My nightmare trying to claim O2 insurance (day 6)

On Saturday, I broke my iPhone by dropping it on the floor. It has a broken screen and I can’t use it. I have insurance with my phone provider, O2, so I assumed this would be easy to remedy.

On Sunday I went to an O2 store and explained the situation. The assistant there told me to ring O2’s insurance line, which I did in the store. On the phone, the advisor pointed out that I would need proof of purchase to go ahead, which the store could not offer as they only provide receipts for up to six months and my phone was purchased in 2016. It also transpired that my IMEI number does not match to the IMEI number O2 has on records for me. An IMEI number is a method of identification.

My IMEI number does not match for this reason: in 2016, I had an iPhone SE. When it was time to upgrade, I chose a Sony. The Sony broke in the first few weeks of having it – the screen peeled away. I went back to the O2 store to complain and the assistant swapped me back to an iPhone SE. However, this advisor did not register my new IMEI number on the account. Thus I have been paying insurance towards a different IMEI number for God knows how long. Essentially, it is an admin fault on the part of O2 that these details were not synced.

I explained this event in the store and the assistant passed me over to her manager, who then communicated on my behalf with an O2 phone advisor. The phone advisor seemingly understood the IMEI issue and remedied it. He went through my details and informed me they would update the system and send me a proof of purchase so I could go ahead. He said this would take 24 hours to go through. I waited. Nothing reached my email account.

So on Tuesday, I contacted an online advisor and relayed all the details of what had happened in the store. I said I hadn’t received my proof of purchase. They told me that they would send me a new one and were reassuring – telling me that it would come through.

On Wednesday, I had received no proof of purchase. So I contacted two new online O2 advisors. One told me that my proof of purchase could not go through because of the IMEI number sync issue. I was not happy about this response, seeing as I had explained the IMEI issue already in a store, and online, and been led to believe that this was fixed. I asked the online advisor to escalate the concern to their manager who gave me the same response. It shocked me that I had been given such contradictory feedback every step of the way. Two advisors gave me the impression my proof of purchase was coming through, along with the correct IMEI, two others said no to this.

I tried ringing insurance next, for want of knowing what to do. The conversation concluded in him telling me I couldn’t make an insurance claim, and that I needed to ring the store to get a proof of purchase.

I rang the store up again. The man who answered the phone said he couldn’t help me, as the proof of purchase records only go up to six months. Which, of course, I was told at the beginning, but I was running around in circles at this point. He told me he could not help and to phone customer service.

I rang up customer service and spoke to a nice woman. I explained to her all the difficulties I’d had, and the story of my IMEI number, and she seemed to understand this. She took my IMEI number down and said that she would put this through on the new proof of purchase. It seemed that everything had finally been solved!

I received my proof of purchase, and I rang up insurance. Insurance told me to forward my proof of purchase to an email address. The chap on the phone received my email, and said he would forward this on to the claims department. I asked him when I would know if my claim had been sorted, and he said that I needed to phone insurance. I pointed out my lack of phone, and asked if they could email. He said they would.

On Thursday, today, I had no such email. I phoned up an insurance advisor to ask what had happened to my claim. Astonishingly, she told me that they cannot put my claim through because they have the wrong IMEI number on their system for my phone.

I feel like I am in Groundhog day. I do not know how many more times I can recount the story of my IMEI, and when someone is going to actually listen and sort it out. Moreover, I cannot believe the amount of contradictory advice I have received. I pay O2 £10 a month for my insurance, which adds up.

I still don’t know what is happening with my phone, incidentally, so this blog can get longer. It’s up to O2…

Like I said, I would elongate this blog the longer my complaint was not settled.

A few facts I have learnt in the interim:

  • I have paid £210 towards insurance since I got it in September 2016.
  • My insurance is O2 premier insurance (trying not to laugh at the misuse of the word ‘premier’)

What happened on Thursday (day 5 of life without a phone):
So yesterday I posted this blog on Twitter, which always gets companies’ attention. O2 didn’t so much help, but sent me through some emojis, which I suppose they consider to be ‘customer service’. An advisor told me to message customer service privately on Twitter.

Among our many messages, my Twitter advisor told me “We’ll be back in touch ASAP”, and also “We’ll be in touch shortly” but this took 8 hours. I am getting used to O2’s generous definitions.

Eventually I decided to email O2’s customer service line repeatedly to make sure they would process my complaint.

Eventually a customer advisor got back to me, and said this:

“I would like the opportunity to discuss this matter further. I have attempted to contact you on the number provided, however, I have not been able to reach you and have left a voicemail.”

Funny, that… Because my mobile phone does not work!

Luckily I was able to find a landline to call this advisor from.

Do you remember that sketch in Little Britain called “computer says no”? It was very accurate for talking to this advisor, who also used: “broken record technique”, telling me over and over again that my insurance claim would not be processed because of the IMEI number syncing issue. I explained that three advisors had said that this would be fine to remedy, but she could not compute this, although she did admit that I had been “misadvised”. O2 can find that on the call if they want to… 

This advisor was suspicious that I had bought the phone from another store, and that this was the reason why O2 does not have my IMEI number. I told her over and over again that it was O2 who’d given it to me, and I have no interest wandering into the Apple shop, nor anywhere other than my provider, not least because I am completely disinterested in mobile phone stores, and this would be expensive for me. Seriously, what would be the point of that when I can get a free upgrade? I also have insurance so that if my phone breaks I can only get it through O2.

I pointed out three things to the advisor:

  • The current make of my model is the same was the model whose IMEI number is registered under my insurance. Therefore the repair would be exactly the same. The sensible thing for O2 to do would be to admit they had made the mistake of not registering my IMEI number correctly, and update this on my purchase form.
  • I have paid insurance since September 2016, so where has all this money gone?

Additionally, all of my bills are sent to my mobile phone number, so can O2 not track this link between my policy and the handset I am using? 

Today I have been texted by O2 twice, and have two missed calls from a number that looks like it may be O2. I’m not sure how many more times I can tell them that my phone is broken.

At this point, this is what O2 needs to do:

  • Switch the number on my proof of purchase to the correct IMEI number
  • Apologise to me
  • Fix my phone
  • Give me a temporary phone in the interim, complete with iPhone functions
  • Reimburse me for the 6 days I have been without a phone
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