04 April 2006

Bigger Hole in my Pocket

As planned previously, off I went at noon on 3 Apr 2006 to the 'nearest O2 shop' listed in my bill, which is located on Cheapside, a road between St Paul's & Bank tube stations. Had all my past bills with me & I even checked my online bills again just before I left - to make sure I got my facts right. After waiting about 10mins (there were like 4 customers in front of me & only 3 O2 staff), I was told due to some regulation, no O2 shops personnel can assist in billing enquiries. My only avenue is through the customer service line. :( Ceh, talk about a lack of avenue for face to face interaction! That didn't start off well.

I subsequently found a small park near St Bart's Hospital that that is quiet enough for me to make the call. I engaged O2's customer service for another 15mins. As expected too, it got technical & by the time I was halfway through, my head was beginning to spin (& getting superbly irritated emotionally) between the different dates for the 6 month double promotion period, billing period & talktime period. I also found out their rollover talktime concept was not as per what I understood from O2 sales person's explanation when I 1st took the contract last Sept. Simply put it, I somewhat understood (after over 10mins) that the bottomline is that all my talktime was forfeited on 29 March (end of my double talktime promotion period) & didn't have any till April, hence I was happily charged by O2 for all my calls for that period. Still, I really believed I had an argument from a technical standpoint & was pressing for it when the person on the line, Sara (credit to her for layaning me as patiently as she could all the way), said the best she can do is offer me a Goodwill Failed Promise refund of GBP10 (a form of ex-gratia?). When he asked me if that's ok, I noted that I'd prefer to have the entire charged calls amount cancelled although I accepted the offer (I somehow see the risk that they can just shut me off & I gain nothing based on previous experience & observations from home country).

In the end, still need to settle the entire amount billed this month & the GBP10 ex-gratia will probably be reflected next month. I hope there'll be no more surprises from O2 after this personal record of highest mobile bill incurred.

After all that, I am left wondering, why didn't the guy who spoke to me on Sun (didnt quite catch his name) offer me the ex-gratia then? Is it because Sara (I clarified her name so that I can thank her by name for her patience) is more experienced or (am not a sexist) because she is a lady? It may also be human nature that we react more favourably to a member of the opposite gender.

On a closing note, I also need to find accommodations from 20 Aug till I return to home country. Found out that to secure booking at another university residential hall that's operating as a budget hotel during summer till 11 Sept, I need to pay the entire accommodation cost in advance. Talk about blowing another hole in the pocket, especially after just settling my final accommodation installment last Fri, leaving me with just GBP300 from my latest allowance payment from sponsor (for me to survive till July), & this O2 fiasco. I need to find alternative & cheaper accommodation real soon. :( Even more distractions & dugaan.

Till later, live long & prosper.

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