I have been a customer of O2 for many years now, my company has a business account with them, having tried out most other providers over the years, they were all truly awful when it came to customer service, and O2 seemed like the best of a bad bunch. For the most I rarely ever had to contact them, so never had much to complain about, but this all started to change back in 2013 when I started to have reasons to contact O2 customer service, and realized just how bad it was, and it seems to get worse each time I contact them. What follows is 3 examples of the best trials & tribulations they have put me through. The most ironic thing is that they call these people gurus ?

The number transfer tribulation

this is a long story cut short, this one dragged on for weeks and weeks.

In 2013 my company acquired another company who also used O2, the previous owner of which transferred all his numbers away to another account, which as we found out some months later, included the number of an employee who was still working for us. So I contacted O2 and explained the situation, and the guy arranged to get the number transferred back (or so he said) and stated that it should be done within a few days.
So several days later I call back to find out the status of the transfer, only to be told there is no record of any transfer or any such conversation taking place, and that it is not even possible to do this so I must be mistaken and must have imagined the whole conversation I had with the O2 guy a few days ago. They told me I could not have the number back because it was in someone else’s account, they had no record of it ever being in our account to begin with, and I would need to provide them with those account details and the password, which of course was impossible as I had no way to know those details. I suggested they simply contact the account holder and speak with him and he would realize he had mistakenly transferred a number he shouldn’t have and would agree to transfer it back. But no that would be too easy, they wouldn’t do that, so I suggested they call the number of the phone in question and speak to the user who would also confirm his number was transferred in error, but no they wouldn’t do that either. Instead I had to just through all kinds of hoops for several weeks, each time having to explain the problem all over a again to each person I spoke to, in the end I had to just give up and go down a different route as O2 simply couldn’t or wouldn’t sort it out.
You would think it would be easy to transfer a number from one O2 account to another, but no. What I had to do was go and pick-up a free Tesco SIM card, and ask the employee to contact his old boss and ask for a transfer token, which he then gave to me, and I transferred the number over to Tesco. Then once it had been transferred to Tesco, get another transfer token and transfer it back to our O2 account, absolutely ridiculous.

The McAfee Enigma

The last time I did a phone upgrade, O2 offered me a bundle with included McAfee for up to 5 devices for less than it would have cost to NOT take it. Before you smite me for being foolish, let me first say that I am not a fan of McAfee anyway, my experience with McAfee software are up there with Symantec, i.e.  install it at your own peril, and my experience with McAfee customer support is AVOID AT ALL COSTS. However I decided that I could just use it on mobile devices such as my kids tablets and phones, and if I had any problems I would only have to deal with O2, so it would be ok, its just a mobile app, how bad could it be, oh how silly I was.

The first brick wall was even getting the license activated, which was a challenge in itself. Firstly O2 sent me incorrect login details which did not work, it turns out you have to be a bit of a clairvoyant and figure out that they insert an extra word into your username which you have to remove, but they didn’t even know this, I had to figure it out and tell them. So sirely every single customer they sign up must be having this same issue ?

When you finally get into your O2 apps account, you then have to create another user for yourself to assign the licenses to. I tried to do this 10 times and it would not accept my email address saying that the user already existed.  I contacted O2 support and spoke to some lady who informed me that when this happens, all they can do is cancel the account, and then I have to wait 30 days for it to expire and then get a new account. She also said I would have to use a different email address as McAfee do not allow you to signup more than once with the same address (all of this was nonsense).
I found this quite unbelievable, as she had made no effort to troubleshoot the problem at all and I did not believe for a minute this would solve the problem, and surely if I had to use a different email address in 30 days, then I could just use that email address right now to get a new account, but no supposedly this was not possible in O2 bizarro world.
So I wait 30 days, and then I get some new account details, and lo and behold, to the exact same email address as before, the username was wrong yet  again, so they still hadn’t fixed that problem, it also meant that saying I could not use the same address twice was clearly a crock. So I go through the set-up process again, and had the exact same problem as before. So this time I tried creating a user with a different email address, and it worked. So it seems the problem is that you simply cannot add yourself (the admin) as a user to assign the licence to. So the error is very misleading when it says the user does not exist, what it should say is that the email address is already in us, and it also means that the whole having to cancel the account and wait 30 days was also a complete crock made up by another clueless O2 support person and a total waste of time.

So I finally get it all sorted out and get the licenses issued and get McAfee installed on all my kids tablets, only to finally discover that installing McAfee under the admin user (me) does not protect the other users. You have to install it separately under each user, thus giving them full control over it and the ability to alter my settings and override parental control.  Calling O2 was pointless, as all they did was email McAfee, wait for a reply from McAfee, then relay the message to me, then relay my response back to McAfee and so on, a complete exercise in time wasting. So I contacted McAfee directly, which was equally as useless, each person I spoke to barely understood English and could not grasp my problem at all, and just kept telling me to re-install it over and over again. I had calls from 3 different people at McAfee, each time after 10PM  at night as well,  and went through the same crap with each of them. By this point I had already concluded myself what the limitations of the app were and that it had to be installed under each user and could not be locked down without using another parental control app on top of it, and that it would never work for me and so I told them this and told them not to bother contacting me again as I had removed the software and switched to AVG free which worked perfectly for what I needed and was FREE and far easier to setup and use. Several days later, despite being told not to contact me again, I get another call from McAfee, and the tech then proceeded to inform me what I had already told them, wow, no shit sherlock. Then just to rub it in a bit more, I get a follow up call form O2 as well.

