Silas

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Why You Should Never Subscribe To 3 Telecom.

What follows was on-going argument/discussion with the mobile service 3. Sorry it's a bit long, but my initial amusement at the bad service has gone through confusion to outright anger.

I don't think I need to explain to you what has happened, as I think I make it quite clear in the text. Although given the number of emails I've had from them and not got any further, perhaps I may have been mistaken.

This is the email I sent to them on 03/11/05, regarding a sales call we'd received at work in October. Their parts are prefixed with ">" and my comments follow the paragraphs they refer to.

> "customer.services@3mail.com" wrote:
> Dear Jon
>
> Your dealer query
>
> Thank you for your email regarding the call
> that you received from the company Mango.
>
> If you are signed up with the Telephone
> Preference Service you should not receive
> any of these calls. I would recommend that
> you contact them and make them aware of any
> such calls that you get.

We have done and will continue to do so.

> I have checked our list of dealers and
> cannot find the dealer Mango, unless they
> trade under a different name.

I believe that they are also known as Mangotel (http://www.mangotel.co.uk/) for your future information. We also had a call last night from a company called Tulip UK (http://www.tulipplus.com/customer/home.php) who also claim to be providing contracts with your company.

Could you please CONFIRM that you have removed our company telephone number 020 XXXX XXXX from any database you have, as it seems you may have perhaps inadvertently provided our number to resellers.

Many thanks


Apart from an automated response, giving me a tracking number, I heard nothing. In order, these are the emails that have followed;

-----Original Message-----
From: silas@xxx.xxx
Sent: 24 Nov 05 10:09:27
To:
Subject: TRACKING NUMBER: A00000XXXXXX-0000XXXXXXX

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am still waiting for a response to the above tracking number.

Would it be too much to ask for a timely and apposite reply to my questions? I did send the mail on 03/11/05. I realise I'll get another automated response to this, but I would like this matter dealt with.

Many thanks in advance


Which was followed by an email that I HAD to reply to thusly;


-----Original Message-----
From: silas@xxx.xxx
Sent: 05 Dec 05 12:39:35
To:
Subject: RE: TRACKING NUMBER: A00000XXXXXX-0000XXXXXXX

> customer.services@3mail.com [mailto:customer.services@3mail.com] said;
> Dear Mr Blackburn,
>
> Thank you for your recent enquiry.

And thank you for actually responding.

> Unfortunately, we've been unable to access your
> account from the information in your email.
> Please could you reply with your account number
> or 3 mobile number so that we can resolve things
> swiftly.

Right, now you're beginning to annoy me. I don't have an account with you, nor do I want an account with you. This whole sorry tale is because of one of your resellers calling me at work (on a number that we have registered with the TPS) and trying to get me to sign up for your services.

All this information was included in the original email I sent to you, and I received the tracking number mentioned several times in this and previous emails to you. I now cannot be bothered to provide it to you again, and suggest that you actually refer back to my previous emails before attempting to respond to me again.

What I wanted to know, but fear I am unlikely to discover before I die or the Earth falls into a black hole is, can you guarantee to me that Mangotel (the URL of which I provided previously) are no longer in receipt of our telephone number (which I have also provided previously) or do I have to take you and them to tribunal with the TPS?

I would like an email written by the Head of Communications (if you have such a person, although I am beginning to doubt it) explaining to me that Mangotel do not have our number any more, why they had it in the first place, and why it has taken you so damned long to actually get to the root of my initial email of a month ago.

> Or, if it's easier, you can call our Customer
> Services team on 333 FREE from your 3 mobile
> or 08707 330 333 from any other phone (calls
> charged at your national rate).
>
> Either way, we'd be happy to help.

You know, I'm beginning to doubt that's actually true. While I was aware - through consumer shows - that your Customer Services were indeed bad, I did think this would only be of consequence should I actually be stupid enough to join up with you. However, I've realised that I was mistaken. I'm not even a customer of your company and> quite frankly I'm amazed anyone who has to deal with you on a regular basis hasn't shot themselves. Repeatedly, just to make sure.

> Best wishes,
>
> Customer Services, 3
> Welcome to our network
> three.co.uk>


Now, I thought - stupidly in retrospect - that this might actually get a response, but what I received just made me reply again.


-----Original Message-----
From: silas@xxx.xxx
Sent: 07 Dec 05 10:34:33
To: Subject: RE: TRACKING NUMBER: A00000XXXXXX-0000XXXXXXX
> customer.services@3mail.com> [mailto:customer.services@3mail.com] said;
>
> Dear Mr Blackburn,
>
> Thank you for your recent enquiry.

