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The beginning of a long story about a phone

The other day I went to buy myself a new cellphone because apparently making calls and sending hasty text messages and using the phone to remotely control your kids just doesn’t cut it anymore. They have this new thing where you can surf t’internet and pick up your email and gab with your friends in real time and such. And because YT is a typical Nicelander who must always have the latest, best and most superexcellent in all things gadgetry [not really], and also because AAH needed a triband phone she could use in the States and my old clunker fit the bill, I decided it was time to upgrade.

Anyway, so off I go to old Kringlan mall and wander into a store and promptly break into a sweat because ALL THOSE PHONES that do all those different things that I’ve never even heard of before and, well, it was all just kind of overwhelming. So this girl comes over and asks if she can help me pick one, and all I knew was that it had to be Nokia because I’ve always owned a Nokia and everyone in the household owns a Nokia and it’s good because we can all use the same phone chargers, and besides it was useful for narrowing things down a bit. Oh, and I also wanted to be able to pick up my email. That was all.

So, long story short, I go home with this model of phone, except in a lovely white, and after admiring it for a bit I break it open [I’m not kidding, I had to use force] and stick my SIM card in and start playing around with the settings and such. It had this bit of plastic pasted over the screen and the plastic had the logo of my phone company printed on it, and I fiddled with it a bit more [frustrated as hell, if you must know] before removing the plastic, and it was at that point that I realized that the logo and name of the phone company was not on the plastic but embedded in the actual phone itself.

In other words: at the top of the phone: NOKIA. Below that, just beneath the screen, this

vodafone logo

[Except the name was to the right of the logo.]

I dunno. Call me anal, if you will if you shall if you must, but the more I looked at that sucker, the more it bugged the hell out of me. It looked like an ugly blemish – nay, a grotesque pimple – on my pearly white 3G Nokia phone. Particularly – and this is important – because the model I looked at in the store DID NOT have such a grotesque pimple on its pristine black surface, so effectively I had been sold a phone that was different from the one I had viewed in the store. Besides, I thought it was pretty damn presumptuous of old Vodafone to expect me to just advertise their brand for them – FOR FREE – for the next two or three years, when they hadn’t even asked me nicely. Or, actually, when they hadn’t even asked me at all.

By the end of the evening, I’d decided I wanted a new phone. One that didn’t have that dastardly Vodafone advertisting logo on it [by this time it was all I saw when I looked at the phone]. After all, I have no particular loyalties to Vodafone – and what if, a few months down the road, I decided to switch phone companies? I’d be with Síminn, or NOVA, or Tal or whatever, and my phone would still read VODAFONE in big screaming letters. Which would just be stupid, like the whole thing was stupid.

So, the next morning I get on the blower to the Vodafone service centre. The girl on the other end talked to me like I was demented when I explained that I wanted a phone that didn’t have a Vodafone logo. “Why? Didn’t you buy it from Vodafone?” – Well yes, I bought it from Vodafone, but … . “Yeah, ok, but we don’t have those phones without the logo.” – Well then I’d like a refund. She laughed in my ear. “A refund? HAHAHHA!” Finally she said I could TRY to talk to the store manager at the main Vodafone store … but her tone of voice made it quite clear that she was purrritty damn sure I wasn’t gonna get anywhere.


YT: Hello, is this the manager of the Vodafone store?


YT: Yeah, hi. I bought this phone [blah] … logo … [blah] … advertise … [blah]… refund.

MOTVS: If you’ve already put your SIM card in it we can’t take it back. It’s a used phone.

YT: Yes, but the phone I looked at in the store didn’t have the logo on it. I get the phone home and it’s got a logo. That’s not the same phone as the one I thought I was buying.

MOTVS: If you’d returned it as soon as you saw the phone had a logo and not put the SIM card in it, I could have taken it back, but you didn’t. You put the SIM card in and now it’s not the same phone as the one you bought.

YT: I thought the logo was on the plastic. I don’t usually start by taking the plastic off.

MOTVS: Well, if the logo bothered you so much, why didn’t you start by checking to see if it was actually on the plastic?

Ah. Yes. Icelandic customer service – at its finest. So after ascertaining that this was her final answer, that she absolutely was not going to take the phone back, I did the grown-up equivalent of running to mommy: I called the Consumers Union.

To be continued …


Blustery and cool. It was gorgeous yesterday, this morning still pretty nice with just a thin veil of cloud and hardly any wind, but by afternoon it was chilly and blowing pretty hard, at least out by the golf course where EPI and I took a brisk stroll to imbibe some fresh air. Currently 12°C [54F], sunrise was at 3:57 am, sunset at 11:08 pm. Getting darker fast!



