I've been a customer for around 9 months. When the Nokia E71 was introduced to Straight Talk a few weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to have one. Now, I wish I never bothered.
It all started with me porting my number from the LG220 to the E71. Since the E71 requires the $45 unlimited plan and I was currently on the $30 plan, the representatives couldn't figure out how to switch me over. After being transferred 2 times, the third person I spoke with figured it out, and so my adventure began.
Total phone time: 1.25 hours
To my surprise, my old phone started working about 24 hours later (I was told it could be up to 72 hours). I switched on my E71 and started fiddling around. The first thing I noticed was that the internet didn't work. I kept getting a data packet error. This was affecting any application that needed data. So it was back to the hellhole that they call customer service. The first call I made went to a woman, who clearly had no idea- turn your phone off, turn it back on, rinse, and repeat. She finally gave up and told me to call Nokia.
Total phone time: .50 hours
I called Nokia and right off the bat knew that it was a waste of time. The gentleman ran me through a few trouble shooting tips, but told me only my service provider could fix it- it wasn't a phone problem. He wished me luck. Unfortunately, my luck had run out.
Total phone time: .25 hours
So I called ST back and got someone new. Same drill – turn phone off, turn it back on, take the battery out, put me on hold "for 3 minutes". Of course this didn't work, so I was transferred to someone else. This new gentleman really wanted to help me. He must have put me on hold 20 separate times. And what do you know after over 3 hours he got it to start receiving data. I felt like I had been beaten up, but I thanked him and thought that was that.
Total phone time: 3.25 hours
That next morning, I woke up to find that my data no longer worked. I was at my wits end, but hesitantly called them again as what else was I going to do. After another attempted battery removal session (I refused this time), they told me to take it back and get another.
Total phone time: .5 hours
So off I went to walmart to by another E71. I put the money upfront and was going to carry two phones around until my new one worked (the old one could still make and receive calls). So after calling back for the 5th time, I told customer service what I wanted to do. At first I was told that my phone plan had expired. Could that be right? I had just paid them $75 dollars in the last 10 days for phone plans, how could it be expired. She looked at it for a while and "figured it out", but of course she couldn't help me switch phones. She would need to transfer me for that. The next girl I spoke with tried but couldn't help me either, so I had to go to "tier 2" support. Tier 2 was very friendly as I told him I wanted to transfer my number from one E71 to the other. After about 10 minutes everything was complete. He told me to wait an hour and then turn on my new phone.
Total phone time: 1.25 hours
I turned on my new E71 and low and behold, it worked. At this point, I no longer needed my other phone, so I took it back to Walmart.
Well about 3 hours later after I hadn't received any calls, I had a feeling something was wrong. I borrowed a phone from a friend and called my phone – It didn't ring. What? Not again.
So it was back to calling ST. The girl I spoke with assured me that the phone worked. She tried to call me and it didn't ring. She didn't know what was wrong- so her advice (don't hold your breath) - turn it off and turn it back on. At this point, all I could do was laugh. It was an angry laugh, but a laugh nonetheless. She told me that she would make some adjustments in the system and to cut my phone on in 15 minutes and call back if it didn't work. Was this just her way of getting rid of the problem? Probably.
Total phone time: .75 hours
Deep down, I knew what she was doing, but I agreed, knowing that if I had to call back I wouldn't take no for an answer. After 15 minutes, I cut the phone on and what do you know, it still didn't ring. I did a little investigating on my own. Called the cell phone that I had borrowed and it rang. Only problem was that the number on the caller ID wasn't mine. Oh no! The new phone number had an area code in Mississippi (601). I lived in South Carolina. Huge problem - I use my phone for work, and everyone I call on has the number. I cannot have a different number, especially one in Mississippi.
I call back – this time not laughing angry, but angry angry. The first guy (Ernesto) I get keeps telling me how sorry he is. As I ask to speak with a manager 20 times, he tells me he can help me 20 times. We go back and forth and my anger grows. I end up letting him help me. At first he tells me I can't get my number back- that I shouldn't have taken my old phone back before my new one started working. I tell him how wrong he is and he acts like he doesn't hear me. After a back and forth that lasted for hours, as I keep telling him I'm not getting off the phone until I get my old number back, I don't care how they do it, I get transferred to a manager. Her name is Christine. She does tell me she can get my number back, but tells me it is going to be a week as they have to get a new SIM card and Fed Ex it through the corporate office. I tell her this is unacceptable as I need it sooner. Christine won't budge. No sympathy, no nothing. I ask for the corporate number and she begrudgingly gives it to me. As we hang up, she says she will try to speed up the process, but can't guarantee anything.
Corporate office – closed for the day
I send an email to corporate that has yet to receive a response.
Total phone time: 3.25 hours
The next evening I call the corporate office and ask them to look into things. The woman (Benjielyn), after looking at my account, tells me "I don't see any cases opened on your account, how can I help you". At this point, I'm glad their office isn't in South Carolina, because I don't know what I'd do. I tell her to get Christine on the phone right now. She says she can't. I ask her why and she replies "We have a lot of managers named Christine and I don't know which one it is". We argue for a little bit over the ridiculousness of her statement as she keeps telling me I should've gotten Christine's extension. Now it's her turn to help me. I ask to speak to a manager, but no one will come to the phone. So she takes down my information and gives me a case number. As I'm hanging up, I ask for her extension – "oh, I don't have one". Once again, I'm speechless.
Someone in the corporate office calls me right back. Monica, who seems helpful and intelligent, is now on my case. She will give me a call the next morning. I still am angry, but relieved that this may get resolved.
Total phone time: .75 hours
The next morning comes and goes with no calls. I decide after lunch to call her instead. First you have to get through corporate customer service, which is no easy task. After that you have the pleasure of going straight to her voice mailbox. How is she supposed to answer if it never rings? After my forth attempt and second message, she calls me back. "I keep getting an error when we try and port your number. My supervisor is looking into this. I get off work in one hour and I'm off Saturday and Sunday so first thing Monday we'll get back on this." NOOOOOOO!!! I can't take it anymore. I plead with Monica to help me. She says she'll call me back in twenty minutes. One hour goes by and my phone rings (is a ST employee actually working late?). It's Monica and she's got some (good?) news. My current number is getting cut off and they are overnighting me a SIM card with my old number.
So that's where we are now. I guess that's ok except I'm sitting here without a working phone. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Fingers crossed.
Total phone time .25 hours
TOTAL phone time all days – 12 HOURS
Follow up to this:
Got my SIM card Sat morning. Called ST and they couldn't get it to work. The guy told me they would fed ex me another one on Monday. Of course this wasn't acceptable. We argued and he told me I could buy a third phone and they would activate that with my old number.
So off to Wal-Mart for my third phone. Called ST- first girl said we can't do that please hold for a manager. Manager answered and acted like he couldn't hear me. I called back, after another 30 minutes; the guy got my new phone working with my old number. Hurray! Now to set it up. Well what do you know the data doesn't work. Most people would give up at this point, but I'm too deep into this now. I call back and tell them it has to be something with my old number. After the old standby of turning it off and back on twice, he tweaks something in my account and fixes my data problem. It's now Wednesday and I haven't had any problems since. Fingers crossed.
The most frustrating thing about ST customer service is when you call in the person you talk with has no idea what anyone else has told you, or what problems you're having. You have to start each call explaining what's going on and then have the person on the other end stutter, put you on hold, and then ask you questions that you've answered many times before. I guess you get what you pay for. For ST to offer low prices, they have to cut corners somewhere, and that somewhere is Customer Service.