After waiting in line for about 15 minutes, I was up. I produced my gas bill, health card, and ATM card. Turns out the gas bill I randomly grabbed was more than 3 months old and couldn't be used. But, having throughly prepared, I also had a copy of my water bill, electric bill, Yahoo BB bill (which I pay by conbini-barai even though Yahoo BB is Softbank).
I have now proved to the satisfaction of Softbank that I do indeed live where I say I do.
After all the explanations, photo copies, signatures, and whatnot comes the point of no return. The transmission of my application to Softbank for approval. After this, I cannot cancel the contract.
They guy tells me it normally takes 5 minutes. It takes longer. Finally it come back rejected:
分割りはクレジットカード払い。あるいは一括買い取り。A credit card is required or upfront payment.
OK. Now I'm getting that nagging feeling that Softbank really isn't worth it. I mean if I am having this much trouble with them just getting a contract, what kind of customer (dis)service can I expect?
But I decide, screw it. I'll register with the credit card and then promptly switch the payment method to my bank account, which I am assured is possible and there is not chance that the switch would be rejected.
So I use my credit card to reapply. Rejected.
分割りは運転免許必須。あるいは一括買い取り。A driver's license is required or upfront payment
WTF? I was just told I needed a credit card. But that is not enough. Now I need to produce a driver's license? I was told trying a different card would not matter.
Here is the thing, I was never asked for my passport with my visa. Maybe that is the problem? So I call Softbank:
0088-21-2000 > 3 > 6 > 1 is the number and the correct buttons to hit to speak to the correct department (new contracts).
This is where it gets really strange. I am told that it doesn't matter what I show, that even if I produce a driver's license I would still be declined. I ask why. I am told they can't share that information. I ask if it is because I am foreign. I am told they decline Japanese people too.
I ask what they actually examine in the application process. I am told they can't share that information.
I ask what they do not examine in the application process. I am told they can't share that information.
I ask if they research nationality. I am told they don't check nationality. I counter with, but you said you couldn't tell me what you don't examine.
You get the picture. By now I just started having a bit of sadistic fun with the person on the other end. You see, I originally called, but they called me back (on my cell phone). So, since they were paying for the call, I figured I'd just ask a few more meaningless questions and we continued in the same vein for the better part of 30 minutes. I almost felt sorry of the hapless woman on the other end... almost.
It took about 10 minutes, but I finally got her to admit that the examinations process is all fucked up. I'd say, "But isn't it strange that I would be told to reapply, twice, with different documentation but still be rejected? Wouldn't it make more sense to reject me the first time?"
She'd say "We can't discuss the examination procedure."
I'd say, "I'm sorry, but my Japanese is not very good. I thought I asked you if it was strange, but you seem to be providing an answer to a completely different question."
Repeat x 3.
Finally, after a long pause, she says "はい、おかしいんです。" (Yes, it is strange.) This was actually the first time I've ever got such a concession out of a customer service rep in Japan, and frankly, I was shocked.
I can conclude the following:
- Softbank sucks
- Softbank has the most ridiculous requirements for payment and address verification
- The process for applying for a phone without having to pay upfront is opaque
- If you meet all the criteria for paying for the phone in installments, you may still be decline for no particular reason
- The information of what is needed to apply is not complete on the website in Japanese and just plain wrong in English
- Softbank sucks
I am also fairly confident that there is some sort of foreign discrimination going on here as well. But I could be wrong about that. Who knows.