet in Gloucester and saw the HP. It was similarly priced and equalled or bettered the spec, so I bought it, tucked it under my arm and headed home. Of course setting it all up and getting all of my software re-installed was a different matter, but the purchase transaction was painless.

My second upgrade was my phone. I finally traded up from my beloved pay-as-you-go Nokia 6300 to a HTC Desire S on contract. This transaction was less painless and the main difference was that I did it on-line.

It all started when my wife decided to change her contract. We were in the T-Mobile shop in Gloucester and whilst I was waiting for her to get sorted out I was looking around. As is the way with mobile phone shops, I had plenty of time. I had been humming and ha-ing about getting a smart phone for some time, but never seemed to be able to justify the cost of a contract, but during the interminable wait I decided that I really rather liked the HTC Desire. I asked the sales assistant about contract prices and it didn’t seem that bad.

I am a cautious soul, however, so I did not make a snap decision there and then. No, I went home and did some research. What did people say about the phone? How did the price compare with other providers? Having done the research I decided that both the phone and the T-Mobile contract looked like a good choice.  The problem was, I couldn’t be bothered to go back into town: far easier to do it on-line.

So I filled in all of the details. My only concern was about delivery as I work in the day, so I rang them to see if delivery could be made to my parents house. No, it could only go to the billing address, but not to worry, I could sort out a suitable delivery time with the delivery company. Job done.

The problem was, the delivery company, as is the way with delivery companies, was far less flexible than suggested. They could deliver any weekday I liked, but only between 10:00 and 12:00. Not useful.

I rang back T-Mobile, cancelled the delivery and told them I would have to cancel the order. Magically they were now able to deliver to my parents. On the first try this message didn’t get through and they tried again to deliver it to my house. On the second attempt it went to the right address – just a few hours later than advised at 3:00pm. Never mind, I now finally have the phone, albeit a week later than planned.

Excited I opened the glossy packaging, removed the sleek, shiny new phone, inserted the sim provided and fired it up. I wanted to transfer my old number to the phone, but that would have to wait until tomorrow, but for now I could start the long job of setting the phone up as I want it, transferring contacts, etc.

The next day I rang to transfer my number. The assistant in the T-Mobile shop had assured me that this was easy to do and they would do it right away – it turns out that it is not so easy if you are not in the shop.

Apparently, when I ordered the phone on-line, there was a box I should have ticked to say I wanted to keep my old number. I didn’t see that. Now I have the contract in a new number it is too late to transfer my old number across. The very pleasant and helpful lady on the T-Mobile customer services phone line explained that if my current contract was with a different company I could do it – I’d simply get a PAC code and they’d do the transfer – but this was not possible for an existing T-Mobile number. What I could do, she suggested, was transfer my number to another provider, then get it transferred back again. That’s ridiculous, surely!

So I decided that was far too much hassle – I’d just have to get used to the new number. But wait… a while back I had a whole load of business cards printed. I got a bit carried away with the special offer and now have so many that if I gave one to everyone I ever met, every time I met them, they would still outlast my lifetime. And, of course, they all have my old mobile phone number on them. Damn, I really am going to have to keep the number.

So I rang T-Mobile for the PAC code. First though I thought I’d try one last time to find a more sane solution. I spoke to another very pleasant and helpful lady, who this time suggested it would be quicker and easier to cancel my new contract and set up another one on my existing sim card using my existing number. They would then send me a new phone, I could transfer the sim across and all would be well.

Wait, what? Why do they need to send a new phone? Surely I could just transfer the sim card into the phone they have already sent me and simply throw away the sim card with the new unwanted number? No, I would need a new phone and post the old one back to them. And then, of course, start the long job of setting it up all over again. More madness.

The upshot is that, finally, 2 weeks later, I have what I want: a shiny new phone with the trusty old number – but surely there’s an easier way!

Yes there is, go to the shop in town…


About Darrel Kirby

I am what I am.
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