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This blog captures the musings and anecdotes of the daily life of a Malaysian who is now living in Melbourne, Australia.


Three: Discourages Customers from Unlocking Phones?

Recently I ported my mobile number over to Three. Being in Sydney, it's more economically flexible to subscribe to Three, as most of my friends were on Three.

Having been on Optus for the past four years (2006, when I was at Uni), this is my first time I have changed network providers. In Australia, that is. Before porting my number, I called up all my friends on Optus to use up my minutes (300 minutes at that!).

Inherently, Toowoomba, and those in Queensland are huge fans of Optus. So was Tasmania, as Optus was second best to Telstra (whom I heard was really pricey), and Three was almost hopelessly non-existent in Hobart.

So, you're on THREE?
Last night, my housemate, JC, called up Three to request for unlocking of her phone. Having been on Optus, I found the entire experience unsatisfactory. Unsavory, for lack of a better word.

In my entire time with Optus, I've not had that many bad CSR (Customer Service Representative) experiences. Apart from the whole Customer Service being hosted off-shore (India, as most telecommunications networks now are), I've not had any CSRs questioning my intention in unlocking my prepaid phones.

Unlocking the THREE phone...
So there was JC, her first time unlocking her phone. She had to go through the whole routine where she calls up the CS, and they asked the routine questions like her account pin, (and other security questions). JC comes from South Korea where phone services operate on similar platform to Japan's Docomo's, where phones are locked to a particular network and do not operate on a SIM card basis, so she was not familiar with this.

JC was informed by the CSR at the Three shop that unlocking it would be a breeze. As JC was on a contract basis with Three, she was informed that the procedure could be done at least two weeks (for new phone models, I guess?)

To the uniniated, unlocking the phone is not difficult a procedure. It only just involves a number of procedure, being:
  • unlocking code, and also, 
  • an alternate mobile phone number so that the Tele-CSR can assist her on the procedure.
JC has two phones.
1) Nokia E-Series model mobile (a recent model)
2) LG Viewty GU990 (a two year old model)

Nokia E-Series model

So, the routine security questions were asked.

*ding dong ding dong*

CSR: Oh, why are you trying to unlock the phone?
JC: I'm going overseas.
CSR: But we have roaming services.
JC: Well, I still want to unlock it (and roaming is expensive anyways!)

*Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle* (after about 5 minutes)

CSR: Oh, I'm sorry, but we are unable to help you. Our team will get back to you in 96 hours (that's like four  days!)
JC: Okay, but I have another phone I need to unlock here as well.
CSR: Ok, we'll settle the Nokia case first before we work on that, okay?
JC: Uhh..

And the phone went dead......


LG Viewty
So I keyed in *#06# on her LG Viewty and asked her to write down the IMEI number (Serial number of her mobile), which she did.  

Undeterred, JC decided to call Three Customer Care again. I told her I hoped we get another CSR.

*Ring Ring*

The same series of security questions were asked.

JC: Hi, I want to unlock my phone.
CSR: Oh, you're the one who called earlier. We are working on the case..
JC: Yes, and I have another phone in my account as well too.. 

*Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle Ding Dong Ding Dong*

CSR: We'd need another phone number to call you.
JC gave them my contact number.
So, in less than 5 minutes time, the LG Viewty was unlocked. JC thanked the CSR (the second polite one) and put the phone down.

So we inserted my former Optus SIM card into the LG Viewty mobile, and it ran. Yeah.

In Conclusion....

JC: I didn't know it was this easy!

So, in conclusion, Three's retailers and stockists tells clients that unlocking the phone is easy, but when it comes right down to it, Three's Customer Care CSR's will make it difficult for clients to.

And which is the party who put the CSRs to it? Three's management, of course. They can't operate independently of Three's directive.

I'm giving the Three Care up till Monday night to revert to us. If not, I'll PERSONALLY ensure that she calls them again.

Don't think we're clients who don't know our rights. If we're unhappy, we'll switch.

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