One chat with O2 is one chat too many…

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Last week I had occasion to try to access my mobile phone account with O2. They couldn’t find me on their website, though have never had any difficulty taking my cash for nearly 20 years. Eventually the website offered me the chance to create a new username and password – but still my account details were not available. 

So, I took the opportunity to email them, and just as the email started, up popped an invitation to have an on-line chat with one of their customer service staff. 

Here is the transcript of that 7 minute conversation. Obviously I have changed some of the letters and numbers to protect access data, but apart from that, here it is in all its mystifying glory!

Welcome to O2. Someone will be with you soon.

You’re through to (let’s call him Alan – but he may be a robot – I’m not sure).

Alan: Hi I’m O2 : Alan. How can I help?

Norman: Hi – cannot find my bill on my O2 account page even though I have signed in

Alan: No worries, I’ll help you with that.

Alan: Please can you tell me the answer to your security question?

(Security question safely negotiated)

Alan: Thanks for the information. Please give me a few minutes while I check this for you.

Alan: Thanks for waiting. You’ll now be able to login with your username HamilBelf286431 and the new password sent on your phone. Also ensure the username and password are case sensitive and should be the way it is.

Alan: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Norman: So I have a new username and new password? Have just gone through all of this on-line in last few minutes

Alan: Just to let you know on your account your Username is HamilBelf286431.

Norman: I have just logged in as normhamilton – which is how I got connected to you!

Alan: In order to view you bills you need to login with HamilBelf286431

Norman: just to be clear – I need two usernames and two passwords for O2?

Alan: No, to view your bills you need to use Username is HamilBelf286431.

Norman: Why won’t normhamilton get me there?

Alan: Do you wish to change your username?

Norman: I’m getting lost! I have just set up a new username and password in the last 10 minutes which enabled me to access you – now I am being told that I have a different name and password

Alan: I’ll explain it to you when get into O2 contract we register your online username as HamilBelf286431 and it cannot be changed till the end date of your contract.

Alan: However, you can change your password anytime.

Norman: So what is the status of the new username and password which has been confirmed to me by text from 02 in the past 10 minutes?

Alan: Norman, be assured from now onwards the username will be HamilBelf286431 and it will never be changed.

Norman: But please answer my question!

Alan: I can see that your billing username will reaming the same and the normhamilton has been used for creating another account in which you won’t be able to view your bills

Alan: I hope I’m clear to you…..:)

Alan: *remain

Norman: Sorry Alan – completely mystified as to why I now have 2 usernames and two passwords. Why does O2 allow me to create a new username and password which is of no apparent use to me?

Alan: I’ll explain it to you if you don’t use the another username for more than two months the account gets deactivated.

Alan: That’s the reason you’ve been given the option to create another username.

Norman: Thanks – I’m speechless. But I’ll leave it at that. Bye

Alan: However, I would request you to please keep the username as HamilBelf286431 till end date of your contract.

Norman: Ok – but having already moved one of my phones to another network last week – I’ll maybe do the same with this one – the O2 systems are impenetrable! Thanks for your help – but I am still hugely confused!

Alan: Norman, don’t be confused just I would request you to use only one username is  HamilBelf286431

Norman: Thanks – bye

Alan: Just to let you know through username   HamilBelf286431 you’ll be able to view your online bill.


Suddenly, the opportunity to chat with someone in a call centre either in Manchester or Mumbai seems very attractive.  Bye bye to O2 on-line chat!



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About Author

Rev. Norman Hamilton is the former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church. He is currently minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church in North Belfast. Born in Lurgan on 6 October 1946 Thomas Norman Hamilton was brought up in First Lurgan Presbyterian Church and was educated at Portadown College graduating with a BA from Trinity College Dublin in 1969.

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