Thursday, 16 April 2015



Above: The Hammersmith Broadway Shopping Centre where you will find EE and an assortment of other carriers / networks offering various deals. Buyer beware...


Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers. How’s it going? I hope you have been enjoying the first real signs of spring! It has been gorgeous these last few days! I am back from a short break and feeling much, much better for it! I also hope that your tech projects are going well and that your tech is behaving as it should!

Welcome to Synapse Circuit Consumer Care! In the doghouse is... EE!

#EE #FreePowerStick #Upgrade #Upgrading #HardSell


Earlier, on the 16th April 2015, my Lovely Friend (she shall remain nameless) and I went to an EE store based in Hammersmith in Central London purely by chance. As always I was curious to find out what’s new in the mobile device retail outlets. My Lovely Friend (as I call her because she is lovely) also happens to be an EE customer as far back when it was known as Orange. Anyway, she is due an upgrade this month and we took the opportunity to find out what deals were available to a long term customer that my Lovely Friend is! She’s a very loyal customer! But before we get to the upgrade...

Did you know that EE are giving away free Power Bars (okay, you got me... I renamed it “stick” for a catchy title...) to EE customers! Fortunately, my Lovely Friend qualified for this wonderful 2600 mAh battery charging power bar! Wunderbar! It was remarkably easy to get this EE Power Bar! Apparently, when it becomes defunct EE will give its customers a new one! Cool! Gee... I wonder if this will catch on to other UK carriers / networks... We live in hope!

From there my Lovely Friend enquired about her upgrade and things started to go askew... Read on!


Despite what this coalition government here in the UK says we are still in a recession of sorts... The situation is that UK families are relying upon food banks or face not being able to eat! Gosh! Golly! So, when you enter most shops these days you can cut the stench of desperation with a knife! The shop assistants – depending on the time of day – can look at you as though you are food; these people are hungry for a sale commission and they will pounce!

“Orange was 3G and EE is 4G and therefore you have a faster Internet connection...”

The shop assistant that sorted the Power Bar had the personality of a cardboard cut out. Oh, she was faking it! But she couldn’t fool me! The immaculately made-up “Essex Girl” type perked up when she heard “upgrade”! She was off (like a rocket)!

“Oh, I can see that you are paying a lot for your phone and I can reduce that cost for you today!” Wow! What’s on offer??? I was very enthusiastic to see what kind of deal my Lovely Friend could get – especially as a long term customer!

“What kind of handset are you after?”

“The Samsung Galaxy Note 4.”

“Okay... We do the Galaxy Note 4 for £48.49 and this includes:-

4 GB data
Unlimited text messages
Unlimited minutes
24 month plan

There’s an upfront cost of £69.99 but you don’t have to pay that today as it comes off in your next bill...”

“Ummm... Is that the best you can do? I was hoping for more Internet for that kind of monthly cost...”

“Oh, alright... How about the Samsung Galaxy A5? It’s just come out recently!”

“Ummm... I don’t know...”

I have to say that my Lovely Friend is not clued up about the market and had I not been there she would have probably gone for the Galaxy A5 because the sales assistant (sic) was really a confidence trickster. She was a smooth operator, I give her that, but she was bloody awful! She didn’t find out why my Lovely Friend was very specific about the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and to offer the Galaxy A5 was a dumb move... But anything to make that cash register go “cher-ching” albeit virtual. My Lovely Friend has Parkinson’s and she finds that having a large screen on the Galaxy Note 2 very useful for composing and receiving text messages, viewing websites, videos, etc. The 5” Galaxy A5 would literally cramp her style. I was really angry with the sales assistant and held myself back from giving her a piece of my mind. She continued...

“Orange was 3G and EE is 4G and therefore you have a faster Internet connection...”

Can you believe that nonsense above??? Jesus wept! That is disgusting! My Lovely Friend has the 4G LTE version of the Galaxy Note 2 and when Orange switched to EE and the 4G transmitter my Lovely Friend would have reaped the benefits automatically. I know the sales assistant was desperate but how she went about her business was diabolical and disgustingly offensive! There was no attempt at ascertaining her needs whatsoever just as long as she (my Lovely Friend) made a commitment then and there to renew her contract with EE.

It’s because of such appalling sales assistants that one day we will be dealing with androids (a humanoid robot not to be confused with the Android operating system for mobile devices) – if the brick and mortar retail outlets aren’t superseded by virtual ones. I have to confess to enjoying being able to look at and play around with the demonstration models when it comes to gear! I do think that an android could replace these crap sales people quite easily!

I can’t impress upon you more than to encourage you to do your research! Before I wax on you should realize that I am talking to those who feel intimidated by these pushy barely out of diapers sales people. They turn on the charm and try to make it look as though they are doing you a massive favour... Oooh, that little intake of breath to let you know that you could be making a mistake you might come to regret further down the line... Take home that new toy today! The EE assistant tried to offer yet another handset that comes with a “free” tablet which meant 2GB on the phone and 2GB on the tablet thus completely ignoring the request for more Internet data. Super-stupid!

