Three and the case of the returning iPhone 4

Yesterday my iPhone 4 arrived, hurrah. Unfortunately sometime in the next five days it’s going back to Three, and I’m changing to another phone company because I’ve had enough, boo.

How did things turn so bad? Well it all happened at least eight weeks ago when I expressed a desire to upgrade to an iPhone 4 on the Three website. For a few weeks I received SMS messages telling me, that my wait would soon be over, and that they had reserved a shiny new iPhone 4 for me. How happy I was. Then a nice man with a heavy Indian accent rang to tell me that I would be able to order one now.

I placed my order for a 16Gb Black iPhone 4 – it’s still only available in Black. While I was placing my order, I pointed out to the man that it was my wife’s phone that I wanted upgraded (two accounts both in my name one used by my wife and one by me), not mine. And after a few minutes of to-ing and fro-ing and him putting me on hold, he said that it was OK, and that it would be delivered in late July.

So yesterday the phone finally arrives, I give it to my wife and we’re all very happy, but she’s a bit busy so she leaves it to me to sort out the number. But when I ring up the 0800 this morning to sort out swapping her number from her old SIM to the new microSIM I’m told that it’s not possible.

I speak to a man in call centre miles and miles away, who says he can’t do it. He passes me on to a colleague, and I have to give the colleague all my details and explain some of the situation, and after a few minutes of being put on hold a few times he tells me he can’t do it either. But that he will talk to someone who can do it. Unfortunately I had a conference call booked that I needed to be on, so I had to ask them to ring me back, which they say they wouldn’t, but then they changed their minds and they said they would and it would be in an hour. An hour later no phone call and I was bored and wanted this resolved asap.

Luckily I live 10 minutes walk away from my Three shop in Horsham. I ask the man in the shop if he can swap the phone over to the other account, but unfortunately he can’t, he has to ring the same customer services number I have been doing all morning. He rings it and he explains the situation, and then he hands the phone over to me.

The lady says it can’t be done. I have to send the phone back because they’re not able to setup a microSIM with a phone account if that phone account hasn’t been upgraded to an iPhone 4. The solutions she says is for me to send the phone back, and for them to send me out a new phone and a new microSIM for my account. Unfortunately there are no more 16Gb phones, they only have 32Gb, and they have no idea when they will get any 16Gb phones in. And to send me out a bag to return my phone in will take 5 days.

I suggest several options.

i) Three are getting iPhone 4’s in the shop tomorrow, so why don’t I take one of those?

ii) I get the shop to send the phone back.

iii) I move to another provider.

Unfortunately, option one is out, as the phones they’re getting in to the shop according to smiley man in the shop are for new customers only, and not for customers upgrading. Option two is also out, they wouldn’t have the right bags in the shop as they send their returns to a different place. So I’m going to have to go for option three (no pun intended) for both of my accounts.

I am so angry.

But at least I got two news scoops out of this. If you’re a Three customer and you want to upgrade your phone to an iPhone 4 you won’t be bale to do it in the shop tomorrow that’s just for new users. And Three have sold out of 16Gb iPhone 4’s and they have no idea when they’re getting in any more, so unless you’re on the look out for a 32Gb then don’t bother.

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