When I left my job this spring, I bought a new phone. Twelve days later, the backplate that covers the battery fell off the phone. The Fido store staff proposed that I buy another phone, for 300$. I’d gotten this one for 50$ with a contract. So this was unacceptable: what if I bought another one for 300$ and the plate fell off again, then what? Buy another one?
I called Fido customer service, and got the same solution: buy another phone for 300$. I argued to get a replacement part or phone, as it wasn’t normal that through normal use, the plate had fallen off the phone after 12 days. They argued that I had put the plate on wrong. I said it was the Fido store representative that had assembled the phone for me. Getting no joy from one call-center employee, I called back a few times until I got someone more amenable. He said that because it had been less than two weeks since I’d bought the phone, he would send me a new one. It would take 10 working days, and I’d have to send my current phone back in the box provided.
Three months went by, no phone. I procrastinated because the phone worked fine without the plate.
A few weeks ago, the phone started having trouble charging. Thinking it might be due to the missing plate, I called Fido and asked them where the phone they were sending me was. They had no record of such a transaction, of course. I told the story and argued for a while, using my tactic of calling back to get another representative, and realized after speaking to a few that the most they were authorized to do for me was offer me a 50$ rebate on a new 300$ phone. So now, what I needed to do was get passed to a supervisor, who could do more.
Getting to speak to a supervisor can be difficult. The answer you typically get is, they won’t be able to do more. But you have two great assets on your side: the call-center employee has to keep call length to a minimum, and they’re not allowed to hang up on you.
Of course you have to invest some time, but call centers expect you to give up (and spend 300$ in this case). But this war of attrition is one you can easily win. And once in a while, you have to do it, if only for the principle.
This is what you do:
Before the call, prepare a nice, warm, cup of tea, take a comfortable seat and accept that you’ll have to invest time. You have it, they don’t. When they say “is there anything else I can do for you today?”, which means, “I need to hang up now”, you just take a deep breath and start telling your story again. Use the same arguments. As many times as it takes. Eventually, when the call length starts getting too long, the employee will want to pass you on to the supervisor in order to terminate the call. In some centers, calls beyond a certain length actually pop an alarm up on the supervisor’s console.
When I spoke to the supervisor, he was wonderfully helpful. He obviously had the clearances needed to give me the moon. He said it was possible to just purchase the plate (something I’d asked for at the Fido store in the first place), that it cost 8$ (not 300$), he checked and found that the downtown Fido store had plenty (hm, is it possible this happened not just to me?), and that he would credit my account 8$ so I wouldn’t have to pay for the plate.
Post Scriptum: In the face of such helpfulness, my reflex was to be thankful. But this only happened after at least 6 Fido employees tried to get me to buy a new phone. Is this any way to treat your clients, Fido? Bad dog!