Friday, 20 July 2012

That darn dongle dingle-dangle

A couple of years back in Prague, Czech Republic, I got a dongle deal from O2 to keep me online during regular commuter train journeys. The dongle deal was tagged on to my mobile phone bill. Then I moved and changed jobs and no longer needed the dongle, so I rang up O2 and said I no longer needed the dongle and wanted to cancel the dongle deal. No problem, they said. Only, silly me, I forgot to check on my mobile phone bills and, one year later, guess what, I was still paying for a dongle I wasn`t using. Lesson learned: double check bills and put everything in writing!

Meanwhile, over in Spain, my best mate bought herself a dongle from Movistar, also her mobile phone provider, but in fact she never even took it out of the box because she then decided to get ADSL in her apartment. She phoned, several times, to cancel it, but many months later Movistar were still deducting money from her account for the dongle that was still wrapped up in its box. She went in to the local Movistar store and was assured that next month the fee would no longer be charged. The saga still continues.

Fast forward to the UK, where I am at a temporary address for the summer. I went into the local T-mobile store and explained that I needed a dongle with enough capacity to use with Skype (I Skype a lot as almost all my friends are strewn across Europe). No problem, they said in the store. Just get a 5g dongle and away you go. Great, I said. I took my laptop into the store, set up the payments on their computer, installed the dongle on my laptop and....... Skype didn`t work. Don`t worry, they said. There`s a fitness centre above us and the signal isn`t very good. Okayyyy. So I got the laptop and dongle home and, yes, you guessed it, it didn`t work at home either. Why not? Because apparently T-mobile BLOCK Skype on their dongles. Lessons learned: Check before you buy a dongle, preferably from an independent source, whether your dongle will actually do what you want it to do, and above all, cancel all contracts in writing, otherwise you could be paying a fortune.

Mobile service providers use all sorts of sharp practices to draw revenue from services either that you are not even using, or that they never even provided in the first place.
Have a nice day

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