“SIM card Sir..?” WHAT…GiffGaff! No thanks… [nor should you]

From No More Excuses

How Simple Is This… 

Well… life rarely is. But the exercise of buying a new phone – a smartphone no less – can and did take on an awesome turn of events. In doing so exposed not only the minefield of choosing your SIM cards, but found a good ‘old fashioned’ commissioned based sales enterprise, in the process.

The phone itself is a story on its own which has done little to enthuse me, but it was necessity that required its purchase. A recent staycation of home hunting proved that.

Beginning there the whole sorry story started the weekend before the Bank Holiday just gone. On that particular Sunday and a day’s trawling the internet, I hastened upon the delightful Samsung Galaxy S III. This is an all-singing-dancing phone which is supposed to synchronise with your PC/laptop of choice.

Added to fact that it also came highly thought of by a very good Twitter friend and client Catherine, that’s @MummyLion to most of you,  AND that ASDA could do it for £285 – the job as they say was a good one.

At the same time I also ordered from her website the second part of this mystery tour into the unknown, THE SIM CARD!

The phone was expected to arrive within two days and the card within three. So lets pick up the trail when the phone arrived, as predicted two days later – and to be honest – so it should. Things then were on track to be fully operational before the Bank Holiday, which would be nice. However;


Enter the race for the SIM.

Important part this, as this is purely a matter of signal strength, it is therefore reasonable for me to stay with my existing supplier [O2] or at least one who piggy-backed their signal. Nor was I looking for special ‘bundles’ with unlimited data or the like, so Pay-&-Go would do me fine and I could transfer over the old number and contacts etc, you’ve no doubt been there and got the tee-shirt.

Not that cost really is the problem here, but there’s no sense in paying for stuff that you wont be using, so enter into the foray Messrs giffgaff. It uses O2 [more of which in a moment] all it need do was turn up a.s.a.p. I mean what could be simpler than for someone to post it 1st Class on Monday? For the record, both items were effectively ordered on the Monday a.m. before the last Bank Holiday.

At worst the card should arrive within three days as I would reasonably expect

Here’s the first rub. Anyone can go into the many suppliers/specialist shops or even Supermarkets and buy a SIM card – NO DELAY! Wazz it in and away you go. (Not however with giffgaff) After all they the suppliers are in direct competition with the High St, and as it turns out themselves. Both O2 and giffgaff are owned by Telefonica.

The second rub is, by now I was livid as a long-serving customer of O2/Telefonica and the card was still in transit. Put simply…NOT GOOD ENOUGH. So how’s this for customer support, if you have a problem you are told only to contact an agent and a reply is usual within 24hrs. NO TELEPHONE NUMBER AT ALL.

They have committed RETAIL SUICIDE OF THE FIRST ORDER. The onus therefore befalls to a poor agent to take the brunt and immense displeasure of the public, many of which are friends and family.

But there’s more, remember my ‘new’ phone!

The delay elsewhere had not stopped me from charging up the beast ready to swing into action, Oh no. What this fantastic piece of technology is supposed to do would be to synchronise to my laptop. Easier said than done, sync means connect something which seemed alien in/by definition.

Of course it would charge, but swap files..NO. Downloading the panacea of all software designed to do the job – Kies – proved a fruitless exercise. As did trying to register the product with the Mother company to effect the guarantee. Something even which defied the expertise of the in-house customer support. (take note giffgaff…they had a telephone support team!!)

Odd though I could register to the Samsung site but not the product to the site.

Nevertheless, I scoured as many forum sites as I could to find a resolve to the issue, seemingly everybody else is awaiting an update/patch in the software – but when?! So I have a phone not performing as it should which primarily is  the main reason it was purchased, nor do I have a SIM card to make any calls. Total outlay £295 and I am now spitting feathers! So how did I send a picture to Twitter on the Wednesday of that week – I hear you ask!!

Well I had organised a separate contract for my wifi which would also permit my using my laptop should ever the need arise, thus the nation and the Twitter world were able to delight in my culinary skills.

public pictures - Copy

So, a quick summary.

Saturday: The SIM card arrives….actually thuds on the mat! The phone still has an independent viewpoint on connecting to my family group i.e. laptop. It has therefore forced my hand.

But nothing before today beats this. The bloody SIM card had a sting in its ‘tale’. Duly inserted, registered and validated by making the required payment [accounted for earlier] and ready t… NOOOO! Whatever they had sent didn’t register the new credit on it despite the now payment, meaning no calls, even dialling manually. Zero, sweet Fannie-Adams. It turns out that these cards come from Head Office, not via the agent link. And I’d have to wait 24hrs for a reply as to why..??!! (and should I want to reply to that….and so forth and so on).

And the conclusion.

Would you settle for a back-story to all this, for there is a humdinger just under the surface. It involves Tweets left right and definitely not centre. An opinion in which I believe I’ve found the nearest thing to a ‘Pyramid’ scheme you can get without calling it such.

