donderdag 24 oktober 2013

Breaking things

When going to camp with your scouts, all kinds of things can happen to you. You can fall and break something, you can end up in a ditch, you can become the target of some vicious pranks, or you can drop your phone and crack the screen.

A lot of smartphones, lately, seem to have a very weak screen. I see a lot of people walking around with a huge crack in their iPhone, scratches all around, and all that kind of things. When I got my phone, together with a contract with my provider, I immediately said I wanted to insure the phone in case something bad happens to it that wouldn’t be covered by the store guarantee. It seemed like a legit thing to do at the time.

So, when I went to scouting camp, I dropped my phone on a concrete floor. The result was a huge crack in the screen, which was very much made of glass, and which made handling the phone more than a little uncomfortable. Besides the fact that my fingers kept getting stuck behind the little ridges that were created, I was also very much afraid of cutting myself on the undoubtedly sharp edges that could get uncovered at any unlucky moment. The screen definitely had to be fixed.
Now, I wasn’t quite capable of returning to the store with the broken phone during the camp. I had some responsibilities there while walking around that required me to be available to know what time it is, and people would also need to be able to communicate with me over distance. The phone was one of the things I absolutely couldn’t miss.

So, I immediately went to the store the Monday after camp and went to the repair desk. I showed the guy the phone, the crack, told him the make, and awaited the verdict. He basically told me that they would have to order a new screen and then affix it, which I was fine with. The phone still worked, I was just afraid of a few cuts, so I was willing to wait a few days.
Then he told me that he wasn’t able to order a new screen and that he’d have to send it out to their (external) fixing service. I agreed, a little reluctantly, because he told me it’d take them ten business days to fix the phone, but it was either that or not fixing the broken phone, so I chose the lesser of two evils.
I was insured, after all…

The next day, I received a pricing from the company that was going to fix my phone. Still, I wasn’t expecting anything to go wrong, because I hadn’t paid off the own risk part of my insurance. I knew there were going to be some costs.
I hadn’t expected them to send me the pricing for the full repair, so I sent an e-mail to the contact address that was provided with the pricing mail, asking them to explain why my insurance wasn’t calculated into the price. I received an automated ‘we’ve got your mail, and answer it when we feel like it’ message and started the waiting game.

After four days, I figured I had waited for about long enough. I returned to the store, where the same guy as the last time was dealing with the repair booth. I asked my question to him, and he told me that I should have collected a claim number from my insurance before I let him send out the phone. He let me call the insurance from the store phone and I had the insurance generate a claim number, but they told me that they would have to validate my claim by human hands before I could get the number, which would take about two business days.
I found it a little strange that I had to do that before handing out the phone, considering the fact that having to wait two days for the insurance slows the service down considerably. What I was also wondering was why this wasn’t added automatically, because I had purchased the insurance from the provider itself. It would’ve been a lot more convenient, at least.

I actually received the claim number from the insurance the next day, Saturday, and I finally got an answer to my first question from the repair company that evening telling me what I had already learned from the store. I immediately replied the claim number towards them and expected them to react with a little haste.

So, fast-forward to Thursday.

I had been without a phone for nearly two weeks. A lot of things happen through my phone for me. All my Google accounts required verification in two steps, which made it impossible for me to log in to anything that belonged to Google. My finances were stopped dead, because I couldn’t transfer money without the codes that were sent to my mobile phone by my bank. Communication with my fellow scouting leaders had ground to a halt, because they preferred WhatsApp over e-mail.
Thankfully, I was able to disable the verification in two steps after a lengthy process with Google that required me to wait four days, so I could continue my school work more or less unhindered, but the financial and communication things were still a bit of an issue. I realized that I could go back to the store again and see if I could get a replacement phone, which would at least get me back in the communication again.
Well, no such luck. At the store, they told me that I didn’t have a replacement option in my plan, which would cost me an additional €2,50 per month. Also, I couldn’t get a replacement at that time, because it was only possible to have a replacement phone delivered to them by the same courier that would pick up the phone. The best they could do was give me a new SIM card and I would buy a new, cheap phone that would help me along until my phone was repaired.
Now, I still had my old SIM card, I had taken it out of my phone before I handed it in, but it was one of the new, smaller SIM cards, so it didn’t fit in my old smartphone, which still uses the old, larger SIM cards. This new card I was handed, though, was a large one that could be punched out to become a smaller one. I immediately pushed it into my old phone, which I had been using as a glorified MP3-player up until then, and it worked, so now I have my previous phone back while waiting for the repairs to complete.

When I got back, I wrote a complaint about the lack of information I had been receiving during the process that made me run around and get frustrated on the company’s facebook page, which garnered me a reaction from someone who knew someone who used to work for the repair company that my provider had sent my phone to and which took more than its time to answer my questions. That person linked me a forum that had customer reviews from the repair company, and basically, it scared the living shit out of me. A lot of complaints about machines disappearing, claims made by the company that the owner had given them permission to recycle their phone, and a lot of unbased claims of water damage.
It kind of makes me afraid of how my phone will be returned to me…

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