Monday, November 5, 2012

What Happened With My Mobilicity Phone...

 Lots of people of been asking about this, so I figured I'd blog about it instead of telling the story over and over again.  Here it goes...

In January 2011 I switched from Rogers Wireless to Mobilicity. I was with Rogers from September 2003 until then... a long time!  I really liked my Blackberry with Rogers but I'd simply had enough with the stressful overages.  For over 7 years I had been paying nearly $115 a month, often far more (if I went over in minutes) and this didn't even include data.  I was hesitant to go with Mobilicity but I live right downtown and couldn't resist the price.

My Mobilicity phone plan includes everything;

- Unlimited data
- Unlimited texting
- Unlimited calling in the US and Canada 24/7

It's literally impossible to be charged more.  In the event that you roam, you pay into a "wallet" and the money comes out of there. When the money you add to the wallet is gone, you can't go over.

At the end of each month, I pay $44.10 (after all fees).  This has been a considerable financial improvement over Rogers Wireless.

When I started with Mobilicity I had to get a new phone, because you cannot use a Rogers Wireless phone on the Mobilicity network (they operate under a different frequency).  I chose the Blackberry Curve.  It wasn't the cheapest Blackberry, but also not the most expensive.

***From this point forward, I'm going to have to "guesstimate" dates until I can confirm with my Mobilicity Account the dates/exact time spans, etc.  ***

The Blackberry worked for a bit.  Then one day, a notification popped up on my phone and said that in order to use the phone it needed to be updated.  So of course, I updated it.  After the update had finished installing, my phone had a white screen. For hours the white screen stayed on the phone, and into the next day.  I took the phone to Mobilicity and told them what had happened.  They said the phone had a warranty and I could send the phone away, I'd be given a loaner phone, and then they'd get my phone fixed.  I said ok.  I was given a loaner phone (which by the way, was the cheapest of all phones) for ***2-3 weeks while my phone was fixed.  All the while, of course, I was paying for the Unlimited Blackberry plan even though for the duration of this month I did not have a phone capable of the features I was paying for.

When I got my phone back, I was really happy.  A few days passed.  Suddenly, a button stopped working on my phone.  Nothing happened to the phone, it didn't drop, it didn't get wet... I was cranky about this, but once again, I took the phone to Mobilicity.  They gave me a loaner phone, ***2-3 weeks passed, and I got my phone back.

Some time passed, I'm not sure how long.  Once again, the phone started breaking.  This time it wasn't getting calls, it was freezing, it was just screwing up left and right.  I did NOT want to deal with a loaner phone again, so I contacted Mobilicity and made this request:

I wanted to take the broken phone into Mobilicity and to be given a new phone on the spot, and they could send away my phone and do whatever with it. Fix it, refurbish it, throw it away, I didn't care. I emphasized that I did NOT want a used or refurbished phone because of all the trouble I had been having and they assured me that I would get a NEW phone.

It was like pulling teeth to see this through, but finally the manager of the Vancouver Corporate Store made it happen.  I was pleased.

A few weeks passed and the phone started doing some strange things... freezing, etc.  I would just take the battery out and things would go back to normal.  I had already been through so much with the thing that I didn't want to bother trading it in again even though it was under the warranty.  At least it was mostly functional right? And this was, after all, a NEW phone, right?  I chalked it up to Blackberries being awful and decided that with this NEW phone kicked the bucket I would just get a different brand.

Then, things started getting really strange...

Around 10 months ago or so, people started telling me that they would call me, call MY number, and they'd get a guy named "Larry."  Larry would tell them that he lived in Ontario and had his number for more than a decade.  He would say he had no idea who Monika was.  My mother-in-law was the first to tell me this, and then my RESP guy, my bank, other friends, etc.  I thought for sure that it had something to do with them calling the wrong number, using the wrong area code, or had something to do with where they were calling from (Vancouver Island, etc).    I tried dialing my number from my own phone, but I just got my voicemail.  I couldn't reach this Larry person on purpose.

One day on Vancouver Island, I decided to try calling my phone. My phone was off. Guess who I got? Larry.  Larry wouldn't talk to me, he was just irate that someone else had been calling for Monika, and he hung up.  I called my number back, and just got myself.

Sometime in early spring of 2012, I called Mobilicity about this.    The first time I called, they told me this was:

- The first time this had EVER happened in the history of Mobilicity
- That this was IMPOSSIBLE

They said it was going to be sent to escalations and that someone would be calling me within 10 days.

Several weeks passed (a month? 2 months?) and I had let it go.  Then, again, more people started telling me they were reaching Larry.  I called Mobilicity again.  My complaints were met with the same sentiment:

- This is impossible
- This is unheard of
- We are sorry but we have no idea why this would happen

I was starting to get annoyed... after all, I wasn't making this up.  Also, it's a pretty big deal that people are calling my number and NOT reaching me, but being told they are reaching a wrong number.  I started to get concerned because we had been applying to housing co-ops for a while and goodness knows how many of them had contacted us for interviews only to be greeted by this Larry guy and told they had the wrong number.

I called Mobilicity a third time.  Each of these times, I should mention, they did a "network reset."  I'm not really sure what it means, but supposedly it should have fixed this problem.  Of course, it didn't.

