riahon: As much as many here appreciate the work done on these forums to help out customers the question really should be, Why isn't this the norm?

Is Johnr and others going outside their companies policies? Or is it that frontline reps are either not trained correctly or they are apathetic to customers requests?

I don't think it is fair to generalise that frontline reps are not trained correctly or apathetic - my personal experience in calling Vodafone is that their current customer service attitude/ability has improved many orders of magnitude in the last year or so.

John is obviously able to do things that general CSRs are not authorised to perform but has to use his discretion and I believe he does a great job for Vodafone. It always astounds me when people (not implying that you did) criticise him in a rude or offhand way when he really is going above and beyond to help.

And that is what I mean. If John is able to do that and it is within company policy, why isn't there some sort of escalation process so all customers that ring in are able to experience this level of support.

I am sure many who have been in the same situation would have just accepted the NO. They immediately become a churn risk. 

I am going to speculate that people beyond frontline obviously have the discretion to make such a decision. The frontline becomes the filter, if anyone pushes hard enough then they get their wish. I wish customers didn't have to push so hard. It is tiring.