These days finding customer service of any kind is next to impossible, in the financial industry, but in the retail world as well. Unless you are willing to pay a great deal of money, you are likely to get somewhat mediocre service most times at best, and if you are dealing with a very large 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 on the basis of 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 someones advice, that they might be able to help me with my unlocking phones issue. I went on line and saw that I could make an appointment at the Genius Bar (sic) and even leave a comment about what I might want 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 end up with an excellent customer service experience (given what I keep hearing about the Apple Store).
The day of my appointment arrived, and I showed up at the store a little early, and noticed a plethora of folks wearing Apple shirts and an atmosphere in the store, which was encouraging. A young lady (in a gentil beret I note) came up and asked what I was there for and 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 of mine), 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 do anything 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 It’s Spots
So, this means Apple, the darling of Latte Sucking, Hipster Techo-Doofices, who claim they are so avant guard is in fact 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 really did not expect any more than that from Apple, but I had a slight glimmer after being told by Brainwashed Apple-lovers that they would most assuredly help me.
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.
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.