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11 September 2010


David Eldon

Thank you for your recent comments. On the subject of "3", I have switched to Smartone and find their customer service so far has been way ahead.
Thank you for taking an interest in what I write.

Helen Tsui

Dear Mr Eldon,

I just checked out your above posting and I would like to share with you my recent experience in dealing with 3. My $51 monthly plan turned out to become a $300 bill in September and $388 in October. Next, I checked the bill details and discovered that 3 charged me for data downloading service which I never use. After several attempts of phone calls and a lot of perseverance, I finally managed to negotiate my Sept & Oct bill payment at $98.

What strikes me is the fact that there is no government department (excluding Consumer Council which don't have any regulatory power) where I can lodge a formal complaint about the ridiculous practice of 3.

In terms of attracting business in HK, my personal view is that the entire administration is adopting a knee-jerk reaction without giving in-depth thoughts about the strategic goal of the city. e.g. What is the end game for HK in 5 years' time , how to do it and what are the quantitative measures to track the progress etc. It is useless to count on a single department to promote HK if the entire administration is divided with different vested interests and misaligned priorities, not to mention the incompetence of some senior officials.


My customer experience with HSBC Hong Kong has been superb considering its not face to face. I get calls from HK on queries raised within 24 hours and my problems sorted. Perhaps the service is exemplary because of the Global Premier status. Banking issues across borders when resolved relfect the international standards of a golbal bank but then again its probably not extended locally to other segments ...shouldnt be the case.

Mr. Ho

Hi David,

I deeply understand what you are saying here. I often heard people are moving to "smartone" after their contracts have ended. Well, the reality is, whether "smartone" really offers better customer services to its client - I have no clue.

However, I do believe that, to a certain extent, all businesses in Hong Kong nowadays are more Mandarin-orientated, rather than English-orientated. If I am the employer of "3", and if I need to choose 1 out of the 2 candidates, I would definitely pick the one who speaks better Mandarin. Whether you (or we) like it or not, is irrelevant. This is more of a fact already (at least, commercially).

I generally think that every brand in the market aims different class of customers, even they (ultimately) own by the same parent company. Likewise, HSBC and Hang Seng Bank; or Cathay Pacific and Dragon Airline.

If you really want better customer services, you should choose CSL1010 instead.

Perhaps, "3" is not just a brand name, it is also an indication of the class of service, ie. a brand of a THIRD CLASS of service.

Cristina Eldon

Yeh I have to admit, I have had some SHOCKING experiences with 3- AND.. i have someone who is supposed to be my 'personal account manager'. I do agree though- I try to remember always that these guys are dealing with people in their second language and so its not always so black and white. I would do 1000 times worse if i was trying to conduct myself in Chinese.

Good article pops- and i totally agree that the Arts should be getting more support from HK!


Richard - you must be on of the lucky ones. Three are an absolute joke! Everyday I regret having signed up to them. I used to think PCCW was the worst customer service company in Hong Kong, but these guys are miles ahead in terms of overall incompetence.

David Eldon

It's not the first time I've heard that one too - which is a pity! Maybe the voice on the telephone recording should say "If you are still confused, Press 8"! The trouble is, the line might go dead.
The messages seem to be, use technology as long as it works. My problem with the example I quoted relates more to actually speaking to a human being and STILL not getting answers, which suggested they couldn't be bothered to pass the messages on - but maybe that also happened to you in the Bank.

Sung Nee

David I cannot resist but say that I find the same comments can be applied to HSBC Hong Kong!

I know you've been retired for a long time but one simply cannot help make the connection.

Someone at Hong Kong Bank decided that they could best serve their customers with only one telephone number, for the whole of Hong Kong! I have long closed all my bank accounts with Hong Kong Bank but I had to handle some banking for my client. What a hassle!


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7f6bf1ca-be95-11df-a755-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss . First Barclays, now, Julius Baer. This is discomfiting, everyone seems to be overlooking HK.

David Eldon

Sadly Brian, been there - done that. More than once over the same issue, culminating in a further wasted visit yesterday lasting over an hour with more promises of calls - to follow the previous promises of calls that were never made.
There comes a point when you just don't know where to turn next.

Brian Renwick

David, a little unfair on 3 I think. I find their service is excellent. BUT you do need to go to see them. If you do you will always find someone who is prepared to spend endless time helping out.

I don't think 3 (or Hong Kong come to that) is any worse than elsewhere at telephone service but we are MUCH better at face to face service.

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