I have just come back to China and, because of bad storage during my trip, my China Mobile simcard got broken somehow.
I went to the closest China Mobile store and asked for a replacement since i am a “Go Tone” subscriber. There after waiting for my number ( you have to take a number and stay in line ) they asked me for my passport. After i have provided them with my current passport they told me i need to bring my old passport … that is the last passport i have given them. I am in China for 5 years already and during this time i have changed 5 passports :-).
I have asked them if there is a main China Mobile office in Shenzhen where i can replace my own simcard without needing the passport i have used 5 years ago. They did knew the location and address but they did not want to give to me because seems this are their orders: call 10086. I have asked them how can i replace the simcard by phone and how can i call 10086 without any simcard. They replied that this are the rules.
I have asked them to show me the rules of China Mobile where i can read, even in Chinese that i need to provide the old passport to get my simcard back. They have failed to do so as there is no written rule that stipulates this thing. ( they searched for something for about 20 minutes ).
I have asked them to provide me with an written notice to inform me that they cannot replace my simcard without presenting my old passport. They did not want to do this.
I have asked them to let me record them saying they they cannot provide me with the simcard unless i bring the old passport. They told me that recordings are forbidden in China Mobile shops everywhere. Yet each China Mobile shop has 5 digital cameras to record every movement of every person inside.
I have asked them to give me a business card. They did not have any available. They have given me a paper with a phone number barely recognizable.
I have asked them to provide me with a complaints form. There are none available.
I have asked them to tell me how can i prove i have been in their shop that day. They told me to recharge 1 RMB to my not working simcard using their “recharge machine”.
I have asked them to give me the “consumer office” phone number. They had no number available. ( Are there such government organizations in China ? )
Finally after 1 hour i have left the China Mobile shop.
Luckily i have found 4 of my old passports later that day and did replaced my broken simcard.
I did learn something:
- keep all your passports, no matter how old if you want to be able to close, replace or do anything else to your China Mobile subscription and probably to any other subscriptions in China;
- workers of China Mobile are robots and think only as they are told to by their “boss ” even if there is no written rule;
- workers of China Mobile are more eager to clean the floor of their shop than to help customers; everybody helped with the cleaning while people waited in line for their turn to speak with somebody; cleaning the floor i guess is less of a headache than talking;
- China Mobile has no English service if you call 10086; anyway they won’t understand your English no matter what;
- Welcome to China !
I guess China Telecom that already cheated me and China Unicom that has bad signal everywhere, are the same in this area, so, having no other alternatives, i’ll have to keep on using China Mobile.
Because i like to find out all the angles of a certain situation i realized that there is an plausible explaination for this:
In China all ID’s and other identity papers have unique numbers. Also, in China, there are a lot of persons with the same name living in the same place so the ID’s number is in fact he only thing that can differentiate between persons. Chinese believe the same thing applies to foreigners witch is in general not true so showing them a new passport with a different number makes you a different person altogether. I wonder if Chinese law works under the same principle.