And thank you VERY much for the phone call I received from you yesterday, even though I specified that I wanted a response by email. If you do intend to phone me again, could you at the very least have someone who had a clue about my complaint do it? I don't really enjoy shouting at lowly paid members of your staff, but I probably would enjoy listening to a competent and rational explanation from one of your senior staff members, and, just possibly get an apology from you, and a guarantee it won't happen again.

> To protect our customers' data, we can only
> respond to an email address that has been
> registered with us.

Okay, I am now convinced you are attempting to wind me up on purpose, so I will say this again, loudly. I AM NOT A CUSTOMER & I DO NOT WANT TO BE A CUSTOMER. CONTACTING ME BY E-MAIL WOULD NOT, THEREFORE, MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO THE SECURITY OF YOUR DATA.

I have absolutely no care in the world for any of your customer data - although I do feel sorry for the people who have to pay to put up with this frankly idiotic "Customer Service".

I also note that you had no such concerns in responding to this email address with your initial response, informing me that you had no idea who Mangotel were.

> Please call us on 333 FREE from your 3 mobile
> (or 08707 330 333 from any other phone*) and
> we'll sort things out swiftly.

As the original call that led to this series of emails actually took place on 20/10/2005, I very much doubt your ability to "sort things out swiftly".

> When you call us, you can also update your
> contact details and register this email
> address so, in future, we can respond directly.

Okay, read the next sentence slowly and repeat it if necessary. I am not registering ANYTHING with your stupid company, nor do I feel it necessary to do so, since I am the one being inconvenienced by you and your resellers and you are the people who can stop this.

> Either way, we'd be happy to help.

Really? No, really?

> Best wishes,
> Customer Services, 3
> Welcome to our network
> three.co.uk
> *Calls charged at your national rate.


Which didn't make the slightest bit of difference, and I got another email back asking me, well, the usual question. So I thought I'd try and explain the problem again, just in the vain hope that someone, somewhere would actually reply.


-----Original Message-----
From: Silas [mailto:silas@xxx.xxx]
Sent: 07 December 2005 15:07
To: customer.services@3mail.com
Subject: RE: TRACKING NUMBER: A00000XXXXXX-0000XXXXXXX
> customer.services@3mail.com [mailto:customer.services@3mail.com] said;
>
> Dear Mr Blackburn,
>
> Thank you for your recent enquiry.
>
> Unfortunately, we've been unable to access
> your account from the information in your
> email. Please could you reply with your
> account number or 3 mobile number so that
> we can resolve things swiftly.

AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!! Seriously, what are you people on? Do you even read emails that are properly quoted. Or would you like me to top-post like yourselves? Can you even read this text? I'm beginning to think that you can't.

How can I have an account number or my 3 mobile number when I have neither? Nor do I want an account with your company. Ever. If you bothered to read the thread of emails you would see that, and I quote from one included in the one I sent you just earlier today;

> > What I wanted to know, but fear I am unlikely
> > to discover before I die or the earth falls
> > into a black hole is, can you guarantee to me
> > that Mangotel (the URL of which I provided
> > previously) are no longer in receipt of our
> > telephone number (which I have also provided
> > previously) or do I have to take you and them
> > to tribunal with the TPS?


Mangotel, to save you bothering to look back, is one of your resellers. We are a company who are registered with the TPS (that's the Telephone Preference Service, of which you don't appear to be a member) yet still received sales calls from the aforementioned reseller. This, it may surprise you to know, is in direct contravention of the legal requirement enforced by the TPS.

Right, once more for the hard of thinking:

TELL ME IN WRITING THAT NONE OF YOUR RESELLERS HAVE OUR TELEPHONE NUMBER IN THEIR DATABASE. TELL ME WHY MANGOTEL DID HAVE IT. TELL ME WHY IT HAS TAKEN SINCE 20TH OCTOBER TO GET THIS INFORMATION OUT OF YOUR COMPANY. TELL ME WHY I HAVE NOT RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM SOMEONE SENIOR IN YOUR ORGANISATION. TELL ME WHY I SHOULDN'T INSTIGATE AN INVESTIGATION BY THE TPS AND OFTEL AGAINST YOURSELVES.

> Or, if it's easier, you can call our Customer
> Services team on 333 FREE from your 3 mobile
> or 08707 330 333 from any other phone (calls
> charged at your national rate).
>
> Either way, we'd be happy to help.

You keep saying that, and I now know that's not actually the case, so please don't put this in the next email to me, or I'll know that you're not reading the emails I send you whatsoever.
>
> Best wishes,
>
> Customer Services, 3
> Welcome to our network
> three.co.uk>


Okay, what is it that I'm doing wrong?

