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Nov 17

WTF, Ymobile?

Picture 9I changed carriers at the beginning of the summer, moving from DoCoMo to Ymobile. I had been planning on stretching out my phone for another year, but it was on its last legs of usefulness. And then, Ymobile was having a promotion and I happened to stumble across it. Even after paying 30,000 yen for a new phone (a Nexus 6—I fucking love it) and ~16,000 yen to get released from my auto-renewed DoCoMo contract, I calculated that I’d save 99,000 yen or so over the next two years. Good deal.

One of the things that came with the deal: 3 data-only uSIM cards that I could request and use. I got the first one back in August and gave my old phone to my mother-in-law with the SIM in it so that she could use LINE (her phone doesn’t have internet). Last week, I decided to get the other two uSIMs I’m entitled to so that I don’t need to do it in a pinch later. My mother is visiting early next year, and it would be nice for her to have a working device. Also, my backup phone needs a SIM.

So, I went to the local Ymobile shop on Friday, since I was out in that area. One thing that’s nice about Ymobile is that I don’t have to take a number and wait 90 minutes to see someone like I did with DoCoMo. The downside is that the clerks are less knowledgeable about anything beyond their most basic offerings, so doing something like getting my uSIMs can take longer than it should. There is also no one in the shop for them to escalate questions to.

After some initial confusion, my clerk walked me through the registration process for the SIMs, and I signed for them on the screen of his tablet. He hit the submit button and… rejected. Weird, since I’d already done this process a few months ago for the first uSIM. He excused himself for a moment to pick up a flip-phone and call someone. He managed to get someone on the line, spoke for a couple of minutes and hung up.

Apparently, they wouldn’t tell him why I couldn’t have my cards. Not couldn’t mind you. Wouldn’t. At least that’s my interpretation of it. The wording he used was, roughly translated, something like: “They won’t teach me, so I can’t teach you why you can’t have them.” (The Japanese word for teach is frequently used in the context of telling information. For instance, people “teach” their phone numbers to each other. So that particular wording isn’t as weird as it looks.) But he used “おしえません” (“didn’t teach”) as opposed to something ending with “できません” or some variation thereof (can’t do), and he did it repeatedly. My Japanese is not great so I checked by confirming: “You can’t tell me because they didn’t tell you.” and he agreed. Well, I could be wrong. The upshot in either case: I couldn’t get my SIMs and no one would tell me why.

Worse, the clerks couldn’t even tell me what my next step should be. I asked if I could come back in three days, and maybe they’d have it sorted by then. “Not likely,” was the answer I got. One of the other clerks pointed out a couple of times that maybe I should switch to AU or another company that had more support for foreigners. I pointed out that a) changing providers would cost me money, since I had a contract with Ymobile, and b) I have already paid for the uSIM cards, and their own material (right there on the desk; I was pointing to it) entitled me to those uSIMS. I asked if they had a supervisor, department head, or other boss we could escalate the matter to. Apparently, the only point of contact they had was the number my clerk had already called.

Then the other clerk suggested I come back in December. I asked why that would change things, and they couldn’t answer me. I also pointed out again that these SIMs were paid for (and were sitting right in front of me) and while I was willing to wait a couple of days for them to figure something out, waiting two weeks for something I paid for five months ago was a bit ridiculous. Throughout all this, I was as polite as possible. Aware that I’m not very good at hiding my irritation, I made a point of apologizing to the clerks and explaining that I was wasn’t annoyed with them, but with the system that allowed something like this to happen.

So, in the end, after spending 90+ minutes in the shop, I had to leave empty handed.

Next course of action is to phone the customer service line… or rather get someone to help me call the customer service line, since my Japanese falls completely to pieces on the phone (especially since I can’t easily use the phone to look up words I don’t understand while I’m talking on it).

Still happy with my phone, but seriously annoyed with Ymobile’s ridiculous customer service.

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