For some reason many women of varying ages and mature men con themselves into thinking that all this tech-stuff is beyond their understanding and it is not! Forgive my well intentioned sexism here but if a woman can discern the best washing machine then she can do the same for mobile handsets and packages (monthly costs). I have women friends who are loyal to a particular brand of washing machine through trial / error and research; it's the same process! And it is the same with mature men... It’s like figuring out what kind of barbeque or garden shed to buy - whatever mature men are into these days.

First of all understand that you can, with a bit of patience, figure stuff out for yourself. Take your time!

1. When you want a new handset through upgrading or purchasing outright don’t be afraid of these shop assistants – for the want of a better word... In fact you should see them as confidence tricksters. I know... It is rather sad but that’s what many retail outlets have boiled down to. NEVER let a shop assistant push you around. Push them around! Make them earn their wages! If you are not sure don’t commit until you are sure that you are getting the best deal.

2. When your contract is up, for example, don’t feel intimidated to ask for good deal for your loyalty. Don’t go into a retail outlet with a view to renew your contract; instead you should go to try out handsets on display to get a feel for them. It is important to call customer services of your network to find out what they are willing to do for your continual custom. It is rare but possible that you might get deal through management discretion – it may not happen! At least you tried.

3. Don’t feel you have to stay with the carrier / network. If you can’t get the deal you want then cancel the contract! From your research you will have discerned much better deals! When you cancel the contract make sure that you do this on the phone with customer services. In my salad days I went into a Virgin Mobile store to get a new phone and to cancel the previous contract as I upped the data, voice minutes and texts. The assistant told me that he had cancelled but I learned that this was not the case! Cancel over the phone with customer services and do so before you get money removed from your account!

Beware of “free gifts” that come with cheap handsets. You may be offered a “free tablet” for taking out a low budget phone. Very, very rarely does the consumer get good freebies with high-end handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the latest Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge, and the latest HTC One M9 and so on.

Many sales assistants think that you are stupid and will offer you something like the Galaxy Ace 4 with a 2GB data plan for about £26 (on average per month) and sweeten it with a cheap Android tablet for around £10 - £15 (2GB data plan) to make it sound like you’re getting the tablet for free. Essentially what the sales assistant has done is the “Two for the price of One” trick. The Galaxy Ace 4 won’t be anywhere near as powerful as the Galaxy Note 4 and the other high-end handsets mentioned above. Sales assistants will try to bamboozle you to think that you’re getting a bargain when you are not! You think, “Oh, great! I get a tablet too!” Once you get used to using your phone you will notice that it doesn’t store many apps, it’s not as fast like your friends Galaxy S6 or LG Flex 2 for example, the picture quality is crap (in comparison to other handsets) and that the microSD card (if you purchased one) isn’t meant to store and run apps on. Be careful!

5. When in doubt ask! Yes, even the sales assistants! Push them! Ask them what the differences are between the handsets you are offered. Read the Synapse Circuit reviews as I don’t mess around; I am not beholden to any sponsor that I have to misinform you. I will tell it to you straight! Send me an email and I will do my best to answer your query.

6. Think about your needs and be prepared to go a step or two further as the technology becomes even faster and more powerful. Do you want a strong camera? Do you want to be productive on the go i.e. do some word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentations, etc? A good sales assistant should give you the information you need to help you decide. I have noticed that when consumers come into a retail outlet without much of a clue the sales assistant will push just about anything your way. I did point out that the sales assistant at EE went from a high-end premium handset that is the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to a mid-high Galaxy A5 without attempting to find out what my Lovely Friend needs are. My Lovely Friend loves photography and I am quite sure that she would have preferred the 16MP camera with optical image stabilization for sharper pictures – especially in low lighting conditions.

It is a great shame that such sales assistants exist but they are there to assist money coming into the tills at the end of the day by hook or by crook (“crook” being the operative word). It’s only when you show that you have some knowledge will they attempt to be attentive to your needs. But there again, when you know what you want through conducting your own research then it’s a matter of them taking your money.

You would be surprised at how little the sales assistants know about the products. When I upgrade I tend to do so over the phone as I know what I want and I always push for the best deal possible. As you know I love to do some mystery shopping occasionally in order to let you know the pitfalls if you aren’t very experienced. I do like to test the knowledge of the staff. Sometimes it is amusing and sometimes I am left exasperated.

If you are going to pay over £40 for a contract you should be getting unlimited Internet data as part of the plan as well as unlimited voice minutes! I find that EE prices are crap! £48.49 for 4GB of data???? C’mon, they’ve gotta be kiddin’ right?! So far I think that Three offer the best deals on premium top handsets for roughly the same price or less – dependent on the handset! When you have a 4G connection you want to make the most of it whether you’re watching video, making calls via those free video, voice and messaging apps (WhatsApp, Viber and LINE to name a few), surf the Net and so on. You don’t want to worry about going over your data plan and sometimes resulting in a higher bill. What’s the point? What’s the point in having one of the best phones that money can buy and you can’t use it to the max???

That’s something to think about! Hey, you should have seen that sales assistant's face when I told her, "It's okay... We'll think about it..." She knows we're never going to upgrade through EE but in desperation she gave us her name and number just in case... I dunno... <shakes head and laughs>

Shop wisely! We are still Queen and King!


Please check out the Synapse Circuit site here: Synapse


No comments:

Post a comment