Friday, July 08, 2005

 

I just don't believe it....

What I hear you asking? The fuss and bother you have to go to if you lose your mobile phone!!

It had been one of those typical days, you know the ones, you cruise through the day on auto-pilot following the usual pattern of work, lunch, more work then home. Although, this time my flightpath was a bit different. I had arranged to meet a friend at a local pasta restaurant straight from the office and was looking forward to chilling out over a tasty bolognaise and a couple of bottles of Peroni.

Arriving slightly early I naturally enough pulled out my mobile and rang my friend to check his progress. Some ten minutes or so later we were sat down swigging our first Peroni and ready to order. Without even thinking I placed my mobile on the table next to my plate and got on with satisfying my appetite and exchanging news. A couple (or three) hours later I arrived back at my car and decided to ring my wife to tell her I was on my way home. Hold on! where's my phone? I started to search my pockets again and again hoping that by some miracle my fingers would suddenly happen on its familiar shape and my anxiety level would start to drop.

No chance! My anxiety level peaked as I realised that I had left the effing thing at the restaurant!! Sh-t! Sh-t! Sh-t! I was thinking, I had spent my last fiver on the effing taxi and it was a good 45 minute walk back to the restaurant! I scan the area around me hoping to see a public phone - damn nothing in site - do I head back to the restaurant or do I just say f-ck it and go home??? I decided to go home and all the way am thinking to myself, Sh-t! Sh-t! Sh-t! how could I have walked out there without it - I swear I only had 3 Peronis - Jeez I must be stupid!

I get home and try to explain to my wife why I couldn't call her. I go through the night's events with her and she comes to the same conclusion I did - I must be stupid!! I spent the next 20 minutes sitting on the sofa staring blankly at the tv and began to feel like I had lost a friend. I had spent hours tapping in all those useful (and some useless) numbers of friends, family, colleagues, assorted local trades people, restaurants, take aways, taxi firms etc etc and now it was gone! I kept asking myself what I would do? How would I communicate with anybody ever again?

Suddenly, my wife is standing in front of me and says "You had better report it lost to the phone company incase someone is phoning their cousin in Timbuktu on it" My mind raced - "where's that bit of paper I wrote its IMEI number on?" I asked. My wife looks blank - "Don't ask me, I haven't a clue" she replied. Sh-t! Sh-t! Sh-t! I started to think again - where did I put it? Needless to say, I couldn't find it but I rang them anyway and explained my predicament to a very polite female voice at the other end. Her first question was to ask if I had a note of the IMEI number! "No" I replied trying not to sound agressive. "We can't block your phone without the IMEI number, sir" she responds and then added " the best we can do is record that you have reported it as missing, presumed lost; that way we can check any calls made on it after you realised you no longer had it". "Fine" I said.

Her next question took me a bit by surprise. "Is it insured sir?" My mind raced again and I remembered having cancelled the policy a couple of months before as I regarded it as non-essential expenditure! "No" I said. "Oh dear" said the femail voice now doing its best to sound sympathetic. "Our records show you recently upgraded your handset to a Nokia 7610?" "That right" I replied. "The replacement cost for that particular handset is £280 sir" she added matter of factly. "What?" I say stunned. "Yes sir, we only subsidise the handset you received when you signed your original contract, after that you can pay towards an upgraded handset, and if you recall, you paid us £75 towards the cost of the Nokia 7610". Sh-t! Sh-t! Sh-t! was going through my mind again at this point. The femail voice then carried on quoting the terms and conditions of the contract with regard to replacement handsets. In my mind it boiled down to the fact that if you lose an expensive contract phone and you are in the middle of your contract period, you are well and truly stuffed if your phone isn't insured! The femail voice then suggested that perhaps I would like one of their more standard handsets as a replacement. I said I would get back to her after checking with the restaurant the following day, incase one of the waitresses had put it behind the bar expecting someone to come back for it.

It was shortly after my conversation with the phone company that my wife came up with the brilliant suggestion of claiming the cost of the lost phone on our home contents insurance. Suddenly, my stress level started to drop and we then spent the next hour looking for our policy which, we couldn't find either!! Anyway, I resolved to phone them the next day for a claim form.
The next day I awoke with renewed hope of either being reunited with my little lost friend or at least looking forward to a positive response from the home insurance company. Arriving at the restaurant just before their main lunchtime rush I asked the girl if anyone had handed in a Nokia mobile phone last night. She disappeared for a minute but returned empty handed and said nothing had been handed in. On my way back to the office I had another brainwave - I would ring my mobile number and offer anyone who answered a reward for returning the phone to me. I dialled and waited..."The mobile phone you have called is unavailable" Sh-t! Sh-t! Sh-t I muttered to myself. It's new "owner" had probably already changed the sim card and was probably now either trying to flog it for a quick profit or showing it off to his mates.

A little later, I phoned my home contents insurance company and explained the circumstances of my loss. Before I could finish my story I started to hear the words..."Sorry Sir, your policy doesn't cover you for the loss of your mobile phone, only if its stolen" "Stolen?" I said incredulously. "Yes sir, it states clearly in your policy document, you can only claim for the theft of your valuables outside of your home". My voice said nothing but in my head I was screaming Sh-t!, Sh-t!, Sh-t!, you basta-ds!

So, there you have it a painful and expensive lesson to learn - if you have a top of the range mobile phone make sure you insure it. Ideally, separately to your home contents policy unless the latter states specifically that it will cover loss of your valuables as well as theft of. The effect on me, well I am back to using a £20 Nokia until I can afford something a bit more advanced.

Never mind, life goes on.

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