All because a 21st Century company doesn’t want to have a telephone helpline. Such is all this I now call giffgaff […have you guessed?] ‘GaffGaff’. Translated…. A complete and utter shower!

I am afraid I’m to treat you all to a second instalment, the saga still continues. Unbelievable but true. Little did I know nor could imagine what basically is a simple thing to do, could be escalated into this barrage balloon.


22 responses to ““SIM card Sir..?” WHAT…GiffGaff! No thanks… [nor should you]

  1. Seems you have had a few problems though they seem simple enough to rectify, thankfully.

    Regarding syncing the SIII – once you link your Google account it’s all done automatically. Anything else is easily achieved with your choice from Dropbox/Google Drive/AirDroid. All free downloads or preinstalled.

    Regarding the SIM – you say yourself that “there’s no sense in paying for stuff that you wont be using”. This is _entirely the point_ of Giffgaff. You choose low prices on the basis that customer support is all online only. If you want to use phone support (you don’t – our experience with other networks is appalling) then pay more w/someone else.

    What exactly turned out to be the issue with the SIM? Did it activate correctly when you tried?

  2. right, it seems you’re missing the whole ethos of giffgaff..

    it’s community ran, it’s an online network, it doesn’t need call centres

    you say the only way to contact is through an Agent.. THAT IS NOT TRUE!

    • Apologies for moderating your original comment. You would not be aware of the DM [Direct Message] from giffgaff to me.
      It thus negates your ‘sales/agent/induction speech’. Regards

  3. Last time I tried them, the mobile phone network call centre was not much help. The best were 3 who got a real live manager to call me back – shame about the network coverage – and the phone co-op who are another not-in-shops offer.

      • Sorry for the ambiguity: as the other commenter guessed, I was meaning that my experiences with the call centres of Three, Orange and Utility Warehouse were nearly all uniformly awful… so I’m not sure that I agree they’re worthwhile. Of course, if there’s a good call centre, it would be a selling point, but I’ve yet to find one. Even if the reseller has a good call centre (The Phone Co-op has one), they’re still at risk of being screwed by the network.

        Bottom line, Ofcom should regulate wholesale mobile services, so resellers can provide call centres that can do more stuff without being screwed by their host network. I think at the moment Ofcom cops out by claiming that four licensed network operators (Voda, O2, 3, EE) isn’t an oligopoly and we can leave it to competition to sort things out… it hasn’t worked yet!

      • Thanks for returning. Quite so, definitely an issue Ofcom should revisit. Underlying this of course is coverage, and since there is no equality across the UK, it denies fair competition in pricing – always an issue. In turn methods used as sales tactics. Regards

  4. I agree with your thoughts on giffgaff, especially becasue as a referrer, I have no access to the physical sim and so to refer it back to me is ridiculous. As a giffgaff customer I have no complaints other than the general complaint of all mobile phone companies that there is significant lack of coverage in rural areas. And that you can only top up online, so, if, as I found out when I was in labour, your credit is zero and you have a power cut, you are stuffed.

    I thought the samsung synching problem was because of my laptop, and i’m ashaed to say that I didn’t enquire much further than a few forums and then gave up and worked around it with gcloud and dropbox. I agree Kies is a load of rubbish. Sort it out Samsung, please. They tried to make me do a significant trek to their service centre in birmingham to sort te syncing out which would have cost me a fortune in petrol and parking and would have acheived nothing.

  5. A shame you have had these problems, I have found GiffGaff to be top notch, a mild hiccup on changing my number over from Vodafone(totally useless) but other than that I am pleased with the service, although the O2 network is not as comprehensive as Vodafone it seems to be fairly stable in my area.

  6. If the sim was supposed to come with credit on it, you didn’t order it from giffgaff, theirs come ready to activate, not pre-activated; and they’re free. Someone has done you up like a kipper.

    • No it didn’t I concur. The Ten pounds had been accounted for in the figure quoted as the card was ordered from a friend and client. It was reasonable to therefore include as monies spent or she wouldn’t get her ‘spiv’. I hope though like her you don’t rely on card sales or points as a full-time income? Enjoy the next instalment. Regards.

      • I’m sorry but I agree with Beeble. You can’t ‘prepay’ the £10 before you have even activated the sim! Unless you bought a topup voucher.

        She would get her £5 referral bonus as long as you activated the sim (once you had received the sim..with £10)

        Also, just for anyone else reading this – I’ve never ever had any problems with giffgaff – been with them for 2 years and they’ve saved me a ton of money.

      • I refer you to my reply to Beeble. As you may have seen the blog has been updated. Of course it would though be nice to advise of a telephone number for giffgaff which would alleviate much of the problem/s. However, the next instalment… [sorry wait and see, I’m afraid..] Regards.

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