Do folks actually read e-mail anymore?

More customer service adventures…

A week or so ago I sent the following note to 3 (a mobile phone service provider in the UK.)  I was asking about getting their service and ordering it an advance before I arrive to make sure that they have the item I want in stock.

Hello, I will be arriving in London on the 17th and I'm interested in purchasing one of your "MiFi" Pay-as-you-go units and a monthly plan for while I'm in the UK. It appears that I can't order one in advance and request a store pick up...or can I?

If I can't order in advance, do you have a good stock so that I will be able to get one upon my arrival? If not, I can order a similar solution here in the USA, but it's only a rental and I would prefer yours for future trips back to the UK. Thank you very much, Jon Trask

Seems straightforward…at least it did to me….

Here’s the reply…(highlights are mine)

Thanks for your recent query. I’m sorry but we won’t be able to call you back. (huh?) As stated on our website, we can only handle queries from existing customers. (Um, I'm trying to become an existing customer...that would be the point of my e-mail.)

However, if you would like to know more about our products and services you can visit our website (Been there, hence MY ACTUAL QUESTION, the one that you seem to have missed.) or call our 3Store Helpline on 0844 481 2353 (charged at standard rate).

Alternatively, you can also call our Direct Sales team on 08003 589571 and select Option 1. Their working hours are: * Monday to Saturday: 8am - midnight * Sunday: 10am - midnight For any further queries, please give us a call on 0843 373 3333 (5p/min from a BT landline, other networks may vary) and we’ll be glad to help you.

Thanks for contacting 3.

So…do you see any connection to the question that I asked?  I’m not seeing any….

Now, do I risk them not having the item that I want in stock when I get to London?  (And if they don’t, then not have a WiFi connection for Glastonbury?)  Or, do I rent the Fonmingo unit here in the States and take it with me for some piece of mind…same price, but I’d own the one purchased in the UK.

Think that I’m going to risk it, but wow…what a non-sequitur of an answer.

I guess bored and inattentive customer service folks really are quite alike where you go in the world.



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4 responses to “Do folks actually read e-mail anymore?

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review | Glastonbury & Beyond 2010

  2. Ben

    So what did you do and how did it go?

    Going to the uk for 4 weeks and trying to work out the best option for internet there but can’t find any info on buying a local prepaid device over renting.

    • Hi Ben,

      Well, I tried buying the MiFi device on my first day there, and they wouldn’t take a US credit card without chip and pin. Which was a huge pain.

      I found a local library the first day and used the free wifi there. On the second day went to Oxford Street as part of my shopping for camping gear. I stopped at a Carphone Warehouse and found an awesome clerk. I told him what I was trying to do and he set me up with two items. One was a USB Internet Stick that I could pop onto my laptop, but that had no contract. I paid for a month (which I recall was cheap) And, a cheap cellphone (really cheap…it cost 5 pounds). It was connected to a company that you prepaid 20 pounds and could opt to make overseas calls to the US at a very good rate.

      I can’t recall the exact numbers right now, but both items and everything out the door was less than 50 pounds and it covered all my calls home and my internet access for the two weeks I was in the UK. I even used the phone out in the middle of a field at Glastonbury to cal home and it worked just fine.

      The Mifi devices have gotten better since then, I actually have one here in US that I use for work now. I hope that helps a little!

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