Monday, August 21, 2006

Crushed Blackberries

Today, I am officially no longer a Crackberry addict.

The withdrawals are painful.

After having my FOURTH Blackberry this year (and FIFTH overall) stop working, I finally gave up. Well, let's be honest...here's how they all went down.

BLACKBERRY #1 -- Keypad stops working.
BLACKBERRY #2 -- Received after THREE attempts to get a replacement Blackberry sent to me. Works fine. Track wheel stops working.
BLACKBERRY #3 -- Arrives and has a Null Javaset Error (or something like that) and basically makes the phone pretty difficult to use if not impossible. T-Mobile sends me another one.
BLACKBERRY #4 -- Works fine. No errors. Trackwheel though goes kaput after about 6 weeks of use. All calls to T-Mobile Blackberry support are futile in fixing this error.
BLACKBERRY #5 -- Arrives and also has Null Javaset Error. This is where Brian loses it.

I decided that in the scant year or so since I got the Blackberry (okay maybe closer to 18 months), that it just wasn't worth the extra fee to have the Blackberry anymore if it was just going to conk out on me every few months. Besides, with the rugby tournament over, there was really no longer a need to have it since I didn't have any emails that were so urgent that I had to get back to them in a super timely manner.

"Send me a regular phone," I told the first customer service rep.

I got the company line about how they couldn't do that because of the service agreement and replacement program parameters. BLAH BLAH BLAH. I did get them to cancel the Blackberry service and credit me for the days that I could not use the service because I sure as hell was not going to pay for a service that I couldn't use.

The customer service rep (aka CSR #1) says that I can get a phone but I would have to pay for it. Hell no. I am not paying for a phone. I already paid about $300+ for the Blackberry I sure as heck am not going to pay another couple hundred bucks for phone. He says there is ONE free option that he can provide me but it will require me to sign up for another 2 year plan. I ask what phone it is and it's a cheap, crappy $79 phone, less than a third of the value of the Blackberry that I *just got* that costs $300+.

"That's unacceptable," I said. "What else do you have?"

"That's your only option."

I paused. I wasn't accepting a crappy phone just so I can make my Blackberry hell go away. "Well," I said, taking a breath, "I'll take that under consideration this weekend when I take a look at my phone service and decide if I want to stick with you or not. I'm not taking a cheap crappy phone when I've paid $300 plus for the Blackberry that really hasn't worked well since I got it."

That got his attention. He tried to sell me on some other models but I wasn't buying. Bottom line, I was not paying for a new cell phone. He noted that I had been a valued customer for over four years and at this point my brain clicked into overdrive. Four years. Valued customer.

Okay, if that's what you want to call me then treat me like one.

Finally, he sent me over to an account representative -- CSR #2. I wish I could remember her name so I could put it here and shame her but she decided that she would offer me another phone. This phone was valued at just over $100. Well we moved up since this phone was just over a third of what I paid for the Blackberry. I still wasn't happy and I made it clear that the phone she was offering me was not acceptable. This is when her tone turned from polite, in my mind at least, to condescending.

And I let her know it and that I didn't appreciate it.

"I'd like to speak to your supervisor so I can file a complaint against you," I said.

She laughed.

"I don't think it's funny. Your supervisor, please."

I was placed on hold for a considerable length of time until I finally got on the line with the supervisor.

"Now, I've been apprised of the situation regarding your phone and I'd like to help you resolve whatever problems you have."

Oh. So the phone is the problem and not your reps? This is when I pretty much blew a gasket.

"No. I'm fine with the phone right now. I'd like to talk to you about CSR #2 (whose name I did remember at that time) and the condescending attitude she just pulled on me."

This shut him up very quickly so I continued on.

"When I re-evaluate my phone service this weekend, I will be using this call and the way that I was just treated as one of the criteria when I pick my provider. Right now, it's not looking like it's going to be you. Now. If you want to talk about my phone, we can talk about my phone. Your customer service though is what really needs some work."

I went through the saga of my Blackberry nightmare and told him that I was pretty sure that he could check the history on my account to see that I had already gone through five such phones as it was. I told him I no longer wanted the Blackberry, I wanted another phone, and the options I was provided were unacceptable to me. He tried weaselling his way around the situation but wasn't very successful.

"So it comes down to the principle of it all?" he asked.

Well fucking, duh, man!!!! I'm hammering down your throat the fact that I don't think I should be offered a cheap replacement phone that you're already giving away for free as it is when I've already shelled out over $300 for a phone that has consistently broken down on me. That's not going to work.

"Well, I don't see any phone outside of the PDA range that fit the price," he lied.

Yes, he lied. How do I know he lied? I had the T-Mobile website up on my laptop and I started rattling off the number of phones that were within $50 of what I had paid for the Blackberry.

"So...," he started off slowly. "If we gave you a Razr V3, would that work for you?"

A Razr? Nice choice. Very trendy. Just one question though.

"Am I paying for it?"

"I'll push it through, so no you won't pay for it. You will have to sign up for another two year agreement though."

Another two years for a free Motorola Razr V3. I didn't want to sign up for another stint if I didn't have to but if this is the trade off to get me a new, supposedly high quality phone, for free, then I'll do it.

"Sure, I said. I think I can live with that."

That was Friday. This morning, the new phone arrived at my office. Brand spanking new out of the box. I'm sorta tempted to start a pool to see how long this phone would last but thankfully, I already have a back-up phone coming to replace my back-up phone.

My back-up phone used me to a Motorol V66 which I think sells on eBay for like $9 now. My friend in Texas is sending me a barely used Green Motorola PEBL phone that she had for about a month before her boyfriend gave her the newest Sidekick.

I think I can live with that.

As for the soon to be discarded Blackberry, as soon as I can erase all of the numbers out of the address book or maybe format the phone if I can, I will be selling it on eBay.

I already got a free phone and I would like to return to Europe next year for some hiking. It would be a nice start.
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