You may or may not have heard of the new Motorola ROKR, affectionately known to its friends as the “iTunes phone”. Ever since the rumor mill had started rumor millin’ about this gadget, I figured I would probably be buying one as soon as it was eventually released. When I heard recently that my existing cell phone service provider, Cingular, would be the exclusive carrier of the ROKR, I was extra-pleased, as this meant it would be all the easier to accomplish this task.
Allow me to tell you the story of how one simple clerk in a Cingular store in Valley Fair Mall screwed me over.
Okay, so yesterday morning, Apple unveiled the ROKR, I saw the official specs, and I liked what I saw. Super, I was set to buy me one of them things. So I made my way to Valley Fair Mall and spoke with a person that ran the kiosk (those little autonomous stores where the salesman tries to sell cell phone plans to passers-by, which can’t be a very fruitful business). The kiosks hadn’t yet received the phone, but he suggested I might have better luck at the larger store by Macy’s. So I made my way over there. The clerk there, named Phuc Bui, told me they had one more phone in stock (I didn’t care if it actually was or not, it was the first place I’d found that had it, after trying the over-the-phone upgrade service and calling into another Cingular store the previous day). Great, I was all set to pay the man for the goods and be on my way. Before going forward, I informed him that the checking account attached to my check card did not have sufficient funds on its own, and I would have to also pay with a check from another account. He confirmed that he had heard and understood me.
He confirmed that he had heard and understood me.
So I slide my check card, and what does he do? He charges the entire amount to my account! I can’t really deal with bank fees at the moment, so I quickly had him transfer the funds back into the account, then called the bank support line and explained the situation thus far. Unfortunately, since the overdraw penalties would not appear for a few days, they couldn’t do anything about it, and told me I would receive a $22 fee when that happened (not to mention the bad reputation that is established with your bank with such things). I subsequently explained to the clerk what had happened, and that I would need to be reimbursed $22 to pay for the mistake. He refused, stating that I had never even stated my intention to pay with two accounts in the first place! He then proceeded to obnoxiously shake his head in disagreement as I tried to reason with him (I never realized how obnoxious this action can be until today; he wouldn’t even say anything, he just kept on head-shaking). I attempted to speak to his manager (her name is Maria E. Pineda), and she gave me the exact same stonewall reply. They could not possibly be at fault for what had occurred! Not a Cingular employee!
After much heated arguing, they agreed to deduct $22 from my next phone bill. While this was a nice gesture, it does absolutely nothing for my bank account, which is currently in the red (it seems to take much more time for Cingular to give me my money back then to take it). Now I can’t use my check card or make any withdrawals until the money is reimbursed! And once I do get it back, I’m down 22 bucks, which is a lot for a college student! And I didn’t get my phone. Screwed!
So if you should ever find yourself in Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara, CA, and you need to speak to a Cingular representative, don’t go to the store there. Go to the Cingular kiosk in front of the Apple Store. The folks there are courteous, quick to help, and aren’t named Phuc Bui or Maria E. Pineda. Consequently, if either of those two are working at the kiosk that day for some reason, quickly turn around and find something else.
I should note, in closing, that I don’t have any real problem with Cingular’s overall service. Just Phuc Bui and Maria E. Pineda.
I really wanted that phone.