-----Original Message-----
From: silas@xxx.xxx
Sent: 07 Dec 05 18:39:19
To:
Subject: RE: TRACKING NUMBER: A00000XXXXXX-0000XXXXXXX
> customer.services@3mail.com [mailto:customer.services@3mail.com] said;
> Dear MR Blackburn,
>
> Thank you for your recent enquiry.

I have a horrible sense of deja-vu about this.

> To protect our customers' data, we can only
> respond to an email address that has been
> registered with us. Please call us on 333
> FREE from your 3 mobile (or 08707 330 333
> from any other phone*) and we'll sort things
> out swiftly.

Why would I want to pay money to register an email address you've already responded to? And I'm not one of your customers, never have been one of your customers, and never, ever want to be one of your customers.

I want to know NOTHING about your customers. And don't, whatever you> do, claim that you have to do this because of the Data Protection Act. I am fully aware that the DPA does not require you to completely ignore requests for information, or make me HAVE to ring you to give you my email address.

I think you either don't actually understand my reason for contacting you, or are unable to give me reassurances that you have removed our company telephone number from your re-sellers databases, and nothing you have done since has helped me decide which it is.

> When you call us, you can also update your
> contact details and register this email
> address so, in future, we can respond
> directly.

I'm not going to call you. You've already responded directly to this email address after my first email query to you. You've rung me at the office (when I asked that I be contacted by email) and I see from my mobile that I have had a missed call from you on that as well. How are you not responding to me directly already? Oh, apart from sending me the same email every time I email you, obviously.

You are going to email me at this address with the responses to my questions that I have asked in the previous emails. I do not think this is a particularly harsh request, and I'm absolutely stunned that all you can do is send out the same stock email to every mail I send you.

When will you realise that I'm not going to register my email with you? Do you not believe that someone at your organisation has already replied to me at this email address, with a fairly helpful response (mind you, looking back, I'm surprised that someone who works for your company has ever given me a fairly helpful response) Look! Here it is!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: customer.services@3mail.com> [mailto:customer.services@3mail.com]
> Sent: 27 October 2005 09:27
> To: silas@xxx.xxx
> Subject: Response from 3
> Dear Jon
>
> Your dealer query
>
> Thank you for your email regarding the call
> that you received from> the company Mango.
>
> If you are signed up with the Telephone
> Preference Service you should not receive
> any of these calls. I would recommend that
> you contact them and make them aware of any
> such calls that you get.
>
> I have checked our list of dealers and cannot
> find the dealer Mango, unless they trade
> under a different name.
>
> If you have any questions, please don't
> hesitate to contact our Customer Services
> team on 333 from your handset (free) or
> 08707 330 333 (national rate).
>
> Thank you for contacting 3.
>
> Yours sincerely,
>
>
> Pauline Robertson
> 3 Customer Services
> 08707 330 333
> Welcome to our network
> www.three.co.uk


See? I'm not making this up. This is why I won't register an email address with you. You already have my email address. And you've used it. And there wasn't any loss of your precious customer information, was there?

As an aside, I can understand why you would want to keep your customer information private. Having a database full of people who are stupid enough to use you as their phone supplier, would be an extremely valuable commodity. I can never find anyone gullible enough to buy a treasure map off me when I need them. You, however, could probably sell a couple of dozen to any one of your customers each month.

But I digress.

> Either way, we'd be happy to help.

As I already asked you to remove this from your replies, I now know for sure that you are not even reading my emails. Could you please put something less likely to make me vomit in the next email? I don't care what, but I'm begging you, don't put "Either way, we'd be happy to help."

> Best wishes,
>
> Customer Services, 3
> Welcome to our network
> three.co.uk
> *Calls charged at your national rate.

And as I'm sick of realising how long this debacle has taken to sort out, I'm now cutting my previous discourse from the end of this email. I'd really like the answers before I die, so please try not to annoy me further - there's only so many times I can be sent the same email before this is escalated to someone higher up the chain, isn't there?

Whatever

--
silas


That led to the following email back from them...


-----Original Message-----
From: customer.services@3mail.com [mailto:customer.services@3mail.com]
Sent: 08 December 2005 10:30
To: silas@xxx.xxx
Subject: RE: TRACKING NUMBER: A00000XXXXXX-0000XXXXXXX

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

To protect our customers' data, we can only respond to an email address that has been registered with us. Please call us on 333 FREE from your 3 mobile (or 08707 330 333 from any other phone*) and we'll sort things out swiftly.

When you call us, you can also update your contact details and register this email address so, in future, we can respond directly.

Either way, we'd be happy to help.

Best wishes,

Customer Services, 3
Welcome to our network
three.co.uk
*Calls charged at your national rate.


