Has anyone else had this experience? I have been trying to access my mobile phone bill online for ages. Every time I write in my user name and password and press submit, I get an error message. Of course, the mobile company, one of the biggest in the UK send me texts telling me my bill is ready to view and pay by a direct debit that has paid up faithfully for over two years, yet I am never able to see it.

Yesterday, in desperation I dialled their magic number on my mobile and after waiting ten minutes, a man with a loud voice answered my call. In a very dismissive manner, he asked me what I wanted. I explained. He then went through a long list of questions to make sure I was who I said I was. Once that was over, the next thing I got was a sales pitch and this explanation of why I could not access my bill online. It seems I had to purchase a NEW CONTRACT before I could see my bill. With the contract I had, I would not be able to see my bill. I said that surely, it really didn’t matter what contract I had, I should be able to see my bill, otherwise how would I know what I had spent? Nope. Not good enough. The only way I could see my bill was to agree to this new contract.

I refused and after 20 minutes of persuasion, which to me felt like as a good dose of bullying, I was told that I would be put through to the Technical Team. I said I didn’t want to talk to the Technical Team, I wanted to speak to a manager or his Team Leader who I felt might help me THE CUSTOMER and give me what I wanted. Nope. That wasn’t possible. I insisted. Nope. I insisted again. Nope. I continued to insist. Now 40 minutes of my life (and his) had disappeared. I can’t actually remember the details of the argument that ensued, but there was an argument and what I do remember was that I was defending myself and my requests were being ignored.

Eventually, I was put on hold while very loud rock music blasted my left ear. After another 15 minutes, my call handler came back and said: ‘They are all in a meeting.’ Every single manager? All the Team leaders? All in the same meeting? Yep. My blood pressure was climbing and having taken a long deep breath to avert a stroke, I gave the man my landline number. ‘Please get a manager to call me back?’ I said, as calmly as I could. He then told me that he would mark my file with the note: ‘ Refused help.’ At this point, I hung up and staggered upstairs for a lie down.

Once recovered, I wrote to the Chief Executive and the Customer Communications Manager, explaining the debacle and requesting my account be closed. I then wrote it all up and sent the saga to OFCOM.

I have been a loyal customer to this mobile phone company for many years. It’s time to move on. Their call handler was robotic, rigid, bullish and appeared to have one thing on his mind – selling me a new contract. It’s Pay-as-you-go for me, from now on.


In the UK we subscribe to a server to access the World Wide Web, and it isn’t cheap. We trust them with our bank details and our trust. Yet recently, one of the biggest Internet provider has upset a great many of their customers by their lack of security and chaotic management and customer service. They have lost over 100,000 customers and those stalwarts who have stayed with them, like me and mine, have now decided to leave, too.

I won’t go into the details of how customers have been affected by this company, but criminals and fraudsters have managed to infiltrate customer’s computers pretending to be employees of the company in phone calls. In my own case, the final straw was a sales pitch to sell me un upgrade by a woman in a far away country who promised me the earth that turned out to be pie in the sky. I have now changed to another Internet provider and I am hoping that all will go smoothly and my connection date will happen!

I cannot fathom why these huge companies cannot get their act together. Could it be, like most companies of this size, the customer is not the main focus? It’s the profits that matter most and making bigger and bigger profits each year, however that is achieved, if the goal. I concede that for any business, profits are important. They drive investment and keep shareholders happy. But why can’t these companies strike a happy medium – make reasonable profits while also delivering what their customers want and should have. After all, it’s the customer who pays regular direct debits that keeps the business going – it’s raison d’etre for existing, if you will.

Ethical practice in a business is vitally important. I am concerned that ethics have been eroded and the pursuit of money is all that matters and I am sorely angry about that!