When your smartphone kicks the bucket, you’d hope your contract provider would be there to offer a suitable replacement. Unfortunately, that’s not the experience of two of my fellow Which? colleagues.
Aniela’s old-school replacement
I had to take my Samsung smartphone in for repair at O2 last week. Please note the word ‘smart’. When asked if I wanted a replacement phone I said, of course, and the sales assistant took a £25 deposit. The assistant then went out to fetch my replacement phone from the back room.
When she opened the box in front of me it was like stepping back in time. The phone had buttons, a tiny screen and its main selling features seemed to be an inbuilt mp3 player. Great if I was in search of props for a movie set in the noughties; not so great for replacing my smartphone.
I asked how O2 could offer this as a replacement phone (or a ‘courtesy phone’ as the sales assistant kept calling it) and was told this was the standard replacement phone.
Huh? To me it doesn’t seem quite right for my provider to offer these old phones when most people today have smartphones. A quick glance at the phones on display revealed nothing but sleek and shiny smartphones, making the situation even more ironic.
I was told that O2 would have to take higher deposits to provide smartphones as replacements. I’d gladly pay a higher deposit to be able to use all the services that I’m currently paying O2 for, rather than being stuck with the relic they gave me.
Now, I suppose I should count myself lucky for getting a replacement phone at all – as my colleague Jen was less fortunate…
Jen’s non-existent replacement phone
I called T-Mobile to let the company know, and it offered two options. The first was having a ‘silver bag’ sent to my house so I could send my phone in the post. The second was to go into one of its branches, receive a courtesy phone and have one of their staff send the phone off for me. I chose the second option because, like Aniela, I needed a replacement.
However, it simply wasn’t to be. I headed to my local T-Mobile store, where I was told they didn’t have any spare loan phones. I was also told that any phone I did get would be a basic text-and-call only model. Considering I wasn’t going to receive any reimbursement for the time apart from my phone, I felt pretty put out.
So I decided to try another T-Mobile store. This store didn’t have a loan phone either, but as my patience was wearing thin, I decided to send my phone off anyway. However, this wasn’t to be either, as the ‘computer said no’. The assistant informed me that he’d sent off ‘loads of phones’ that morning and was none the wiser as to why it wouldn’t work with me. His manager said I’d simply have to try again another day.
Frustrated and deflated, I called T-Mobile again and asked for a silver bag. I received the bag, sent off the phone and received my phone back in full-working order approximately two weeks later. T-Mobile made no apologies, gave no refund and the staff made me feel like they were doing me a favour.
Have you had any similar experiences? What do you expect from a replacement phone? Would you be willing to leave a higher deposit to get a phone similar to yours?