Telephonic frustration

My mobile phone is getting on a bit. Close to six years old, in mobile (cellphone) technology, that is as good as steam-powered. I rarely use it, and mainly keep it for emergencies, like a car breakdown, or if the power goes out and shuts down the house phone.

A while ago, I cancelled the contract, and changed to SIM-Only. That saved me a fair bit each month, but also meant that I couldn’t upgrade regularly. Still, I now owned the phone, and didn’t need a new one. That sounded pretty good to me.

Until Thursday.

Because of the low use, and because I don’t have the Internet access of Wi-fi switched on unless I need it, the battery used to last me 5-6 days before needing to be recharged. On Thursday, I noticed that I had just 1% battery showing. As it was fully charged on Tuesday, that seemed strange. So I put it on charge, and a couple of hours later I noticed it was back up to 100%. So it was unplugged, and put back on the desk. Two hours later, the message alert sounded. I checked and found a text message from a relative.

But I also noticed that the phone was already down to just 16% battery.

This afternoon, I drove into the nearby town of Dereham, and made a rare visit to one of those shops that deals with multiple providers of mobile networks and phone handsets. I intended to buy a new battery, after accepting that the old one had reached the stage where it was no longer viable.

They don’t sell one for this phone. Furthermore, they no longer make this phone. In addition to that, the company (HTC) that used to make this phone has been bought out by Google, and has ceased to exist, at least in Britain. No accessories, no batteries, and nothing compatible are sold here any longer. The man in the shop was very helpful. He told me I could buy a battery online that would work with my phone, but that I had to be very careful, as many of them are unregulated imports, and the electronics might catch fire.

Not wishing to buy something that could burn the house down, I thought over my options.

Eventually, I decided to tell him that I would take out a regular phone contract again, which would provide me with a new phone, and only cost just over Β£6 a month more than I am paying now. He suggested a Samsung A10 as a replacement, and began to fill in my details on his computer. Almost finished, he suddenly mentioned something. “You are aware that you will have a different number of course?” I was more than a little flabbergasted. I told him that I had the same number for almost 25 years, so why would it have to change now.

His explanation made me feel as if I was being wrapped in a techno-spider’s web.

It seems that when I changed to SIM-only, I lost the option to keep my number in any other contract. Naturally, the guy who sold me that option in Norwich never bothered to tell me that at the time. I cancelled the order before he could press ‘Send’, and asked what he suggested. I really do not want to change my number. For someone with my level of technical skill, changing my mobile number is something that fills me with dread. Besides, my current number is one of those that is remarkably easy to remember.

He offered to sell me the phone, for a one-off payment. He will put my SIM in it, and that’s that. I will pay my monthly fee for the SIM deal, and have a new phone with better features, and a hopefully more vital battery. The price seemed reasonable too, at Β£139 all in. I smiled. “Sold!” He turned to get one off the shelf, and I was relaxed and chatting as he started on the paperwork. “Will you transfer all my contact numbers and photos over before I go, please?” I said with a smile.

He stopped completing the form, and shook his head. “I’m afraid that your HTC list of contacts and photos are not compatible with any other brand of handset, sir. Before you activate this phone, you will need to write down every contact detail, and then enter them all manually into the new phone”.

I thanked him for his time, and left.

They are out to get me. They really are.

92 thoughts on “Telephonic frustration

  1. As someone who works in the Telco industry I am about 99% sure that he is talking absolute cobblers when it comes to the keeping of your number. If you ring up whoever provides your service now you can request your PAC code from them. They must provide it. If you don’t want to ring them you can even text for it. Have a look here: https://paccodes.co.uk/ It is an Ofcom regulation. With the PAC code you can transfer your number to any other provider. The issue here might be that you are going through an Indirect Partner (Carphone Warehouse or the like) rather than direct to a provider. I would offer to help you out with the company I work for but I reckon that the contract price you are looking for might be below eligibility for my friends and family discount.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Karen. I had AVG anti-virus on that phone, and it was scanned regularly. As I had no Apps running on it, the sudden battery failure was suspicious, and made me consider the possibility of a faulty connection where the contacts met, or with the charger.
      Whatever the cause, it wasn’t recoverable, and I went back onto contract with a new phone.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  2. I am right there with you. They had to have a gmail to update or transfer anything. I use yahoo so that was another nightmare. It is, in my opinion, a planned frustration. My grandkids know more than I ever will about phones and technology. They give me advise when I ask. I wish I did not need the phone as much as I do, but it is necessary for me.
    Good luck on your updating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My step-kids just don’t understand why I don’t ‘get it’. (They are all early 30s) They do this stuff all the time, and it is second nature to them. But everything they suggested is just blocked by the issue with the email password. I am tempted to just change to a contract, get a new number, and just text everyone that it has changed. Trying to calm down now…:)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My six year old phone has refused to take a charge lately. I have no land line and it is my only connection to the world. I purchased a new phone and went in to the dreaded Verizon store to have it activated. What a nightmare. A salesperson took my name and added it to her ipad. She did not tell me the length of time I would be waiting. I finally asked and I was tolt it would not be too long. I pressed again asking for a time frame. She finally said between ten and thirty minutes. As I cannot be without a phone, I had no choice, but to wait. All the workers were doing their best to upsell the customers. I just wanted my phone activated. When I aksed to have my contacts and pictures moved over I too was told they did not do that. I am not sure if she took pity on me, or just wanted a good rating, but she did move over my contacts. She gave me a piece of paper to call the tech line to move over the rest of the infor on my phone. It was not a good experience. The cell phone is a necessary evil to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have just had a 2-hour+ nightmare here. I put my SIM card into my wife’s old (modern) phone, after typing up all my numbers on a word document.. But the ‘new’ phone will not accept my email password, so I am waiting for a verification code. Every 20 minutes, it times out, and tells me ‘there’s a problem’, but doesn’t say what the problem is. I don’t see why I have to have a ‘linked email’ to be able to use a phone. All it has done is to cause a blazing argument, and completely spoil the evening.

