Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 18

| Right | January 5, 2015

(I work in the electronics department of a supermarket, where we sell prepaid phone cards.)

Customer #1: “When I tried to add this card to my daughter’s phone, it keeps telling me it’s invalid.”

Me: “Let’s see what we can figure out. We’ll try to add the card for you and see what happens.”

(The customer hands me the phone card and receipt, and recites the phone number to me. I attempt to add it using our computer and receive the message that the plan is not compatible with the model of phone. This carrier has a policy that their smartphones can only take the unlimited plans and won’t allow the fixed-minutes cards to be loaded on smartphones.)

Me: “It looks like the issue is that your daughter’s phone is probably a smartphone. Unfortunately, this particular plan is not compatible with smartphones, and you’d have to buy the [slightly more expensive card]. Our customer service desk would be happy to exchange it for you if you’ll pay the difference, though!”

(The woman calls her daughter and learns that it is, in fact, a smartphone. I return her card and receipt along with providing her the correct card, and she walks off. About ten minutes later, a man walks up to me.)

Customer #2: “We can’t get this card to load on our phone.”

Me: “That happens sometimes! Believe it or not, we actually have had someone come in with the same problem just a while ago. Let’s see if we can’t get it to go through our computer.”

(He hands me the phone card and a phone number written on a piece of paper, with no receipt. I enter the information and receive the same error message from before.)

Me: “Okay, it looks like the phone is a smartphone, which isn’t able to take this particular—”

(The woman from before walks up to join him, and I realize it’s the exact same card and phone number.)

Customer #1: Why the h*** can’t it just take that? It’s ridiculous to pay so much for cell phone service!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, that’s just [Carrier]’s policy. You might be able to take it up with them if you call their customer service number but we’re not able to do anything about it ourselves.”

Customer #1: *irate* “Whatever!”

(They take their card and the phone number, and walk away. Shortly after, the woman returns again.)

Customer #1: “You didn’t give me my receipt back!”

Me: “Ma’am, we gave you your receipt with the card when you brought it over here the first time.”

Customer #1: “But then you didn’t give it back the second time! Give it back!”

(I check all around the area for the receipt despite the fact I know I wasn’t given it the second time, and am not able to find it. I tell her politely that it was never given to me and she storms away angrily, complaining about the phone plan the whole time. Later that evening, one of my coworkers answers the phone and is talking with a customer. From the look on his face, the customer is obviously upset about something. Eventually he turns to me to ask a question.)

Coworker: “Um, the smartphones for [Carrier] can only take the unlimited cards, right?”

(Turned out, it was the same customer from before, hoping a different employee at the same store would be able to give her a different answer. When he wasn’t able to change anything either, she demanded the number to one of our other stores in the area – whose electronics area was currently understaffed and who hadn’t been able to answer the phone all day. We didn’t hear back from her after that, but I like to think she got stuck on hold for a good while.)

 

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