So, I was about to send them another email back the following morning, when I had a phone call from them which drove me to apoplexy. So I sent this instead.


-----Original Message-----
From: Silas [mailto:silas@xxx.xxx]
Sent: 08 December 2005 11:54
To: 'customer.services@3mail.com'
Subject: RE: TRACKING NUMBER: A00000XXXXXX-0000XXXXXXX>

Okay, I received this email from you this morning, completely ignoring the one I sent to you that you've even quoted. Nice work 3, you really are something special.

Then, to top my morning off completely, I get a phone call from a "Wendy" in your e-mail department. She begins by telling me that she can't give me answers without my account number. The fury began to rise within me, but I explained calmly that I don't have an account number, that I've never had an account number and that I don't want an account number with your stupid company. To which she replies: "then I don't understand what information you want from us".

At which point I lost it. Without swearing, I shouted "then READ THE EMAILS" and hung up. There was no point whatsoever in continuing the conversation.

I'm somewhat surprised the email department were making phone calls, surely that would be a job for some outbound customer services department? But then again, what would you know about customer service?

Why do none of you seem to understand why I've been engaged in this on-going email battle of wills? I've made it quite clear in every email all I want you to do. I shall repeat it once more, as you appear to have problems even getting a basic grasp of my previous emails:

**** IMPORTANT BIT, PLEASE READ WHAT I WANT ****
I want to know, in writing, that none of your resellers have been provided with our company phone number by yourselves, and that you have advised all of them to remove any record of us from their database(s). I also want to know why it has taken since October for you to provide me with this information.

That is all I have ever wanted from you. Yet you have failed COMPLETELY to give me this information. As you are no doubt aware, I am legally entitled under the Data Protection Act to know all information that you hold on our company. As you are not providing me with any information, I am considering my options should you not bother to provide me with the answers I requested above.

I'd also like you to know that I have never dealt with a more inept company than yourselves, and this is something you should be proud of, as I've dealt with many companies who are no longer in existence. Fingers crossed my ability to spot a dud hasn't worn off, and I look forward to hearing of the demise of your company in the very near future.

Before anyone from your company calls or emails me back, please be completely versed in what information I require from you, and what information I have already provided. If I get another standard email from yourselves I will send it straight back without a reply. If I get a phone call from someone who doesn't know what I want to know, then I shall hang up.

I refuse to waste my time any further getting information out of you that you are legally required to give me.

Yours, more than a little annoyed.

silas


Unbelievably, after several more mails from 3 asking for my account details, I finally received a sensible email from them. I was so shocked that I was less sarcastic than usual in my response to them. Not that much less, but less all the same.

So here, it is, the final* reply from 3 telecom to a query I'd mailed them in October, with my response to them included.


From: silas@xxx.xxx
Sent: 09 Jan 06 13:31:09
To:
Subject: RE: Response from 3
> Dear Silas
>
> Your Retailer Query
>
> Thank you for your email regarding your
> ongoing issue relating to a third party
> retailer contacting your company.

OH MY GOD! This isn't an automated response!

> Firstly, let me say that I am very
> disappointed to learn you have had a poor
> customer service experience. Please accept
> my apologies on behalf of 3 for any
> frustration and inconvenience this has
> caused you, and be assured that 3 do value
> your comments in helping to improve our
> services.

Well I'm sure I've left you with a lot to mull over. May I recommend getting people who can read incoming emails before sending out an automated reply is the first thing you should do? The frustration caused by your company has been somewhat exasperating, but it has left me completely convinced never to use your services - without having to pay for the experience first - so that's been helpful.

> However, I can confirm that we do not supply
> any resellers with> anyone's details at all.
> They get their information from various
> sources, such as other retailers and any
> marketing information that may have been
> given in error. Some of these retailers
> simply work through a phone directory.

You see? That's all the information I've ever wanted from you: a simple declaration from yourselves that you have not provided our number to any of your resellers. I've been waiting since October for that.

Would you, as a company, please take the stance that your resellers are forced to use pre-checked lists of numbers - instead of making your company look bad by contacting people who are registered with the TPS?

This would have saved me the immense amount of hassle I've had trying to get a simple piece of information from your company.

> As you have previously been advised, it is
> against the law for us to supply any
> customer information without their consent
> and, as you are not a customer, we would
> not have any information regarding you in
> the first place.
>
> If you continue to receive marketing or
> sales calls from these independent
> retailers I would strongly suggest you
> register with The Telephone Preference
> Service.

