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Three Mobile I Need To RANT: DD salutary tale
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# 1
Old 09-03-2012, 11:50 AM
MoneySaving Convert
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 59
Default Three Mobile I Need To RANT: DD salutary tale

Hi folks,

I need to rant about Three mobile, but within this rant is a warning to all who have bank accounts.

I'm not a Three customer and never will be after today: Here's the story:-

This morning, my partner spotted a direct debit on our Feb bank statement £17 to the reference h3g initial payment. Upon checking there was a further payment of £22 to h3g. It almost went unnoticed and was only conspicuous because we never had any customer relationship with Three mobile, who are h3g. So I rang my bank and they gave me a reference and a phone number for 'Three' 0843 3733333. So far so good. But what a pointless number: It gives two options, to enquire about starting a new contract, or to speak to an advisor about anything else. 'Anything else' demanded my Three mobile phone number and there was absolutely no way to reach an advisor without one. GRRRRrrrrrr. What mobile number? I'm not their customer!!!

Eventually I rang again and took the option to start a new contract and got the SALES agent to put me through to someone. Grrrr again, because I could barely drum it into that muppet that I was not his customer. In the absence of my mobile phone number, he looked me up by postcode - Waste of time that was - I'M NOT HIS BLASTED CUSTOMER. The best he could suggest was that I email a copy of my bank statement to '' : Grrrr why should I have to? But ok, I did email a cut down screen grab. He'd only given me the wrong blasted email addy which I now find should have been I only discovered that after more futile and convoluted calls through 'sales'. In total, I've wasted 2hours of my life at maybe 5p a minute to these muppets. And I'm doing them a favour by helping them stop fraud or c0ck-up. Never again!
One agent even reassured me that the call was 'free from my Three mobile phone'. Which part of I'VE NOT GOT A THREE MOBILE PHONE did he not understand?

So here's some facts to maybe help you.

Always watch out for mystery direct debits on your bank statements. They can be set up by anyone with no proof of ID
Direct debits for Mobile contracts seem typical tools for fraudsers.

To contact Three mobile, use their free sales number 0800 358 8460 rather than the 0843 number.

Select the option to speak to sales about starting a new contract: At least that way you get a human.

Always ask for a 'case number' and the agent's name.

At the first glimmer of bulls*** just ring your bank and demand to invoke the Direct Debit Guarantee
Your bank may advise you to talk to the service provider, in this case Three. I'd be inclined to just tell the bank 'NO this is an unauthorised Direct Debit: So you sort it UNDER THE DIRECT DEBIT GUARANTEE'Rant over. Can I have my two hours of wasted lifetime back please?

jennyjj is offline
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# 2
Old 09-03-2012, 12:33 PM
Fantastically Fervent MoneySaving Super Fan
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2,333

I joined Three last month. I must say, I'm impressed with the price I pay, the number of minutes, texts etc, and I'm really impressed with their AYCE data.
However, when my bill came through, I paid it immediately by card. Got an email a week later "your account balance is £0.00, and we'll be collecting this amount by direct debit on 05/03/2012"
Fine, I thought.
I bank with Barclays, so Monday's credits and DD's etc debit on the Saturday. Last Saturday, I check my account, and lo and behold, £29.11 has been taken by DD, going to H3G.
I phoned the bank and got the DD reversed, then phoned 3 to ask what they were playing at. The guy I spoke to barely spoke a word of English, and didn't seem to comprehend that there was an issue in them taking money that wasn't owed. I said I didn't want it to happen again and that I wanted them to remove my bank details from their system.
He escalated the issue to a manager so the manager could ensure my DD details were removed. Was promised a call back the same day (03/02) I finally received a call back on Wednesday (07/03!) I didn't answer as I was halfway through changing a nappy.
The voicemail said "hi this is a manager from Three. As you are unable to talk right now I will mark this case as closed and if you have any issues in the future please call us"
Then, to top it off, yesterday I received a text, an email and a letter all stating "your direct debit has been returned unpaid, to avoid your service being restricted, please call us as soon as possible"

The lesson in all of this? Never pay your bills early... Companies don't want the extra two weeks interest on your money.
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# 3
Old 09-03-2012, 12:58 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,838

Originally Posted by MamaMoo View Post
The lesson in all of this? Never pay your bills early... Companies don't want the extra two weeks interest on your money.
I'd have thought the lesson was if you pay a cheap price for a service, they are probably cutting corners somewhere. In Three's case its on customer services.
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# 4
Old 09-03-2012, 2:04 PM
MoneySaving Convert
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 59

They certainly do seem to have cut customer service to the bone. Everyone I spoke to had some issues with Comprehension. Calls were routinely placed on hold for several minutes.

What I couldn't get my head around was a customer service help line where it could be impossible to select "talk to an advisor" without giving a mobile phone number that I don't have! Most companies have automated phone platforms where one option is to talk to someone, or have the system put you through to someone if no option is selected. It's not rocket science.

I'm not even their customer, so 'you get what you pay for' doesn't apply. I'm a victim of a company that I won't ever do business with. I don't like being a victim and I resent Three for making me into one!

Oh, how much we trust a convenient Direct Debit process which allows ANYONE to get money taken from our bank accounts without any authorisation checks.

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# 5
Old 09-03-2012, 2:48 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 6,672

Why didn't you just report the transactions to your bank ? They would have dealt with it for you.
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# 6
Old 09-03-2012, 4:16 PM
MoneySaving Convert
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 59

Why didn't you just report the transactions to your bank ? They would have dealt with it for you.
I did, and with hindsight i should have been far more forceful. They directed me to contact Three before they would do anything about it "It could be a mistake. Three will give you a refund". I guess they fobbed me off to try to stop me invoking the DD guarantee. It's easy for them if i can get Three to refund the money.

Next time though I'll be more forceful with them (Natwest)

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# 7
Old 10-03-2012, 12:52 AM
MoneySaving Stalwart
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 608

Three are awful, I've been with them for years and just can't break away! ;-)

But the way forward in any DD dispute is always with the bank-it'll be much easier for them to sort it than for you.
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# 8
Old 10-03-2012, 1:57 PM
MoneySaving Convert
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 59

Oh Hum,

The money resurfaced in my account yesterday as a BACS credit. I can't be sure whether Natwest put it back under the DD Guarantee, or whether Three put it back by BACS.

I'll be devastated if, by some dreadfull error, they both refund me I can see that if that happens someone will have to waste two hours getting through to my 'customer service number'

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# 9
Old 10-03-2012, 2:07 PM
Serious MoneySaving Fan
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,235

I've had similar issues with 3 (not being a customer) and having to speak to (very nice but poor English speaking) advisors.

I complained about my issue and they have tried calling me back numerous times and left messages for me to call them (each time I thought it resolved when I called them back). They have also emailed me many times about it, talk about trying to cut corners to save money!

I did get a useful number in one email:

'We’ve taken a look at your query and have some options that we’d like to speak to you about it . Please call us on 0800 358 4916 between10am and 7:30pm (Monday – Friday) - free from a Three mobile, network call charges may be applicable from any other phone.'
Toyota - 'Always a better way', avoid buying Toyota.
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