Last week, I had a fascinating conversation with a call centre executive. Make that four fascinating conversations. For once, I was the one making the call to the Vodafone network to block my sim card after I lost my phone. “Can you verify your details?” asked the executive. Date of birth, tick correct. Billing address, tick correct. “Phone number,” asked the youngster. I gave him my office number. Silence. “Any other number?” he asked. I tried the one at my residence. Silence again. “I’m very sorry ma’am but your details don’t match so we cannot process your request. Please call again,” he told me firmly. It had taken me 15 minutes to get past the answering services and reach a human voice and I wasn’t ready to let him slip away so easily. And I was still recovering from the shock that while eating popcorn and watching Sherlock Holmes in a movie hall, somebody swiped my phone from the space reserved to keep the Coke.
I’ve switched three homes and two jobs since I first got a mobile in 2000, I told him, and I don’t remember what number I registered then. Ask me other questions, I pleaded. Deaf ears again. I tried a couple of half-hearted threats but knew I was beaten. To add insult to injury, he rounded off our singularly unhelpful conversation with: “Thank you for calling Vodafone, we’re happy to help.”
Anyone who’s tried to get anything done by calling a credit card or cellphone call