      It would make me feel a lot better to just smash it into tiny pieces with a hammer!
      I hate ‘technology’ so much!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It feels unkind of me to smile, Pete, but smile I did when I read this. I have just had a similar experience with my mom and just yesterday spent hours transferring all her numbers across to her new phone manually. You’ve just got to love technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder if it might depend on the company, Pete, but I had also done something similar, although the other way round (in my case I went from pay as you go to contract) and when it came the time to change, I had to first change back to a pay as you go sim to be able to request the change and keep the number. It might be different now, but if I were you I’d check somewhere else, just in case. (My last contract for a mobile in the UK was with BT that worked out quite cheap, but it was a deal because I also had broadband with them). Sometimes the shops for the actual mobile network can be more helpful… But I feel your pain and although my phone is not very good, I keep holding on for dearlife…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to go to the EE shop today, then Julie remembered she has her modern Samsung phone from when she upgraded in September. I can use that instead, but will still have to write down all my contact numbers. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  6. A 20 zloty (Β£4) a month contract gives me enough mobile internet to listen to UK radio wherever and whenever I want, a second hand phone and i’m good to go. I only have about 10 contacts and the only calls I get are from Gosia reminding me to bring some veg from the root cellar when i’m down at the barn πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, the simple life. I get few calls or texts, but I have those 100+ contacts that I don’t want to lose, just in case… Julie remembered her modern Samsung phone last night. She kept it when she upgraded to a new Pixel 4. I can have that one instead, after I write down all my numbers. πŸ™‚
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. OH NO…..!!! I worry about this. And, I have great advice. When you go to stores for buying a new phone or changing your computer, you must take along a 30-something year old. I mean that sincerely. While the shopkeepers are helpful, they assume and think like the younger generation. It may never occur to them that you don’t know switching to a new provider might mean changing your phone number. And, that’s not a big deal to the younger generation, but it is to us. I am due to upgrade my phone, as it is no longer able for updates. I will have my young buddy in tow. When they explain differences and options, I will need her ears. Keeping my easy phone number and my email is a big deal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jennie. I don’t have ‘access’ to anyone young enough to understand ‘phone-speak’, unfortunately. But the good news is that my wife just remembered that she kept her modern Samsung phone when she upgraded this autumn, so I can have that one instead. I would still have to write down all my numbers though. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have had my fair share of technology rants so I feel your pain, Pete. If my son had not sent me a nice Apple gift card, I doubt I would have upgraded until they had to pry my old phone from my clinched hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was happy with my ancient Nokia but it didn’t take pictures so I upgraded to a Samsung. Now I find I use it as a camera and very rarely make phone calls, although the shop did manage to switch my number over so that didn’t change. I would also hate to lose my mobile number as it is on all my business cards, book marks etc. We know now that if the house phone rings it is probably someone we don’t want to speak to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem with keeping the number was a deal-breaker for me, Julie. I still don’t understand why they won’t let me keep it. After the holiday season, I will be in a shop banging on the counter. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  10. I understand completely, Pete; if I could manage without a mobile, I happily would. I thought all this competition was supposed to make technology easier to use and cheaper, but from my viewpoint, it doesn’t 😦 Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like many things that are fashionable, consumers in this country have embraced the idea of ‘desire over practicality’ where mobile phones are concerned. The companies have caught onto the fact that they can charge what they like for any ‘must-haves’. People like us are just on the sidelines of this industry, and they honestly couldn’t care less about that tiny sector of the market.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I totally get your frustration. I really do. I hate spending money on a cell phone I barely use. The lengths I go to…I used to use my iPodβ€”that’s right, Podβ€”as a cell phone, of sorts, when I travelled.

