The Dark Ages

I have been phone-less for ten days now. Ten freaking days. Considering that I grew up and currently living in the digital age, this is such a bummer.

You see, last February I renewed my contract with a certain service provider and got a Sony Xperia Z3 for free. I was so happy because of the phone’s awesome camera (20.7 megapixels FTW!). Those who know me very well would agree that I’m really not much of a light packer so having a phone that takes gorgeous photos is such a huge help because I don’t have to bring our humongous DSLR with me on trips.

So anyway, my supposedly waterproof phone died just a couple of minutes after it got drenched with pool water. As in kiddie pool. The inflatable one. WTF, right? Let me share with you a statement that I have read countless times from Sony’s website: “With the waterproof Xperia Z3, you can take pictures with the best smartphone camera while swimming in fresh water for up to 30 minutes. You can even dive down to 1.5 metres with it. Just remember that all the covers for the micro USB port, the micro SIM slot and the memory card slot must be firmly closed.”

Where did I go wrong? The water was barely ankle-deep and I triple-checked all the flaps to ensure that water won’t seep in. I did not even soak it completely. I only dipped the lower part of it for like 30 seconds and it was only when my nephew tried to drench me with water from the hose he was holding that my phone got wet.

I had difficulty unlocking my phone after that. I could still see my homescreen but the actual screen stopped working. I tried turning it off but the phone was asking for my password. I tried tapping the screen again but it still did not respond. When I tried to turn it off again, it looked as if some of the pixels were dead. There were parts that looked grayish, some parts were somewhat rainbow-ish. That was when I started to panic.

I tried to force reset it by pressing the little button hidden inside the flap and it worked. Well, the shutting down worked but it did not restart. Or did it? I felt it vibrate, and this usually happens whenever I open my phone. However, the screen was just black. The LED light that alerts me whenever there are new messages was blinking and my boyfriend claims that the phone was ringing when he tried to call me. I did not hear it ring, not even once. There was also this one instance wherein the phone just kept on buzzing and vibrating on its own. Creepy.

The next day, I brought my phone to the service center (Telecom Concepts, Inc. a.k.a. TCI) near my place. I was pretty confident that I will get a loaner unit because 1) I was given this Sony Xperia VIP card which boasts “special” services, including the provision of a temporary phone which I could use while my phone is being repaired; and 2) it is certainly not my fault that my waterproof phone turned out to be not waterproof at all. Lo and behold, I was informed that they do not have any loaner units to lend. And oh, I forgot to mention how unfriendly and unwelcoming the customer service guy was. I’m not sure if he’s that unhappy with his job or he just simply has this so-called resting bitch face. If it’s the latter, then I forgive him.

I was also informed that the usual turn-around-time or as we fondly call it, TAT, was 2-3 days. The guy also gave me the mobile number of a certain Eula from Sony Xperia VIP who was supposed to handle my concerns as a “VIP” client. She was supposed to call the next day regarding the loaner unit but she failed to do so, and it took us quite a number of tries before she picked up the damn phone. She then gave us eight contact numbers that we could call regarding the loaner unit and guess what? None of it freaking works! There were two of us who took turns calling, using two different phones I might add, and neither of us managed to speak to anyone.

After a couple of days, my boyfriend was finally able to contact Eula again and she even made it seem like she was doing him a favor by answering the phone at 5:10 PM when their office hours end at 5 PM. Well, thank you Eula, we will be forever in your debt. (And yes, that was pure sarcasm.) Anyway, she said that 1) the problem of my phone was the screen and they are still waiting for the said part to be shipped here so that they can replace the broken one; and 2) the loaner units should be available within the week and one should be allocated to me. The girl cannot even commit.

Fortunately, I was on leave today and so I personally went to TCI to check on the status of my phone as well as the loaner unit. I heard the same crap again.

I wanted to tell them: WHY DON’T YOU TRY LIVING WITHOUT A MOBILE PHONE FOR TWO WEEKS?

But of course, I am too composed for my own good. As usual, I expressed my frustration and disappointment in writing. I should really learn how to get angry sometimes.

As a former frontliner, we were taught how to value customers and manage their expectations. What I experienced (and currently experiencing) with Sony and TCI is a far cry from how proper customer service should be! I am appalled by this incompetency.

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