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Gahh! Quite annoyed by this week’s Vodafone retail experience

Buoyed by last weeks delightful iPhone 5 purchase experience I walked into the Vodafone store in Richmond yesterday afternoon and bought a Samsung Galaxy SIII on contract.

At least I tried to do so.

The very helpful chap tried to sell it to me.

The device was sitting in from of me for about 10 minutes in the box.

But Vodafone couldn’t sell it to me.

I was being an exception you see. I’d asked for a 12 month contract. All the pricing calculators make it clear this is perfectly acceptable. But the company’s own systems wouldn’t allow it.

First the chap tried to order the 32gb version in white. No. That wasn’t accepted. So then he tried the black version. Then, getting rather desperate, he tried the 16gb ones. The system just wouldn’t allow 12 months for some reason.

I wasn’t about to budge on taking a two year commitment so the chap suggested the farcical option: I order it for delivery.

Stupid I know. But this was the only way he knew he could give me what I had (reasonably I thought!) asked for.

So despite the device sitting there in front of me, there was nothing to be done.

Patently stupid. I could just about deal with next day delivery — and when the chap explained the phone might take ‘a few days to reach me’ I frankly didn’t believe him. This is Vodafone we are talking about. Their logistics are phenomenal!

Not it seems with the SIII which is so bountifully in stock the local shop had every single flavour there for me.

I had the immediate text an email order acknowledgement whilst I was in store.

And then nothing.

Nothing. I logged on to look up the order status and apparently my flipping order number is invalid.

Come on!

I am really not built to handle this sort of exception. I can’t stand the inefficiency. This is stupid simple. How does shit like this still fall through the cracks in this age of logistical nirvana.

If I’d bought the phone from Amazon it would have arrived by 9am this morning.

So now I have a dilemma. Keep the phone or return it when it eventually arrives.

Any suggestions?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

6 replies on “Gahh! Quite annoyed by this week’s Vodafone retail experience”

These days Vodafone is not living upto its expectation especially from Customer Service prespective. It is damn poor.

I had the same dilema. I went into St Albans, and asked for teh 32G black SIII on a 12 month contract. This was on the day that Red tariffs were made available. They said it was not possible. They spent about 40 mins looking around the systems. In the end they were able to find it, but had to call it in to the HQ. £41 squids pcm for 600 mins, 1Gb data and unlimited texts. Device was less than £200, so not a bad deal. You do have to push them to search, and then search again, before the 12 month tariffs are revealed.

I’d keep the phone, go to amazon by some NFC tags and play, play, play. It’s a good phone, screen is a reasonable balance of size and portability (i’m old enough to need reading glasses, and much less so with the SIII over my iPhone 4, which is tiny in comparison), performance is fine.

and next time don’t give up so easily. I had to push, use the I’m ex-staff angle and everything, but it did work.

Steve — the order was actually cancelled this morning! So I popped back into the store this afternoon and it looks like they’ve been able to find a way around it!

I’m curious as to why the first instinct is to go in-store to make the phone / contract purchase. Wouldn’t it be easier to do this online via Voda then have the phone shipped to your house or to the store to be picked up? You wouldn’t need to hand around waiting for paperwork and stock check that way.

Or have you had bad experiences buying phones online before?

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