Monday, October 18, 2010

A Test - Customer Service or Not? An iPhone repair in NZ.

Over recent months I've had the opportunity to use some Apple kit. I've had an iPad for a couple of months (actually writing this post on it), have had a MacBook Pro for a month or so and for the past couple of weeks an iPhone 4. Lucky me!

Now, the iPhone has a Vodafone plan (so does the iPad). I bought it from the Vodafone online store. Everything about the iPhone is great but for 2 things.

1. The 3G coverage seems pretty average at best to me - this is partly due to the fact I work in a concrete bunker and coverage is poor anyway, but it just seems to me that in other places coverage just drops off for no apparent reason. This is a problem for a phone!

2. But the bigger issue is actually the iPhone 4 camera app - just doesn't work. Now there are plenty of instances of this recorded on the Internet - just thought they would have sorted this out by now. Seems that this is not the case. I've tried all suggested fixes - none work - the app/hardware combo for me is just not working.

And this of course is where it gets interesting. Who will I contact for support? - to me it's clear that there is a known issue here that Apple is hiding from. But the phone is sold via Vodafone locally.

So - with trepidation I head to Vodafone's website - find the link for support and am advised to contact a Vodafone store. The website gives me a list of stores and so I contact a store not far from where I work. "Ah, you need to contact Apple support" I'm told. Somehow I knew this is what I'd be told.

I call Apple support - presumably in Australia, but certainly not NZ - and after describing symptoms and the fact that resetting the phone has had no effect I get "please hold while I talk to my supervisor". To me this means - "ah! Another one. Replacement likely required, but I'm not authorized to say so." Two minutes later I'm told I need a new phone - but this needs to come from the Vodafone online store - fair enough. I ask for, and receive, a job # from Apple.

So - back to Vodafone. I call their help desk - because that's what the website said to do. I explain the problem. "You need to contact the online store" I'm told.

At this stage my customer service experience is exactly what I expected it to be - most unsatisfactory. No one at Vodafone will take responsibility here.

I call the online store - get told that I need to take the phone to a store and they will send it in for repair/replacement. Somehow I think I've gone full circle here. At any rate I've wasted an hour of my time at this stage, but off I go to a store - explain the issue and they take the phone to send away. 5 working days I'm told before it will be repaired.

I ask for a credit to my account for the lost time - "you'll have to take that up with the online store" I'm told. I can't be bothered trying to argue with someone who can't affect anything. I'll deal to this if and when I get the phone back.

I wonder after the now 2 hours I've wasted on this how many other poor people have been put through this run around - it seems unbelievable that today I get shunted from Vodafone to Apple to Vodafone - and then to various sections within Vodafone with no accountability anywhere. This is crap with a capital CRAP.

I look forward to
1. Getting a phone that works.
2. Seeing how I get on for some compensation for loss of access.

By the way - on the reception at the Vodafone is a sign offering a replacement phone - I was not offered this as an option. Not that I wanted it - but just a further indication that this company doesn't understand customer service.

Let's see what happens over the next week - I'm not expecting things to go well. And my perception of Vodafone NZ is not good.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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