How to Kill the Apple Brand with a Single Keyword: Movistar

9 thoughts on “How to Kill the Apple Brand with a Single Keyword: Movistar”

  1. Nice post – it’s similar to my bane with the airlines – when will they get it? Maybe you can try the storm 2 or you can move to Canada and we at TELUS will treat you well!! 😉

  2. Man, sorry to hear (or read) that. I must say, my experience has been the complete opposite. Apple has worked with me on my iPhone battery issue twice. Even AT&T was helpful. So far the machines have not had a problem (although I will steer clear of the old Time Capsule!)

  3. Hombre Luis, me he reído un buen rato con un tu entrada. ¿Pero como sigues todavía con Vomistar o Robafone? Yo fui hace años cliente de Vomistar, luego de Vodafone y ahora un feliz cliente de Simyo. Por cierto, hace unos días vino por aquí un BP con un iPhone libre funcionando con Robafone. ¿Es que no conoces ? quizás haga una entrada sobre este arisco tema en el ESLUG. ¿Nos visitas alguna vez? Un Saludo, Albert.

  4. Luis,

    I wish this story was unusual but it is rather typical of telecom service providers. This makes me wonder why equipment vendors like Apple sign exclusive deals with any service provider.

    Many years ago I had a bad experience with a bad experience with Eircom (the legacy telecom provider in Ireland). When I applied for a line in the apartment where I stayed while in University they told me that as a personal customer I was only allowed to have one line and I would have to give up service at home.

    Eventually I managed to work around the rule by getting service in my brother’s name, but now several decades later I still implement a policy of avoiding getting any services from Eircom whenever possible.


  5. My current Movistar “journey” is as Kafkaesque as Luis’s, although it may point towards something more sinister and offensive than mere rank incompetence and 19th-century red tape – although it’s got that in spades, too.

    Four days ago, I went to a Movistar shop (an actual owned-by-Telefónica shop, not a franchise or associated dealership) to upgrade my wonky old prepaid Motorola to a contract for an spanking new 32-gig iPhone 3GS. Yes, they’d arrived at last, after a mere three-month wait (as mentioned above). I was armed with everything required: multiple ID, bank details, SIM card, the works. All was well until the very end of the 25-minute form-filling, photocopying and key-tapping procedure, when the shop assistant looked up from her screen, shrugged, and said, “‘Transaction unauthorised’, it says here.”

    “Er, sorry? I’m offering to give you €239 in cash right now and commit, in the middle of a recession, by means of a legally binding contract, to at least a further €700 over the next 18 months in flatrate fees and charges, and you’re not interested? Why, pray, why?” I beseeched the shop assistant (perhaps not in those exact words).

    “I’m not allowed to know,” was her reply, so sheepish that all the local dogs started growling. Apparently I would have to wait for a call from the “Traffic Department”, who would explain the problem and how it might be solved.

    So I waited. And waited. No call from the Traffic Department, so I called them (via nine calls to a call centre in Honduras, as you do). It turns out they wanted a €150 deposit, returnable in six months, provided I was up to date with my monthly fees and charges.

    “Is this because of the ‘X’ at the beginning of my ID-card number, by any chance? Because I’m not a Spanish citizen and therefore not to be trusted to pay my bills?”

    “No, no. It’s just that it’s not quite as easy to buy an iPhone as it used to be.”

    “So everyone who wants to buy one has to spend half an hour filling in all the forms only to be told that they’ll have to wait for a call from you that never comes so they have to phone Honduras nine times to find out that you expect a deposit? That’s your system for selling iPhones, is it? Across the board?”

    “Er…(a pause so pregnant its waters were breaking)… yes.”

    He was lying. I could hear his eyes flicking away to the left and his foot twitching to stub out an imaginary cigarette end as he said it.

    I really, really want an iPhone, so I just sighed and asked how I should go about paying the deposit. He gave me an account number to pay the €150 into. Oh, but I couldn’t do it via bank transfer over the Internet; it had to be done in person at a specific physical bank. Oh, and the specific physical bank had to stamp the receipt legibly – very important that. Oh, and I then had to fax (fax!) the receipt to a number that he gave me. Then, and only then, would I be able to buy my iPhone.

    The following morning I went to the specific physical bank, €150 in cash akimbo, to make the required deposit. The cashier laughed in my face. “Did Movistar give you this account number?” he asked me.

    “Er, yes… and?”

    “It was a temporary account. It’s been closed for months. It doesn’t exist. Sorry.”

    So I took the most radical, most dramatic action that was open to me: I called Honduras nine times again. Eventually (a word that will forever be associated with the Telefónica group the world over), they gave me an account number that they assured me does indeed exist, and this morning I went to specific physical bank No. 2 to try again. The cashier laughed in my face. “Cash deposits can only be made into this account between the 10th and 20th of every month. Oh, and only before 10:30 a.m.”

    Eventually (there goes that word again), I managed to send them the money in accordance with their terms by driving 15 miles to my own branch and doing a transfer from there. Having now spent an entire afternoon and an entire morning trying to buy an iPhone, I will apparently be able to complete the transaction next Tuesday, because the “system” will take 48 hours to approve the operation. That’s provided the fax number he gave me was correct, it arrived, it was legible and it had its very-important-that stamp duly in place.

    The upshot is that Movistar discriminate against immigrants, which is illegal. There; I’ve said it. Let them sue me if they dare.

    My advice? Go to Vodafone or Orange and buy a sodding BlackBerry. Or if you really, really, really want an iPhone, take out Spanish citizenship. It’s easier.

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