I can honestly say this will be the last time I ever touch anything McAfee or sign up to any 3rd party software through O2, it is like dealing with muppets controlled by other muppets.

The Tablet Transmogrification

So last year O2 were doing tablet+phone bundles, so I got myself a Windows Phone + ASUS VivoTab  Smart windows tablet. Despite barely being used, the tablet developed a fault with the screen, it kept randomly turning itself off and nothing would get it to turn back on, you just had to wait until it decided to do so of its own accord. So of course I contacted O2 as it was still in warranty, and they told me to take it to my local store to get it repaired or replaced. This made me groan, as all my previous dealings with my local store had been about as much fun as shaving with a blunt razor. The store cannot do repairs, and have no idea why O2 customer services sent people to them with that premise, they also do not have the same products in store as O2 sell on the website, especially not business deals, so they cannot replace them either.
So I begrudgingly trudge down to my local store, tell them I have been told to bring in the tablet for warranty replacement, the salesperson taps at the computer for a minute or 2, and then proceeds to tell that they have no record of this tablet, am I sure I got it from them. “Yes”, I told him, it came in a bundle from O2, “did you buy from this store” he asks, “no” I reply, I got it over the phone, it is on my business account, look it up. He then goes and speaks with his manager, who then comes over and asks me the same question “are you sure you got this from us?”. Agghh, we go through the same questions and answers again, only for to again be told, we do not have this tablet on our system, so I cannot help you. So I ask him, can’t you just call O2 customer service and speak with them, no he says, you will have to do that yourself.

So here I am standing in an O2 phone store, where the O2 staff are completely incapable of picking up a phone and making a phone call to their own customer services dept, unbelievable. So I get my O2 phone out, call O2, go through all the menus, eventually get through to someone, explain the situation, and hand my phone over the store salesperson, so he can speak to his own customer services dept. they eventually decide that they will have to put my tablet through as “Another device” because my device is not listed, and just hope that the repairs dept send me back the right replacement, sheesh.


Several days pass, and I get an email telling me that my tablet could not be repaired, but a replacement had been dispatched today for delivery tomorrow. Tomorrow came and went, no delivery, 2 more days passed, still no delivery, so I called O2. They have no record of my tablet or the repair or any idea where that email came from, so advise me to go to the store as it was probably delivered there, oh jeez here we go again. So I go back to the store, and surprise surprise they also have no tablet and no record of it, no idea who sent me the email and cannot help me and tell me to contact customer services. So I call customer services again, and again they tell me to contact the store, I tell them I have done this, and I ask her to call the store, instead she just calls the store and patches me through without even speaking to them, and again the store tell me they have no further details and tell me to contact customer services. By this point as you can imagine I am losing my temper. So I call customer services again and demand that they call the store and speak to them directly and stop messing me about. This time customer services speak to the manager of the store and tells him he has to take responsibility and deal with this.

An hour or so later I get a call from the store, so it appears he did manage to track down the details after all, amazing what can be done when you actually make some effort, he tells me the tablet is due to be delivered next Wednesday, and has no idea why I got an email telling me was to be delivered 3 days ago.

Next Wednesday comes, and I get another delivery notification, so off I toddle to the store expecting the worst. The manager hands over my replacement tablet, and to my surprise (not) it is not the same tablet, not even the same brand, mine was an ASUS, this is a Sony. Is there any information as to why I got a different tablet? nope, nada, so the manager takes a guess and says, they probably did not have any of those left so sent you something else instead, hmm yes ok, but would have been nice of them to ask me first and maybe give me a choice in which model I get sent.

I decide to bite the bullet and take it anyway, as it seems to be a much newer model anyway, and hopefully much better than the one I had before, which luckily turned out to be the case, it was a Sony Xperia z3 tablet. Running the latest Android 5.1.. Ok so my other tablet was Windows 8.1,  but I was not bothered as I had already decided at this point that Windows did not work well on tablets, it just did not scale properly as the desktop is completely unusable on a tablet screen as everything is too small, and to be fair while I had gone off Android since 4.2.2, this 5.1 version did seem a lot better and the tablet was nice and nippy. The only problem I have now is that they did not send me anything with the tablet, and using a regular USB cable does not seem to charge the tablet properly, it charges very very slowly (8% in 6 hours), whereas my wife’s tablet charger seems to work just fine, so it obviously does need an actual charger.

Today I got a call from the repairs dept asking me if everything was ok with with my replacement tablet. I explained to the chap that I had been sent a different tablet, and that I did not even have a charger for it either, can you guess what he said? Sorry there is nothing I can do about that, you will have to contact customer services. Sheesh, then why bother calling me to ask if everything is ok if you cannot do anything about it if the answer is no.



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