BATD ON Feb 18, 2014 AT 3:04 pm

by Chrissy Iley

Would O2 have treated Beyonce like this?!...probably.

Would O2 have treated Beyonce like this?!…probably.

This is a rant about O2 and how they lied to me consistently. If this was a stand-up comedy routine and I was on stage doing comedy tears and comedy shouting, and I looked maybe a little dishevelled, like I just got out of bed, or my face was a little red from comedy rage you’d all be falling about laughing.

It’s one of those stories that just gets worse and worse and you think woo hoo, what a rollercoaster, when’s it going to stop? But as it’s real, life it’s not a rollercoaster, it’s just a dark tunnel of gloom. The kind of tunnel that makes you think you’re going mad. The kind of tunnel that makes you question yourself and everything around you. Is this table a table? Or is it in fact an orang utan? Is black black? White white? Or is it a rainbow of colour?

So here it is, my O2 story: I travel to LA for large chunks of time, say a month at a time. I have been doing this for over a decade. Consistently I have had a Blackberry from O2. My bill is high, between £250 and £290 a month. I use the Blackberry for emails only, maybe the occasional Tweet, but I’m mindful of the expense of data roaming. Plus anyone who has ever had a Blackberry will know, they are fairly rubbish for downloading anything, even going on Google. I never download, I never google, and I do not have a Facebook account.

Imagine my horror when I’m told via text after 24 days in LA my bill is £660. I am three days before leaving so I think I will sort that out on UK time. And then 36 hours later I receive a text that my bill is now £1,055. I wake bolt upright at 5am.

I call O2, a call centre in South Africa. 20 minutes later I am through to a person – the line breaks. I try again – cut off before a person. Same thing happens three times more. Finally, a person. I ask if she can call back if we are cut off. She says no, they are not allowed to call out of the country though they are allowed to call the UK. We are cut off.

Three hours later I am in full discussion with Chantal who says why didn’t I have a cap on my account? Indeed I used to, for £120. And then you have to pay £40 every four or five days to top it up. You have to call O2. It takes a minimum of 90 minutes and from LA costs a lot. Therefore it was more efficient for me to not have a cap as I monitor the phone by never doing anything else but answering calls and emails. This worked for a year or so, until now.

Chantal agrees. This does seem an awful lot. I promise her I was not downloading movies, going on YouTube, although she can only see data used and doesn’t know where the fault is so says I shouldn’t worry, there will be an investigation. I should turn the phone off until I arrive back in the UK the following day and she will call me to report the progress.

I ask her why I was not told once the bill had doubled its normal price? She couldn’t reply. I asked her why my bill for 36 hours was almost double what it normally is in a month and the whole bill nearly four times as great? She didn’t know but promised it all would be resolved. I never heard from her again.



I waited. Jet lag and an O2 marathon were not on my agenda for a good time. No one called, so I called O2 again. I was asked for my password and I was told this was not my password. I went into a tailspin. How could my password have change? Why is something that is a certainty, something that always has been there suddenly not?

She wanted my bank details. I gave her my sort code but was fumbling around to find the account number and while it’s okay for me to be on the phone to O2 for several hours it was not okay for her to be on for several minutes. She hung up on me.

I called back again, got a nicer lady who accepted my password. Apparently the line to South Africa is not clear, the previous lady must have misheard me. The nice lady told me there was no such investigation on my account. Data was expensive and I should just accept it.
Why is my bill four times as much as it usually is when I haven’t done anything different? It was not a question that anyone wanted to answer.

The nice lady said I should not pay my bill and the investigation would continue. I didn’t believe her and I didn’t want to be without a phone until I had sorted out a different carrier or a change of life. She said she was so sorry for what I had been through and she would call me a few days later. She did not call.

I called again. Managed to speak to someone who would put me through to a supervisor who said the investigation on my account had not started although instructions had been sent.

O2 have got their money. What do they care? I carry around the weight of their lies and also the pain, and it is a real pain, of this huge bill. For £1,055 I could have gone to Australia. I could have had a giant television, a new sofa, a visit to Dolce & Gabbana. I could have had many luxurious things, which of course I can’t afford and neither can I afford this bill, this treatment, this torture.

So, if anyone out there is thinking of changing their phone company or feeling they want to get a new phone and don’t know who to choose I say Choose Life not O2.

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