Just in case you haven’t read the first post about our experience of getting a phone contract in Japan, you can read it here, just so you get the full story that goes with this post I would recommend reading it first if you already haven’t.
As you are aware, we have been having all sorts of issues getting a phone contract here in Japan. Well last night we made it to the bank and after using Angela’s bosses cell phone number on the application form we were able to open a bank account from which we could pay our phone account. Being the super efficient bank that they are the cash card was issued on the spot. Great we thought, now we can go back to Softbank and finally sign up for a phone contract. We headed off home happy in the knowledge that we were nearly there and promised the kids that on Friday night after work we would head on down to Roppongi, get us some phones and have tea out somewhere.
After work on Friday we head off back down to SoftBank with the card of the person who served us previously which was to give us preferential access to a salesperson, but were told that it would be an hour wait, so decided that we might as well go and get tea first before the kids got too hungry. After tea we returned to Softbank and were shown to a sales counter immediately. After telling the saleswoman that we didn’t want an iPhone, that we preferred something better than that, found out that the latest iPhone was in fact cheaper than any other phone in that you received a rebate for the purchase of the phone while all the others you actually had to pay for, not sure how that works but some things are best left unexplained…. So OK, we will take the crappy iPhones and hope like hell that we are the lucky ones who don’t drop them and end up with a shattered screen, although I don’t fancy our chances. She heads off gets the phones we need and proceeds to sort out the paperwork, Angela gives her the resident’s card with address on the back, passport and bank card, but again “sorry we have to do this deal with a credit card, otherwise you have to pay the full price for the phones up front and then get it rebated each month off your account”…….. wtf ? So once again we leave SoftBank dejected and set off on the walk home with one very upset youngster in tow.
Accross the road from Softbank is a Samsung store, so determined not to be beaten and on the advice of a reader of the previous blog, we head in there and ask if we are able to take out a phone contract with the residents card, passport and bank card, but no credit card. “Ah, yes sir, yes you can”. Great, so she shows us the range of Galaxies we have to choose from, sort out a Disney phone for Molly, and a locator phone for Jimmy and we proceed to do the paperwork. As this is through Docomo, their rules only allow 2 phone contracts per person, so unfortunately we have to cut the kids phones till later, but hey, no problem. Then they inform us that as there are 3 days left in the month that we will still have to pay a full months data usage fee on each phone, or we could reduce the contract to a minimum usage plan for the first month but then Angela would have to come back into the store and alter the plan, so agreed to sign all the paperwork and pick the phones up on Tuesday, again no problem. The paperwork is finally complete and they process the bank card only to discover that the cards from the particular bank we have chosen don’t work with the Docomo processing terminals….
We got to within touching distance of the phones, and could feel the addictive pull of their apps and features, and were once again denied due to some crazy little Japanese bureaucratic requirement. If we had chosen any other bank to do our banking with, we would have had at least 2 phones tonight, but now it looks as though we need to go to yet another bank and open up another account to be able to get our phones. Hopefully next week we can get this sorted. I’ll keep you posted….