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Topic # 185324 18-Nov-2015 13:19
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I saw a letter in our local paper today that I think should be publicised here. Unfortunately I have no way of contacting the writer to get permission to re-post so I will paraphrase instead.

The issue has to do with Spark mobile phone battery replacements. The writer depends on a mobile phone for medical emergency support and points out that others also rely on these for medical and emergency situations. The writer’s battery died, apparently before it should have, but in spite of pointing out that the phone was needed for medical emergencies, the local Spark branch could not replace it and said it would take five days over the weekend to order a new one.

After making clear that the phone was needed for medical emergencies, the writer asked for a loaner phone or battery replacement while the battery was being ordered, but was refused. The writer says two other outlets were tried, but the cost was prohibitive.

The writer says both outlets said the battery could have exploded at any time but Spark did not warn of this. The battery was 12 months old and had only experienced moderate use, mainly for texting.

The writer asks why Spark cannot keep a spare battery in stock for these situations, or why one could not have been couriered to the shop for pick-up. The writer says Spark customer service was utterly lacking. Apparently no battery was to be had in either Hastings or Napier, the towns within reach of the writer.

I have no way of verifying this story. I am merely reporting what was in the letter. If it is true, though, I think it is a matter of concern and should be replied to by Spark.




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  Reply # 1430335 18-Nov-2015 13:27
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Can't help but wonder, if the original writer was so utterly dependant on have the phone for medical emergency purpose, why THEY did not have a back up... or maybe they did (partners phone?) but have neglected to give the full story. I'm picking they are using the mobile as their emergency device as they won't shell out on a real emergency contact device.

This is only 1 side of the story and I bet there is a lot that hasn't been said.




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  Reply # 1430347 18-Nov-2015 13:33
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No argument from me. As I said, I'm just reporting what was written.





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  Reply # 1430348 18-Nov-2015 13:34
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Some comments on what you've paraphrased -

I wouldn't expect Spark stores to hold stock of batteries for all phones available in the last couple of years. That would be ridiculous.

We have no information on how well the original writer treated their phone/battery. All we've heard is "moderate use" but we have no way of knowing if this was sensible moderate use, or if the wrong charger had constantly been used on the phone, or, or, or

There were certainly other options available to the original writer - buying a $29 phone to use in the mean time, for example.


For all we know the original writer could have been very demanding, me me me, and that Sparks response was not unreasonable.

But again, we only have one side of the story.



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  Reply # 1430355 18-Nov-2015 13:42
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Of course. The impression I get from the letter is that the writer does not have a lot of money, or understanding of technical matters. Even if Spark is completely in the right here, they still might want to respond to the original letter, which was published in Hawke's Bay Today.





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  Reply # 1430365 18-Nov-2015 13:59
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Rikkitic: Of course. The impression I get from the letter is that the writer does not have a lot of money, or understanding of technical matters. Even if Spark is completely in the right here, they still might want to respond to the original letter, which was published in Hawke's Bay Today.



Often a business won't respond to something like this - unless it gets legs with the media - as it can be the start of a downward spiral. Thanks to privacy laws a business will always be on the backfoot with this sort of thing being taken public as an individual will usually get away with taking a lot of "shots" at the business involved without repercusion. Too expensive and time wasting for businesses to get involved.

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  Reply # 1430431 18-Nov-2015 14:49
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keewee01: Can't help but wonder, if the original writer was so utterly dependant on have the phone for medical emergency purpose, why THEY did not have a back up...

This is what I was thinking. I'm not sure what the complainant's "medical emergency support" requirements are, but if my health, or life, or that of a family member, relied on a cell phone then it's my responsibility to ensure I always have a working phone with me. Perhaps this person could have carried a spare battery with them.

And with places like DSE selling phones for under $20 you don't have to be rich to be able to afford a backup.



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  Reply # 1430437 18-Nov-2015 15:08
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Good points. Makes me wonder what the backstory actually is.





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  Reply # 1430460 18-Nov-2015 15:49
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Yes it's almost impossible to comment or respond to. My expertise is in DSL and fibre, not mobile, so I cannot offer any insights at all. I looked at Hawkes Bay Today's online edition but they don't appear to publish letters to the editor online, so unless someone from Spark is able to pick up the article in print and pass it on to the appropriate dept for a response, there is not likely to be an investigation or explanation forthcoming.




The views expressed by me are not necessarily those of my employer Spark NZ Ltd



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  Reply # 1430554 18-Nov-2015 17:58
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I guess I could scan it and email it if anyone is really interested, I just don't think it is appropriate to republish it here without permission of the writer.





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  Reply # 1430656 18-Nov-2015 20:47
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If it was published in the local newspaper then that's public arena, so I don't see any issue with you scaning and posting it here, or link to it if they have an online edition



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  Reply # 1430713 18-Nov-2015 21:49
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I agree that posting it here would probably be okay but I just don't feel comfortable doing it without the writer's approval. Unfortunately the paper doesn't publish letters on-line. I'm still willing to email it individually.





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  Reply # 1430928 19-Nov-2015 09:22
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I would have thought a fixed line would be more suitable for medical emergencies (or at least as a backup).

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  Reply # 1430939 19-Nov-2015 09:30
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keewee01: If it was published in the local newspaper then that's public arena, so I don't see any issue with you scaning and posting it here, or link to it if they have an online edition


That's not how copyright works.

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  Reply # 1431066 19-Nov-2015 12:11
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andrew027:
keewee01: Can't help but wonder, if the original writer was so utterly dependant on have the phone for medical emergency purpose, why THEY did not have a back up...

This is what I was thinking. I'm not sure what the complainant's "medical emergency support" requirements are, but if my health, or life, or that of a family member, relied on a cell phone then it's my responsibility to ensure I always have a working phone with me. Perhaps this person could have carried a spare battery with them.

And with places like DSE selling phones for under $20 you don't have to be rich to be able to afford a backup.


Agreed, unless the customer has a contract with Spark to provide medical emergency services then this is not Spark's responsibility at all.

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  Reply # 1431596 20-Nov-2015 10:38
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Time to get real  :-)

Mobile phones are cheap..consumer grade..tech
THEY ARE NOT INTENDED or designed to be relied on for emergency use .

Looks like someone just blaming other people for their poor choices.
What if cellphone coverage went down (as it does) , what if the ph just dies (as they can do) .
Why did they not buy a spare batt at time of purchase, if it was so important to them, if it was to be relied on for 'emergencies'
Why did they not buy a $20 spare phone at the time of purchase, if it was so important to them.



BS filter should have been applied by the newspaper perhaps?
"The writer says both outlets said the battery could have exploded at any time but Spark did not warn of this."

"...and said it would take five days over the weekend to order a new one. " 
seems reasonable , 3days if you deduct the weekend . There are cut off times for couriers so courier might not pickup till next day

then...
"..or why one could not have been couriered to the shop for pick-up."
Wait, what. They allready said they could order one in . Is that person just stupid or someone who just wants to complain .

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