Over the past few most recent months, my phone has continued to act completely crazy with the freezing.  Sometimes I would look at the phone and see the time was a few hours earlier, having been frozen for the bulk of an afternoon, not getting texts or phone calls to me.  I'd then take the battery out and all of a sudden I'd be inundated with texts and voicemails.

The worst was that I'd be getting texts at all hours of the day, because there started to be a 12-24 hour delay.  The nature of my work (family child care) means that I communicate with parents via text during the day so they can check in on their kids or tell me they are coming early, etc.  One night I got a text from a client at 11pm.  The text read "we are on our way!"  This would have been a normal next around that time... on a night where I actually had their kid!!! This text was actually from the night before.  I had a minor panic that they thought I had their child but it turned out it was just an old text. Things like this started to happen pretty regularly and it started to get annoying.

This weekend I noticed 24 hours went by where my phone didn't ring, and I received no texts.  My updates seemed to be working fine (using FB and Twitter) but nothing was being sent to me.  I called Mobilicity in the afternoon and once again, they had no information to offer me. At this point... well, you see the above? I got to explain ALLLLL of that to ALLLLL of them EVERY TIME I CALLED.  Nice, right?  Exhausting is more like it.  Anyhow, they said it sounded like my phone needed a "master reset" and that I should call back from another phone later in the day to do this.

I was somewhat beside myself about it at this point... was this a problem with my phone? Was this a problem with Mobilicity? Why couldn't anyone tell me what was happening? 

This evening, I called Mobilicity from Morgan's WIND Mobile phone and I was patched through to Technical Assistance to do the master reset.  I talked to a guy named Collin.  Collin asked me if my phone had ever been set up to do "call forwarding."  Call forwarding is a feature that directs a call to another phone line in the event that your phone is busy or off the network.  In the case of Mobilicity, this would happen when I'm dialing, when I'm in the Skytrain, or a parking garage, or certain stores (Winners, London Drugs, etc), or roaming without money in my "wallet."  I told him again, no.  I also mentioned this was a NEW phone.

He had me go into the "Options" menu on my phone and go into "Call Management" and "Call Forwarding."  It said it was "querying call forwarding parameters from the network" and had me wait.   When the menu loaded, it said:

Forward Calls: Conditional
If Busy: X.XXX.XXX.XXXX  (a number I had never heard of)
If No Reply: X.XXX.XXX.XXXX (the same number I had never heard of)
If Not Reachable: X.XXX.XXX.XXXX  (Yep, the same number I had never heard of)

Seriously?  My first thought was that this must be the Mobilicity voicemail number.  But nope, it wasn't.  Whose number was it?

You guessed it... LARRY.

I looked the number up on Google and sure enough, it's an Ontario number. Mobilicity confirmed this wasn't a Mobilicity number, so guess what?
Remember the new phone I was given way back when to make up for all my troubles? It wasn't new after all.  The tech guy said it sounds like it was left over from the person who had the phone before me. OOOOPS Mobilicity!

So all these months, all these missed calls/texts/etc that have all been going to a random dude named Larry, that it took months to figure out but less than 10 minutes for Collin in Tech Support, could have been avoided if Mobilicity had just made good on their word and been honest with me and given me a NEW phone as promised.

I'm not really mad at Mobilicity itself, but I am furious with the employee (a representative and agent of Mobilicity) who dishonestly gave me the used trouble phone.

I was thrilled to get to the bottom of this, because FINALLY it was confirmed that I wasn't completely insane and imagining this, and neither were my friends and family (I had suggested more than once that they were probably just dialing the wrong number).  I was also thrilled to know it wasn't just a case of a crummy Blackberry.

The second I got off the phone with tech support, I called Customer Service.  It was after 7pm so I figured I wouldn't get a manager, but surely this is enough of an issue that they'd do something to compensate me, right?

They offered me a $10 credit.

No there are no zeroes missing... that's TEN DOLLARS.  To be fair, these are the night shifts and the management and supervisors with the cushy 9-5 hours were gone, and was 10pm in Ontario when I was calling.  At any rate, I declined this $10 and said I would call back tomorrow and talk to a supervisor, which I will.

I will also be calling Larry, to let him know about this.  Poor grumpy Larry, who has been called at 10pm, 11pm, midnight... all because I was in the skytrain or something and someone was trying to reach my phone.

I'm hoping I can be compensated for this trouble (and the dishonesty) somehow, and I'm hoping to get money refunded for this phone, which I will put toward a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which I think will have more reliable support than this cursed Blackberry.  My main gripes are:

-  The guy at the Vancouver Corporate store outright lied to me about giving me a new phone
- For months people acted like I was lying/insane/imagining things when I complained about this happening and no one could be bothered to follow up with me about it
- I had spent hours on hold and had to talk for long periods of time with 5+ people only to accomplish nothing, and then this Collin guy managed to figure the problem out in less than 10 minutes

I suspect it will be an uphill battle to get this, because it's been nothing but an uphill battle until this point, but I've come this far, right?

So that's why you haven't been able to get a hold of me sometimes.  Sorry about that!

Now, dozens of times in the past 2 years, I've recommended Mobilicity (based on price) and on service because I thought it was just that Blackberry was awful.  When people complain about their cell phone bulls I chime in "you should get Mobilicity, it's great!' and when people ask me about it, I tell them it's awesome.  From this point forward, how I answer that question will depend on how Mobilicity decides to correct this ridiculous situation. 

So that's what happened with my phone.


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