As I wrote yesterday, I ended up having some major issues with the cottage’s already-installed 3G Dongle through EE.
Basically, it’s either not been used for a while, or the previous people ran the account into the ground – there’s absolutely no credit or data available on it. That’s OK, you can connect to EE still and add a credit. Or at least you should be able to.
Basically, the device is set up so that it can still connect to ee.co.uk , and that doesn’t come out of the data allowance. All’s well and good. But. Ah, but.
The thing is, when it comes to processing payments, the processing isn’t all done on ee.co.uk. It also goes off to get the 3D secure (also known as “Verified by Visa” or “Mastercard [something]“) from the relevant bank. Only that’s from a different (and thus not-allowed) domain outside of EE, and because there’s no data allowance, the connection is refused, and the credit transaction fails.
All you get to see on screen is “An error occurred” with “Try again”. Which is… unhelpful.
What’s more unhelpful is that EE’s transaction system has pre-authorised the amount you’ve topped up by. So the funds are then locked by your bank. They’ll be released when the transaction doesn’t complete – but it can take two to three working weeks for that to happen, because banks are paranoid and slow and shit. And EE are just shit, because their failed transaction doesn’t release those funds.
Even better, you can’t then offer feedback or contact EE. Because – yes! – all the online feedback is done through a third party, and goes off to a different domain.
So you’re basically left with no data, no top-up, locked funds, and no way to contact EE to tell them so.
Even worse, I suspect it’s only because I’m a techie that I understand it this much – for Joe Public it’d just be “it’s broken, and EE are shit”. (Which isn’t something I could argue with either, but at least I can understand why it’s broken!) It’s a simple scenario, but one I’m willing to bet they’ve never tested, going on the assumption that people would top up before they ran out completely, etc. etc.
I’ve written to them to explain the same situation, so it’ll be interesting to see what they come back with (if anything)