I Become a Tesco Mobile Customer in Dec 2013
On the 5th December 2013 I signed up (online) for an iPhone 5s and took out a 24 month contract with Tesco Mobile. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I am a customer and advocate of giffgaff. So why did I, in addition to continuing as a giffgaff customer, also became a Tesco Mobile customer?
The need to buy a second phone, and have a second phone number, arose for business reasons. The decision to go with Tesco Mobile was based to a large degree on the Nunwood placing Tesco Mobile at no 13 in it’s 2013 Customer Experience rankings. You can read my post on those rankings here.
About a week after (around the 12th December) the phone had arrived and I activated it. It worked fine. I was happy with the choice I had made and got busy with organising Christmas as for once we were not travelling but staying home.
I Hit An Important Snag This Week: Vital Functionality is Not There
This week, on Monday, I was in a business meeting and needed access to the internet to access documents in the cloud. So I turned to my iPhone (as I had done for the last three years or so) to turn on the personal hotspot and use that to enable my laptop to connect to the Internet. To my surprise and disbelief I couldn’t find the functionality on the iPhone.
During Tuesday I checked on the internet and talked with some people. They couldn’t find the personal hotspot functionality on my iPhone 5s -yet it was on their iPhones! So I rang Tesco Mobile for help. How helpful were the folks?
Technical Support Showed Up as Honest and Helpful
The chap in Tesco Mobile’s Technical Support was great. I told him of my issue, he got it, he sympathised. He told me that whilst the personal hotspot/tethering functionality worked on other phones it didn’t on Apple iPhones. Why? Because Tesco Mobile has not struck up a suitable agreement with Apple. When I shared the impact of this lack of functionality, he was great. He told me he understood. That this issue has been raised by other iPhone customers. And that he raised the issue within Tesco Mobile. Unfortunately, management has decided not to do anything about it. By the time I ended the phone call I got his frustration, his disappointment at lack of suitable action by Tesco Mobile’s management, and his desire to do his best for customers like me.
Customer Services Quotes Policy and Points The Finger At Me
After taking time to consider my options given that I need that personal hotspot/tethering functionality I rang Tesco Mobile’s Customer Service team. The woman who responded to my call was not great. The conversation went something like this:
Me: I need the personal hotspot/tethering functionality. This week I found that it was not present on my iPhone 5s when I really needed it. I talked to Technical Support and they told me it is not active because Tesco Mobile has not come to a suitable agreement with Apple. I need your help to get this issue sorted out.
Call Centre Agent: There is nothing I can do that functionality is simply not there. It is not there for Apple products. It is there for other products.
Me: I had an iPhone (for 2- 3 years) previously through my employer on the O2 network, the personal hotspot/tethering worked fine. I used it all the time when I was travelling. I travel a lot for business and I really need that functionality. If I had known that this functionality is not present on the iPhone with Tesco Mobile then I would never have bought it. What can you do to help me with this issue?
Call Centre Agent: You had 14 days from the day of the contract to try out the iPhone, send it back and cancel your contract. You didn’t do that. I can’t help you.
Me: I need help with my issue, I don’t need you or anyone else to quote the contract at me. The fact is that I didn’t need the personal hotspot/tethering functionality until this week. And it is only this week that I became aware of it. Can you give me dongle that I can plug into my laptop and the data usage comes out of my existing contract? That would sort out the issue.
Call Centre Agent: we are a mobile company we don’t do dongles. There is nothing I can do.
Me: My contract with Tesco Mobile consists of two parts, the phone and the monthly tariff for calls and data. I’d like to repay, today, in full the outstanding payments for the phone and cancel the contract. That way you are not out of pocket as I have repaid the cost of the phone. And I can go to another provider who does provide the functionality I need. Can I do that?
Call-Centre Agent: Yes, you are on the anytime upgrade plan. You should be able to do that.
Me: Can you please look into that right now and let me know what it will cost for me to end this contract?
Call-Centre Agent: I’ve looked into. If you want to terminate the contract then you have to pay off the entire contract. That comes to £610 for the iPhone and another £300 for the tariff.
Me: Thank you.
My Take on Tesco Mobile and It’s Orientation Towards Its Customers
Everything flows from being. It occurs to me that the being of Tesco Mobile is anything but customer-centric. It is selfish. It is mean. It is extractive. It is dishonest. What leads me to make this statement?
Folks in Tesco Mobile know that the Apple line of products is missing the personal hotspot/tethering functionality. Yet they have chosen to hide this information from those who search for and look at iPhones: nowhere on the website (product page, help and support pages, purchase process pages) have I found anything that informs prospective customers – so that any purchases made are made with open eyes.
Tesco Mobile is the source of my problem and when I brought the problem to Tesco Mobile’s attention, policy was quoted, and the finger of blame was pointed at me. What is my wrong doing? Assuming that because my last iPhone (with 02) had the personal hotspot/tethering functionality then the same functionality would be present on Tesco Mobile. Please note that Tesco Mobile is a MVNO that uses the 02 network.
All through my conversation with the call-centre agent I was the one suggesting ways of moving forward- the dongle idea, terminating the contract – no helpful ideas were put forward by the call-centre agent, her attitude was one of indifference (at best).
I offered Tesco Mobile a fair route to solving the problem – one that would have paid them back for the cost of the mobile phone in full, and the tariff charges to date. Tesco Mobile didn’t go for that. Tesco Mobile insisted in charging me for the phone (which is fair) and for the whole 24 months of tariff charges. Which, in my eyes, amounts:
- to letting me down by not providing the functionality that other networks do provide;
- causing me extra work in that I am faced with the work of finding and switching to another provider; and
- insisting on robbing me by charging me for 22 months of a service (phone calls, texts, data) that they will not be providing and I will not be using.
As I think of Tesco Mobile, the phrase “liar, thieves and cheats” come to mind. Put differently, it occurs to be that Tesco Mobile’s fundamental mode of being is that of a liar, a thief, a cheat. My experience suggests that liar-thieves-cheats don’t easily change their ways. Which is why I will never buy anything from Tesco Mobile again.
I recommend that you think twice before becoming a customer of Tesco Mobile especially if the phone that you intend to use is an Apple iPhone!
Afterword / Update
What happened when this post got retweeted on Twitter? You can find out by clicking here.