Friday, 11 October 2013

e2save followup: the question so secret they couldn't ask it

I wrote (in August) about a mobile phone company called e2save, who repeatedly contacted me saying they had a “query” but refused to give me any way of responding to that query (or even finding out what the query was) without paying for the privilege. They emailed me from a no-reply address and sent me texts with the reply option disabled. I don’t like one-sided communication, so I took to Twitter.

I repeatedly refused to fill in the e2save webform, on the grounds that the webform forces you to choose a category and none of the categories included “You keep telling me you have a query but you won’t tell me what it is.” (Also, I just hate webforms.)

I also repeatedly asked for e2save to stop telling me they need to ask me a question and just ask me the question. Sadly the social media people didn’t have access to any of my info and they were a bit obsessed with “verifying” my details. It’s Kafkaesque: I’m repeatedly told that this organisation wants to ask me a question, but before I can find out what the question is, I must pay money and jump through hoops to verify my identity.

Anyway, I wore them down and got a real email address out of them: I’m publishing it here because it’s not anywhere visible on their own website. So let this blog post be a public record of e2save’s contact details.

e2save email address:
e2save phone number: 01509 611818

I emailed the address in question, forwarding on their original message to me.

Hello there,

You sent me the below email earlier. I can't reply to it. I have no idea what details you want to check and I don't understand why you can't just put that information in the email instead of asking me to ring you. You've also texted me asking me to ring you.

I am not going to ring you.

If you want me to answer some questions, ring me or put them in an email I can reply to. You have my contact details already.

Here’s an extract from the reply I got:

I\'m very sorry for the difficulties you’ve had with your order and I would very much like to look into this for you; however in order for me to access your account and comply with the Data Protection Act, please can you confirm the following information:

- Full name

- Home address including postal code

- Transaction number / customer number

- Date of birth

- Make and model of the phone purchased

- Name of the bank used to purchase your phone or to set up the direct debit request

Once we have this information I’ll be happy to look into your query for you.

(If my query is simply "What's your query?" is it really my query or their query?)

So, before I can find out what information they want from me, I need to supply seven different pieces of information. That’s not to get an answer to any question of my own – it’s simply to find out what their question is. Like I said, Kafkaesque.

As it happened, their reply arrived while I was away, so it got my out-of-office autoreply...which bounced. So even if I had painstakingly replied with those seven pieces of information, my message would have gone into the ether anyway.

Back to Twitter. I stuck to my position: I will not spend a penny of my own money trying to help them get an answer to their question if they won’t do me the courtesy of telling me what the question is. After a flurry of direct messages they agreed to ring me.

A woman from e2save phoned me, asked me a long series of “security” questions to “verify” my account and then finally, finally asked the actual question. It was...

What was your previous address?

Yep. That was the top-secret question they couldn’t possibly put into words in an email, on Twitter or in a text message. That was the question that could only be put to me after extensive verification of my identity.

The woman on the phone explained that my previous address was needed for the credit check, but couldn’t explain why the question was so sensitive it needed to be kept secret from the person who was expected to answer it.

Another thing she couldn’t explain: the checks were apparently being done by T-Mobile to make sure I was a legit, credit-worthy customer. But I was already a T-Mobile customer anyway; e2save was just the intermediary switching me from one T-Mobile contract to another.

By now I felt that e2save had taken quite enough of my time and energy and I didn’t want them to have my money as well. So I said I wanted to cancel the contract. The e2save woman said I didn’t even have a contract to cancel, because I hadn’t passed the credit check, because they didn’t know my previous address, because they were refusing to ask me for my previous address...

Enough already. But this painful process has furnished me with two pieces of valuable information: e2save’s email address and their real phone number (not the one you have to pay to ring).

e2save email address:
e2save phone number: 01509 611818

I hope anyone having similar trouble with e2save will find that info useful. But my advice would be just to avoid e2save completely.

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