We've had a mobile phone trauma, which has led me to pray for the almightly downfall of the company involved.
Naturally, it involves Nick's phone – which he'd had for 10 days. It was my old phone, as I thought he wasn't responsible enough to have anything more expensive.
I hate being right.
He was running down our street, tripped up and went flying. I saw it happen, but he gave me the thumbs-up and went off to school.
It was only when he got there that he realised the phone had fallen out of his pocket.
I went out and searched for it but it was gone. We live on a busy road and obviously, someone found the phone and applied the finders-keepers rule.
Anyone who's lost a phone will know what a pain it is to get the sim card and handset blocked, etc.
However, we managed to sort this out relatively painlessly. Nick decided he'd spend some of his Christmas cash on a handset, so we rang up, ordered one – easy, or so we thought.
But the next day, the company delivered THREE phones to my mother's.
Obviously some mistake – I'll ring them and get the carrier to pick them up.
It was then that call centre madness kicked in. Last Thursday night, I spent two-and-a-half hours talking to five different customer service people – two in this country and three in South Africa.
Each person managed to give me slightly different information – but after the phrases "system error" and "ghost order" came the news that I'd been charged for all the phones – nearly 200.
I foolishly assumed, since it was their error, they would send a carrier to pick them up. No – I was informed that a Jiffy bag would be sent out and I'd have to send them back myself.
Oh, and they wouldn't refund my money until they'd seen my bank statement proving they'd overcharged me.
I'm afraid I lost it then. I'd been very patient, considering no one offered to call me back (they charged me for each call). When you ring them, you are automatically routed to wherever – I spoke to people in three call centres – they couldn't transfer to different offices.
Finally, another person in South Africa rang me back and said the finance department did believe my story, but they'd still need to see my bank statement. Arrrrrrrrgh!
At this point, I washed my hands – only to get a text the next day asking for the reference number of ONE phone (I'd already given BOTH phone's details to half the population of Johannesburg).
I rang customer service service man number seven with steam coming out of my ears. He promised to ring me straight back – that was four days ago and I'm still waiting.
I'm considering taking a large mallet to the extra phones, or strapping them to Semtex, before sending them back, component by component, to the managing director.
You can only take so much.