    I don’t know how it all works where you are (I’m in the US), but I managed to change out my iPhone 4S battery by going to the iFixit website and ordering a tool kit. Inside my phone were the teeniest tiniest screws you ever didβ€”or did notβ€”see. To be honest, it does feel a bit like brain surgery, and I don’t recommend drinking coffee before doing it, but it’s possible. Anyway, that helped salvage my phone for a little while longer. (If you do this, be sure to read the instructions in advance, as well as all the comments/Q&As.)

    However, that said, a relative recently gave me their “old” iphone 6, which turned out to be a very timely upgrade for me, as the battery in my 4S wasn’t the only problem. The battery was much better, but everything else was going wrong. I couldn’t figure it out. They’ll get you one way or another, I’m afraid.

    That said, I don’t regret spending some money on an unlocked phone. This way I’m not stuck with any particular phone carrier and can shop around for the best deals. Right now I’m using Ting at around $25/mo for calls, texts, data, plus my husband’s emergency flip phone is free (he uses my minutes if he needs them and it doesn’t cost any more for the additional line). I used to pay about $18/mo for our phones, tax and all included, but when I got my new-used iphone, I decided to download the Scrabble app. Now I’m hooked.

    Anyway, I would recommend looking around the internet for a creative solution. In any case, I’m rooting for you. Damn the man! Stay frugal!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your advice. I don’t think that the system is vastly different from the US here, though the battery in my phone can be easily removed with no screws. The issue is not being able to buy a replacement easily. Nobody sells them any longer here.
      As of this morning, I am still ‘considering my options’. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy.
      Looks like I will have to go down that route soon.
      I don’t think I have any irrelevant contacts on my phone, save for two friends who have passed away, and I kept their numbers for sentimental reasons. I have over 100 numbers to write down though, so it’s a tedious job.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

  12. I have an old cell phone that has no connection with the internet. It sends and receives phone calls and text messages, and has a few other features that I never use (like a calculator). It costs me $30/month. A year from now, my phone provider will upgrade to 5G, making my cheapo phone’s network obsolete. I guess I’ll have to buy a 5G smartphone at that time…or just do without a mobile phone altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. They are indeed out to get you, and me and for that matter the rest of us with a dollar or a pound to our name. (If they have their way they will get that dollar or pound.) Can you upload the contact list from your phone to your computer? If so you may be able to download them to a new phone. Best of luck. Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I also have an ancient (6 years old) phone. Every now and then its battery loses charge really fast. My solution, which has worked so far, is to take out the battery and put it back in a few minutes later. The phone restarts and carries on normally for another few months. Eventually I’ll have to replace it, but so far I’ve delayed the evil moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My sympathies. I can’t believe that they said you wouldn’t be able to keep your phone number. I was intrigued that an earlier comment mentioned being billed for calls to Grenada. Here I was billed $800 for calls to Nauru. I not only have never been there I didn’t even know of its existence until the bill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a Grenada scam here some time ago. You got a call from an unknown number, answered it, and then hung up. A widget kept the line open, though you didn’t know, and it charged something like $90 a minute to a ‘premium rate’ line until the call dropped out.
      Luckily, It didn’t happen to me, but it was so widespread, it featured on the news here.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. The phone “racket” is that indeed…nothing made to be repaired, only replaced…and an upgrade is the only way to ensure all of your contacts, photos etc remain in place…frustrating – and always expensive, no matter how much they talk about family lines, etc! Sorry to read this Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hehe. That’s much worse than my billing problem with my phone company over the $100 worth of phone calls to Granada I didn’t make (I know no one in Granada – not even a blogger!) from Providence Rhode Island, where I haven’t been since 1982.

    πŸ™‚

    Don’t let ’em get to you Pete! Besties.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We are prisoners of technology. I’m not that old guy wishing for days gone by, but with “progress” comes added problems. Good luck fighting the good fight, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’re going to have to suck it up and write down all your contacts and get the Β£139 deal or whatever it was, (excellent deal BTW). Good thing is you can weed out all the ones you don’t really need, and you only have to do it the once if you have the contract. And get your head round the fact that you need to keep communication devices up to date!

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Wait until you find out that many smartphones don’t even let you change the battery! Once that goes, you have to throw the whole thing away and get a new one. I’ve heard there’s an EU regulation that forbids that practice, but I don’t know when it kicks in.

    One solution to your conundrum may be ebay. I always find replacement parts there, like new batteries, no matter how old the technology. Also, most sellers nowadays are companies selling new stuff instead of used one. And you don’t even have to bid or anything; you just buy whatever you need (most of the time). May be worth a visit. Also may be worth googling your model and adding the word “battery” at the end. Who knows, you may get lucky and find a company that sells batteries for it that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Nicholas. I have found many sellers on EBay offering alternatives, but I have become inordinately worried about the possibility that they might be fakes, and burn down the house!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I can’t. My phone cost Β£14.99 and was always pay as you go until Jon decided to put it on his contract (some special deal no doubt) so I don’t even pay for calls. It’s nto a smart phone but it does what’s required of it. When I do have to change it I should maybe offer it to a museum!

        Liked by 1 person

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