Friday, October 18, 2013

Vodamoan

Although my mobile phone has changed over the years I have retained the same number since I bought my first mobile phone back in 1999. It’s the number I give out to friends and colleagues. It’s the number I put on forms and web sites (the ones I trust). It’s the number I put on correspondence when I send my novels out to agents.

I’ve had it 14 years.

As far as I’m concerned it is my number.

My mobile phone tariff is Pay As You Go so as a consequence I have to buy my mobile phones outright – there is no contract with the service provider. So as far as I’m concerned the mobile phone is mine and I’m free to use the number as much or as little as I like.

Over the years I have used the mobile less and less. This abandonment has been exacerbated by the acquisition of a work mobile which, naturally, I now use to make most of my calls (as they tend to be work related). In fact, the only cost that has been incurred by my own mobile phone over the last few months has been incurred by the phone itself; it is a touchscreen and the “guard” switch frequently turns itself off to the point where the slightest accidental touch on the screen causes the phone to dial out. Thanks to Vodafone’s instant “£2 IOU credit” scheme I often found myself owing them money (despite my Pay As You Go tariff) for calls that I hadn’t actually made. I didn’t ask for the credit and didn’t want it. Personally I think it’s just another way for the phone company to screw money out of the slice of its customer base who are more pecuniary minded. So in the end, the last time I racked up a £2 “credit debt” I didn’t pay it off. Sod them.

That was possibly my mistake.

Because despite receiving a couple of phone calls earlier this week I suddenly turned my phone on one morning to find a “Sim card registration failure” message on the screen. A phone call to Vodafone revealed that as my mobile hadn’t been used to make any calls for the last 9 months they had decided the phone was no longer in use – this without checking – and they allocated the number (MY number) elsewhere. They would send me a new Sim card with a new number to reactivate the phone but my old number was now lost to me forever.

I have to say I am quite furious. I have my novel with a number of agents at the moment and my mobile number is all over the correspondence should they wish to ring me and make me an offer. The fact that they won’t is neither here nor there. It is sod’s law that this is the time an agent will bite and now won’t be able to get hold of me. Yes, they have my email address but you know… I’m thinking worst case scenario here: an agent who is e-averse.

How dare Vodafone remove my number just because I haven’t incurred any phone charges recently and do so without a by-your-leave or a thank-you. That phone is mine. I paid for it outright to make calls at my convenience not theirs. Overnight they have reduced it to a useless piece of plastic – which, if I had wanted such a thing, I would have bought a box of Mega Bloks (sorry – striking a blow for Lego).

I’m going to call Vodafone back (not from my mobile) and complain. I doubt it will do any good but my spleen needs to be vented. I’m now weighing up whether it’s worth the effort and expense to buy a new mobile tied into a different company just to spite Vodafone good and proper (like they actually care).

I suspect all phone companies are much the same but if any of you have any personal recommendations do please give me a call.

You have my number.


23 comments:

Suburbia said...

Bloody Cheek! Ring 'em and have a go!

Steve said...

Suburbia: you're right! I will! Can I borrow your phone?

John Gray said...

Cross the bastards once and they'll have you

Steve said...

John: except they've lost out this time. I still owed that £2 "IOU credit" on the old number and they'll never get it now. That little victory keeps me warm at night.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Well, if they give you your number back now you'll be getting texts from Miss Deelight, telling you to book your next appointment. Actually, it might be worth paying her to sort things out with Vodafone.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: you know Sunny too?

Keith said...

That is outrageous. To not check first. I would hate for someone else to have MY number.

I am reminded of the John Donne poem...

" When my grave's broke up again, some second guest to entertain."

Is nothing sacred ?

Steve said...

Keith: I know... dead man's shoes is one thing... but at least wait until I'm done with them first!

Marginalia said...

I'm afraid you're on to a loser. You own the phone not the number.

Neither am I that sympathetic with your complaint that having not used the phone for 9 months they should phone you to find out if you still use it.

Phone numbers are an expensive resource, better to recycle than to generate new ones.

If you have a phone (they're quite an expense if it's SIM only) can I suggest you use it - it's not an ornament.

Text, Tweet, on line bank,shop, Facebook e-mail there's so much you can do with it.

However if you insist on not using it why not trade it in, or give it away - deleting all personal data first.

Far better than getting rather overly uptight about a piece of plastic and some wires and coding.

Steve said...

Marginalia: I can't work out if you're a spoilsport or just a technoslave.

the fly in the web said...

They gave you the number on a pay as you go basis...if you don't want to go that's your business.
As usual, arbitrary decisions taken secure in the knowledge that they can put up two fingers to you...or one if it's Orange in France...

Steve said...

The fly in the web: exactly. Pay as you go... not pay us every now and then whether you want to go or not!

Marginalia said...

Steve, I'm a spoilsport first and a technoslave second.

Some culture at last, courtesy of Keith and John Donne. Although it's stretching it a bit to equate death with a mobile phone number.

Steve said...

Marginalia: it depends on how you get disconnected...

K Ville said...

I should imagine there's some small print somewhere about usage even on pay as you go. A quick search on the net showed virgin are very clear. Don't use your number in 90 days and you'll lose it. The Vodafone terms don't seem quite so clear. If you are determined to complain then I would ask them to tell you the clause of your contract they have cancelled you under and see how it goes from there.

Steve said...

K Ville: to be honest it's too late to do much now. They have already reallocated "my" number so it is gone forever. I'm currently shopping around for another service provider.

Rol said...

Keep at them. They're a bunch of bastards and they need to realise they're here to serve us, not the other way round.

Steve said...

Rol: at last, someone who gets my point of view!

Trish Burgess said...

I've heard of this rule for a number of phone providers. So annoying. I can see why they do it, but can't understand why they don't check as they text you about everything else anyway.

Steve said...

Trish: you think they'd be able to call me for free...

Being Me said...

The nerve. Yes, it's probably in some fineprint somewhere. But where? You'd think if that was a feature of the plan, it'd be pretty damn obvious to you, the end user, before you accepted going with them.

These big "service providers" have it all the wrong way around. Too big to care.

Nota Bene said...

Much sympathy....but don't waste too much time on it, as your time is better spent elsewhere. That's quite an hypocritical statement on my part as I'd be at their throats...but I'm better at offering advice than following it.

I'd suggest you change to GiffGaff...cheaper and a little more friendly than most of them.

Steve said...

Being Me: what's worse is that they promised to send me a new SIM card within 3 days of my telephone complaint... it's now been a week and I've had nothing from them. They've rendered a £70 phone into a pointless lump of plastic.

Nota Bene: you're the second person that has recommended GiffGafff... I shall look into it.