The Null Device
Fresh == rubbish
I'm getting rather fed up with the Fresh prepaid mobile service I use. I got it when I arrived in the UK, as it was the cheapest way to get a +44 mobile number (essential for getting calls about accommodation/jobs returned), and to someone living off saved Australian pesos, cheap is good. (It's something like half or less of the cost of using other services.) What I've since learned is that what you save in call costs, you pay for in gratuitous inconvenience. Consider, for example:
- There is no convenient way of knowing how much credit you have, short of calling an automated voice number and going through the menus. They occasionally send you texts when you're "running low" (i.e., below £4 credit, which is enough to last a month or two)
- If you're not careful, the first you find out that you've run out of credit is when your phone is barred.
- Unless you pay a lot of money in, your phone will not be unbarred when you top it up. You hav e to go in/call up separately after topping up to get the bar removed.
This happened to me a few times. The most recent time, yesterday I went to top up my account, and asked the clerk to remove the bar immediately. He said he could do that. He lied.
As such, I just spent 9 minutes on hold, being subjected to what sounded like some kind of jazz-fusion/whalesong melange, punctuated at 15-second intervals by a plastically cheerful female voice insincerely apologising for the delay, before getting a call-centre employee who could lift the bar for me.
There is no technical reason for why Fresh needs to suck so badly. I suspect it may be part of an experiment in how people monetise convenience, and how much inconvenience they are willing to put up with to save a few quid.
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