Sunday, 3 January 2010

Sorry Sir, you can't port your number out, "honest"!

Someday last October I made the decision to get N900 on contract, however I also wanted to keep my current mobile number that I've had with T-Mobile for several years. The trick was that an online retailer where I pre-ordered the device didn't offer upgrades on T-Mobile - only new contracts. For some weird and wonderful reason, T-Mobile also isn't able to cancel existing connection, free of fixed-term contract and migrate my number to the new 18-month contract. Anyhow, there is a workaround - get a new T-Mobile contract with new number, port my current number out to different network's prepaid service and once that's done (ie. within 2-3 working days), port it back from there to that new T-Mobile contract I've got with N900. Simples.

Mysterious 30-days rule...

So, once I've got new contract, I've called T-Mobile's CS and got PAC code for my current mobile number which I then used to port the number to Vodafone's pay-as-you-go service. However, while I was dealing with Vodafone customer service dept. porting my number into their network, I was told that I won't be able to port it out from Vodafone for another 30 days. Allegedly that was because of  "the rules that apply to all UK networks", which basically meant I'm going to get stuck with them for another month. However, I carried on with the process, simply believing maybe there really is that kind of "rule" in place.

...that doesn't exist

However, I have started to Google around and found pretty interesting Ofcom page with official guidelines for mobile number portability process in the UK. I went through them and guess what - there was no 30-days period "rule"! Moreover, according to these guidelines, any UK mobile network is obliged to provide a PAC code to customer within less than 2 working days, which sounds pretty far from 30.

Once I knew they were simply lying to me, I was patiently waiting until porting process from T-Mobile to Vodafone completes so then I could strike back.

Let me lie to you again, Sir

Once I've got my number properly ported to Vodafone, I called Voda's CS and asked for PAC, but I was told that specific department which deals with number porting is normally opened until 8pm, while I called after 9pm. Fair enough. Called again the next day, exactly at 6:55pm and the initial conversation was along these lines:
- Hi, I'd like to get a PAC code for my number.
- Sorry Sir, but the porting department is now closed.
- What do you mean? I called yesterday and I was told it's opened until 8pm.
[a while of silence]
- Oh, yes. Let me put you through...
Yay! Another lie in the name of keeping customer within a fence for at least another day! Such a shame, as I always thought Vodafone is the most "serious" mobile network operator around.

Anyhow, as I've been put through to correct department, I didn't say anything about my previous experience - simply asked for PAC and was waiting for that "30 day rule" to come up again. But... it just didn't happen. Apparently, Vodafone has forgotten what they said less than week before and they have given PAC code without much hesitation after just 2 days of my number's existence in their system! OK, the guy tried to put me off from leaving them ("maybe we could match the deal from other network?") but obviously I didn't listen.

Happy Ending?

My number is back where it should be, so I achieved what I really wanted and it took about a week altogether - instead of a month, as Vodafone insisted. However, what I would never-ever expect to happen is that customer service representatives are ready to simply lie straight into face of their customers, just in sake of squeezing few extra quids off them. This is simply disgusting.

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