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sirry July 21, 2008, 12:35 am

    I was just thinking that the consumer union should be able to help you. They did NOT sell you the product as shown in the store. In my mind it’s false advertising. Anyway have you ever seen the Nokia N95 8gb phone with….wifi/internet, 5 mgpxl camera, gps system, mp3 player… and a remote to control your kids.
    No but seriously the Nokia N95 latest European version has gotten fantastic reviews. I want it 🙂 as I love Nokia and I’ve had a Nokia N93 (no gps, so I want a new one) and the Nokia Nseries are fantastic.
    They go for about $5-$600 usd.
    I’d say check it out, and fight it to the dead end to get a refund. They can ALWAYS refurbish the damn phone. Ugly logo *ugh*

  • Dankoozy July 21, 2008, 1:03 am

    Finally, someone who hates that vodafone logo as much as I do. The only way around it these days is to buy sim-free phones and most of the ones with the logo on the outside also have a lot of software branding and on the N95 they remove the built in VoiP client so vodafone makes more money.

    On the nokia e61 the vodafone logo is printed on a separate piece of removable plastic. the only way to get it off the 6120 is probably with white spirit or put on a new housing. but these days its just better to buy a factory unlocked phone because the networks, especially vodafone fuck around with them so much.

  • Bluegrass Mama July 21, 2008, 1:28 am

    Do they sell Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges in Niceland? It might leave the screen a teensy bit scratched, but I’ll bet it would remove the logo?

  • andrea July 21, 2008, 2:41 am

    How dare you leave us hanging like that! I’m a total luddite but my phone is also a Nokia. (At least I have one!) What’s wrong? The iPhone not good enough for you…. hmmm…? 🙂

  • Keera July 21, 2008, 7:39 am

    Icelandic service much like Norwegian service. 🙁 Fortunately, our consumer’s union insists on not branding phones to one cell phone provider because you’re also supposed to be able to buy the phone without a subscription (so they’re currently arguing about how the iPhone is being sold in Norway – subscription only).

  • Pétur July 21, 2008, 10:00 am

    Phones that have been branded with the phone company logo are usually “locked” to that phone company so you can’t switch to another provider. The reason is that these phones are subsidised to lure in new customers, and the only way for the phone company to get its money back is through the customers monthly subscription fee.
    This doesn’t seem to be the issue in your case. Vodafone Iceland probably just got some extra phones from Vodafone Intl on the cheap.

  • alda July 21, 2008, 11:19 am

    Sirry – patience, you have to wait until the end of the story! 😉

    Dankoozy – interesting, I had no idea they messed around with the software like that. And – I don’t really hate the logo per se, I just hate that it was engraved into the phone like that.

    Cat – possibly. Not the optimal solution, though, IMHO. 🙂

    Andrea – they’re not selling iPhones in Iceland yet. Some sort of dispute – probably the same thing Keera refers to in Norway, above. I probably would have got one if this hadn’t been the case. (Some people do have them here – bought in the US – but they’re hacked somehow.)

    Keera – interesting about the iPhone … people have been waiting here, too, for them to be allowed on the market. I don’t understand what the dispute is about, can’t really be bothered.

    Pétur – that’s what I’m thinking, too. Vodafone Iceland recently joined the international network and are probably getting the same phones as everyone else – except that here they’re not locked for a single provider.

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson July 21, 2008, 1:56 pm

    Alda, if contacting the Consumers union does not work then the next step may be “Okursíða Dr. Gunna” (http://this.is/drgunni/okur)

  • Jon July 21, 2008, 3:54 pm

    “Good Luck!” , he said sarcastically. Take a small jar of white paint and…….
    Seriously, I can’t wait to see how this turns out! Its tough to buck the system, but if anyone can do it, you can. You go girl!

  • Vikingisson July 27, 2008, 2:19 pm

    Hello from Kanuckistan!
    Ah, several things near and dear to my ranting heart, customer service (lack of), logos, and cell phone service. I’m not an anal person but I agree that unnecessary logos and in particular logos I wasn’t expecting is a big no no for me. Hate ’em and only want what I paid for. The first thing I notice after opening a purchase is marketing to buy something else..

    If you remember your Canadian days you know that over here we typically have locked phones like a previous poster mentioned. They always have the vendor logo and custom firmware that shackles you to what they want you to do and not what the phone is necessarily capable of.
    And this is a case where Kanada beats out Niceland on rape and pillage of the consumer. We have the crappiest service and highest prices of almost anywhere. But oh boy, we now have the jesusPhone 3G but iDon’t want it. And typically Canadian cell provider style, the usage cost and restrictions are insane. Who cares if the initial cost seems low, you pay huge in the long run every time.

    In fact for myself living in Canada with the current state of cell service, I don’t own one. And I won’t be getting one until the whole industry over here makes radical changes. And the big VoIP providers aren’t much better so I run my own server and use WiFI when away from the house. I’ll trade cell tower availability for harder to find WiFI any day when my usage rates are a tiny fraction of a cell and my freedom of devices and features is totally up to me.

    I hope that WiFI will be relatively easy to find when I go to Iceland. My SIP tablet/phone should work as if I’m at home and there won’t be any difference in cost or function. I won’t need it available all the time (take a message Maria…), just a few times to say hi and post to my blog.

    Again, I hear you on overuse of logos. I love(d) my Subaru but the first thing I did was to remove the giant corporate letters from the back. Everyone knows what the car is and they don’t pay me to drive a billboard.