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Fido can bite me
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I have a rather old phone with Fido. It's old enough that it has a black-and-white screen and has no way of connecting to a computer to update it or do anything else interesting. Its most advanced feature was text-messaging. Recently, the "up" key has gotten sporadically unresponsive, and so I've been contemplating a new phone.

I happened to be at the Metrotown mall yesterday and I walked by a Fido store while running my errand. I looked over the phones, fended off a salesguy by asking him enough questions to satisfy him without making "sell to me" noises. I decided that I would have to go home to compare the phones that looked good online before I could commit to a handset. (This turned out to be wise, since they were pushing one handset that was not as good as the cheaper one I settled on.) I went home and headed downtown for another errand, knowing there's another Fido store there.

Now, I've had their service for long enough that I remember when Microcell owned them, before the Rogers buyout. I've been on a month-to-month plan because I didn't want to get stuck with them, but I figured that after better than a year with them I could go for a contract in order to get a decent phone for a decent price. And, after all, wouldn't they be happy to have my guaranteed money for the next two years? That seems sane to me, but it seems I was wrong.

Rather than happily accepting my offer of allegiance, the (rather surly) saleswoman told me that she couldn't sell me the phone unless I was paying full price, and that I would have to call Fido customer service to switch to an agreement. She said they would mail me the phone. Now, does that make sense? If I was a new customer I would have walked out of there happy, with my shiny new phone and a two-year contract to give them money. Instead of that pleasant shopping experience, though, I was told to go away and go through a hassle. It's not as if there's a technical limitation (the SIM card just needs to be swapped between phones, and my account updated), so the only reason they have for not giving me the phone on the spot is because I'm already giving them money and they figure they can try to convince me I don't really want that new phone, at that attractively-low price. I got this at two stores. Not satisfied, I tried getting a Fido contract and new phone through a reseller, only to have them tell me that Fido (and Fido alone) has this policy for all their contracts and enforces it on resellers too.

I think maybe they forgot what the point of a contract is: it's to guarantee you that you're getting your customer's money. So I said fuck 'em and told the very helpful guy at Wireless Wave (plug!: Theo was excellent, and made me happy—exactly what Fido seemed to be trying not to do) that I would like a contract and phone similar to the ones I'd picked out from Fido, except from Bell (because Rogers owns Fido and Telus is still a union-busing corporate asshole).

So yeah, I have a new phone. It's a Samsung a920. It talks nice with my iBook wirelessly via Bluetooth, I can use it as a modem for my laptop (while it's still in my pocket!), it has an astonishingly high-res camera and camcorder built in, and is generally slick and useful where my Fido phone was not. And it only set me back $70 with a three-year plan. And the plan! Bell gives a discount to students (and to several other "professions", covering almost everything conceivable, it seems) so I got a better plan by far than the one I was one or was looking at signing up for, and for less. The savings on the plan (and the extra features I never had before) will more than pay for the cost of the phone over the three years.

So really, this is just me ranting. I've mentioned being annoyed with Fido before, so this is also closing the book on my reports of what it's like dealing with that once-great, but now gutted company. (Hopefully when I cancel I won't have anything "interesting" to report.)

Most importantly though, is I have a new phone number because of this decision to not let Fido hold me hostage by a desire to keep my number despite their shoddy customer service. Phone number to follow in a Friends-locked post.

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Funny, when I dropped my phone in the ocean and it stopped working, they were really good about switching the SIM card for me at the place I went to, etc.

It seems like it might be a new policy, because when Mouse got her current phone they switched it for her in-store too. All the more reason to be annoyed with them.

I paid full-price for said phone, though, as I already *had* a contract - they had no reason to give me the attractively low price, as they already had my money.

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