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The Illusion of Good Service

Customer Service?

These days, finding customer service is next to impossible, not only in the financial industry but also in the retail world. Unless you are willing to pay a great deal of money, you are likely to get mediocre service most times at best. If you are dealing with a huge retailer, you are lucky to get any interest at all (I am speaking in large generalizations; I know that on a rare occasion, you run into a genuinely good customer service person, but they are hard to find because most customer service folks are not paid based on good customer service, they are paid by sales (which many times are at opposite purposes)).

The Apple Store

I went to the Apple Store the other day under someone’s advice and was told that they could help me with my unlocking phone issue. I went online and saw that I could make an appointment at the Genius Bar (sic) and even leave a comment about what I might want to be done, so I did so and outlined my issues with unlocking the iPhone 3G I was purchasing. I was impressed and thought I would surely have an excellent customer service experience (given what I keep hearing about the Apple Store).

iPhone 3G

The day of my appointment arrived, and I showed up at the store a little early. I noticed a plethora of folks wearing Apple shirts and an encouraging atmosphere in the store. A young lady (in a gentil beret, I note) came up and asked what I was there for. I said that I had made an appointment at the Genius Bar, and she told me they would call my name if I waited a little while.

I waited five minutes after my appointment and then heard someone call the shortened version of my regular name (a huge pet peeve), but I decided to let it slide. I went over, and a young man presented himself and asked how he could help me.

I explained my situation, and asked what could they do for me. A moment passed, the young man took the serial number of my phone and then pronounced, Nothing.

My look must have said loudly that I was displeased, and then the young man went on to explain that Apple has an agreement with all the Canadian Wireless providers to not unlock their phones, as they are Apple’s business partners.

I said nothing, and then the young man went on to explain, in very hushed tones, that, in fact, I was doing the right thing, but that they were not allowed to help out with the unlocking of a phone that is already on a Canadian Wireless Providers network (e.g., move a Fido phone to the Bell Network).

The Leopard Shows Its Spots

So, this means Apple, the darling of Latte Sucking, Hipster Techo-Doofices, who claim they are so avant guard is no better than Research In Motion (makers of the Crackberry) in that Apple is in bed with the Canadian Wireless Compendium? I’m not surprised, and I did not expect more than that from Apple, but I had a slight glimmer after being told by Brainwashed Apple-lovers that they would help me most assuredly.

The Apple Store is just another retail outlet at the end of it all (in fact, I told my wife it seemed a lot like a Best Buy, but everyone was wearing Apple shirts). Another Customer Service bubble burst, and rightly so.

Happy Ending

Eventually the Internet came through and the Hackers of the world published software for me to unlock my iPhone and it is now happily running on the Bell network. Moral of the story, rely on hackers to get what you want, don’t talk to folks in Golf Shirts with corporate logos on them.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. No one would let the store where they bought their brand new flat screen or new computer tell them where they have to get their cable/satelite or internet from!
    This is all about the almighty dollar. Why should anyone who wants a different phone be required to go and buy a brand new one, and be locked into a new contract.
    What an environmental nightmare………


  2. So you went to an Apple store asking for help unlocking a phone? Of course you are going to be told to go away. You would get the same response from a Bell, Fido or Best Buy store. If you don’t like the idea of locked GSM phones, go complain to the service providers, not the phone manufacturer.

    If you can’t deal with unlocking your phone or restoring back to factory settings on your own, you should not be trying to unlock an iPhone or buy one used.

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while, but this article (and I guess lets face it – writing this comment) was a waste of time.

    1. But I don’t have any issues with Apple the business, it is successful and I wish them well, it is the sycophants who mindlessly drone how well behaved Apple is compared to the PC world, that drives me spare. Apple is simply doing what needs to be done to make money in Canada.

  3. This gets under my skin too.

    Last year I bought an iPhone 3G off a friend and had to unlock it for my carrier. When I went to the iPhone 4, I gave my phone to my fiance who let it die. We had to sell it as I couldn’t unlock it. The phone is my possession, my property… so I’d like to know why they have the right to control its use.

    For example, if you were to buy a car from Ford and needed winter tires. What would you say if you had to buy your winter tires from Good Year because Ford was in business with them. I bet you, you would have a lot of peeved off people.

    I agree that in the beginning if you buy the phone on a three year plan and get the discount for the phone that yes, the phone should be locked to the carrier. But, only until the contract is either up or if you wish, to pay off the balance owing on the phone.

    Again, this is infuriating!

    1. And uniquely because of the wireless industry changing the rules on how telecomm worked. Pay per use would never have worked for home phones, but now, it is not even thought of as odd.

  4. Quite apart from whether it makes sense for Apple not to help people unlock phones, they could at least have told you they wouldn’t help you without making you travel down to the store.

  5. I agree with you BCM, I really wonder why all the chic hippies and antiu-corp folks love apple when they are one of the most controlling evil corps on the planet. I avoid their products like the plague. It’s amazing what a lick marketing campaign can cover up.

  6. Wait just one second, BCM. Let me get this straight…you took a used iPhone into an Apple store expecting them to do something that you already knew was questionable, and possibility boarding on illegal, and when they politely refused, you blame it on Apple, and not you, BCM??

    Next time BCM, do the right thing and buy the right iPhone, in the right location and with the right provider. Don’t try to bend the rules and then act like a child when things don’t go the way you want. Had you learned from your past failed attempts at unlocking, perhaps you would have saved yourself valuable time and money, which, ironically, is what this blog is all about. Right, BCM?

    1. Ah well, given I bought the device used, and didn’t want to get tied down to a LONG contract with any provider, I view what I am doing as just fine. As for the criminal part, well, let’s just say you have an interesting view of the world.

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