I am fully conversant with both the aims and spirit of the Data Protection Act. I am also aware that you are entitled to hold information for marketing purposes - which is what I thought you had done - hence I was asking for confirmation from yourselves that you did not have our details. I have now received that confirmation, so I am now able to pursue Mangotel and Tulip UK directly.

If I subsequently find out that they have been provided our telephone number by your company, then I will be most annoyed that I have been lied to.

We are already registered with the TPS and have been for over a year, as I'm fairly sure I made crystal clear in the emails I've sent to your organisation over the past two and a bit months.

Does anyone actually read the full thread of emails sent before> contacting the customer? It would help to be fully aware of what has already been said before potentially enraging the customer by asking them "what's your account number" etc.

> To stop any of these calls being made you
> can contact The Telephone Preference
> Service on 08707 070 007.
>
> Alternatively you can go online to contact
> them at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/.
>
> However, if you do have any further
> questions, an option open to you is to
> contact our Customer Services team on 333
> from any 3 handset (free) or 08707 330 333
> (national rate).

I think I'd rather die of something unpleasant than ever have to be involved in contacting your company again, but thanks for the option.

> Thank you for contacting 3.

And thank you so much for actually answering a question I first asked nearly three months ago. Oh wait, 3! That's what it's all about! That's how long you have to wait to get any sensible replies from your company. I get it now.

> Yours sincerely,
>
> James Dey
> 3 Customer Services
> 08707 330 333
> Hutchison 3G UK Ltd
> www.three.co.uk>

--
silas


I sent this back the next day to 3 to thank them for actually dealing with my problem. So you can imagine how pleased I was to receive an email back from them the very next day.... until I opened the damn thing.


From: customer.services@3mail.com [mailto:customer.services@3mail.com]
Sent: 10 January 2006 10:19
To: silas@xxx.xxx
Subject: RE: Response from 3

Dear MR. JAMES DEY

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

Unfortunately, we've been unable to access
your account from the information in your
email. Please could you reply with your
account number or 3 mobile number so that
we can resolve things swiftly.

Or, if it's easier, you can call our
Customer Services team on 333 FREE from
your 3 mobile or 08707 330 333 from any
other phone (calls charged at your
national rate).

Either way, we'd be happy to help.

Best wishes,

Customer Services, 3
Mumbai, MumTemp59
3 Customer Services
08707 330 333
Welcome to our network
www.three.co.uk


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Interesting name that last guy has, don't you think?

* - okay, so it was nearly the final one. It's close enough, and I didn't want to spoil the "surprise".

11 Comments:

Blogger kingoftheforks said...

You have WAY too much time on your hands.
Can't you tell how dull all that was?
WHY do you think anyone would want to waste an hour of their life trying to read all that?
Go outside, meet people, have some drinks. Get some exercise and stop trying to convince people that you are a dull small minded man.

PS I haven't actually read it all - it was too dull

16:11  
Blogger kingoftheforks said...

What's this? A day later and no-one has leaptto the defence of the the narcissist's drivel.... what a surprise - I bet nobody else could be arsed to wade through it either....

12:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...made it through one paragraph before running out into the road to play in the traffic. Please, someone confirm to me that there's more to life than this!

16:46  
Blogger silas said...

No, honestly, this is the most important thing ever. Obviously. Say "hi" to the kingoftheforks for me. I love the fact he's now getting other people to critique this :)

16:51  
Blogger kingoftheforks said...

So... is ANYONE going to be able to comment and say that they have genuinely read and enjoyed this loose-bowelled stool-water?

I thought not.

16:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to say that I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made by the king of the forks.

'Nuff said.

Fraser, Wales.

17:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what is worse....
The content or the comment...
Oh, wait.



It's the content - it's longer.

21:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mangotel are the biggest bunch of tossers I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

3 are worse than you can possibly imagine.

LOL at being able to sell their customers some treasure maps.

08:51  
Anonymous Mel said...

Well, I get very frustrated with poor customer service and it's one of my pet hates so fair play to you Silas. I actually enjoyed reading it.

I went in to a mobile phone shop and there was a requirement for them to call 3 Customer service for me to talk to them to sort out thge issue. The call centre in India had great trouble understanding me (fairly neutral accent)or the Sales Consultant (with an East end accent) who is a friend of mine. In the end my friend grabbed the phone and put on a fake Indian accent (he's british born but has Indian parents)and was understood perfectly. I was quite amazed to learn that this was common practice and that he has to do it all the time to be understood by the call handlers and get help!

17:28  
Blogger silas said...

Mel!!!! I can't send you a comment on MySpace as it keeps telling me there's a problem with my form. Thanks for the comments!

08:54  
Anonymous mel said...

So how do I get to email you then? Try and message me via my space again!

13:09  

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