MSE News: Mobile phone firms failing on cancellation rights

in Mobiles
10 replies 2.2K views
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"You can usually cancel a contract shortly after signing up if reception is poor but over half of users are not told this ..."

Replies

  • Regarding poor reception from mobile phones and cancellation policy. I signed my wife and I up to two mobiles on the three phones (Hutchinson 3g) network. From the start we had problems of poor/no signal - especially at home. I went back to the 3 phone store - they wouldnt listen. They said phone call centre in Mumbai. They were useless and phone kept failing even phoning them. They sent two much cheaper phones as so called replacement which didnt cure the signal problem. In the end I sent polite recorded delivery letters giving them time to release us from the contract without penalty. They refused.

    Eventually took them to County Court. I suggested abitration - they refused. Eventually I had to face their lawyer in court which lasted 2 hours. Was hard going but we won the case. 3g had to pay us £255 for debt and interest re my costs etc and release us from the two contracts. (Southport County Court 9QT49867 - 20 Nov 2009) Lets hope they have learnt the lesson from this unnecessary failure to provide what was contracted for.
  • PhoneGuruPhoneGuru Forumite
    44 Posts
    A few years ago I had a 3 mobile phone. Because their measurements / tracker said I could get coverage - they refused to cancel my contract.

    At the time I was working in mobile phone development, I took a load of kit home and took measurements and sent them a report to prove there was no coverage - they still would not cancel my contract.

    I had to pay out for the entire year! Any possibility I could claim this back now their own policy has changed? Is there a time limit on these things?
  • Hi

    I suggest you:

    a) look at 3 phone website to check current coverage status for the location(s) you couldnt get a signal.

    b) Write to them recorded delivery re this court case ruling and request your monies back say within 14 days.

    c) If negative response write again and give them say another 14 days. If no positive response consider applying via County Court on line presenting your case.

    d) See if you have any legal protection/advice via your home insurance policy etc to seek legal advice on the issue.

    e) did you pay for the phone/rental using a credit card ?

    The BBC 'One show' last year did a piece on 3 phones re poor reception and they (3 phones) said they would consider all requests for cases of poor reception.

    Good Luck

    William
  • Guys_DadGuys_Dad Forumite
    11K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting to see from the link in the first post that CPW and Phones4U have "n/a" in their entries.

    That implies to me that you are more likely - apart from 3 - to be allowed to return your phone and cancel if you buy direct from a network rather than through a Web 3rd party reseller.
  • edited 14 July 2010 at 7:24PM
    LynseyLynsey Forumite
    9.5K Posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    edited 14 July 2010 at 7:24PM
    Guys_Dad wrote: »
    Interesting to see from the link in the first post that CPW and Phones4U have "n/a" in their entries.

    That implies to me that you are more likely - apart from 3 - to be allowed to return your phone and cancel if you buy direct from a network rather than through a Web 3rd party reseller.

    There are 2 contracts though, one with the network for the service and one with the reseller for the phone - the reseller has nothing really to do with getting a decent signal/service.
    For me it's got to be down only to the network and if they can't provide a decent service there must be an oppotunity to cancel - what are you paying for??
    Hopefully this is just the start of things to come and a decent network coverage comes from this in not just some urban areas.

    Just to add: I'm talking about after the initial cooling off period.

    Lynsey
    **** Sealed Pot Challenge - Member #96 ****
    No. 9 target £600 - :staradmin (x21)
    No. 6 Total £740.00 - No. 7 £1000.00 - No. 8 £875.00 - No. 9 £700.00 (target met)
  • edited 14 July 2010 at 9:01PM
    lexuslasslexuslass Forumite
    2.3K Posts
    edited 14 July 2010 at 9:01PM
    This is long (sorry!!!)

    I have an ongoing problem with T-Mobile (who I will add I was with for 10 years)...

    We moved house in May last year - only 3 miles from our previous house. Signal was non existent!

    First phone call to them a couple of weeks after moving, I spoke to someone who could barely understand me and kept saying to me "There is work being carried out in your area". I asked if I would be able to receive a signal once the work was completed, he replied "I cannot answer that, but there is work being carried out in your area". Mmmm... thanks!!

    Second phone call to them a few weeks later, I spoke to someone else who appeared really helpful. He spoke to his manager and it was agreed that I would be refunded some £80 for line rentals for the last couple of months (as they said I shouldn't be paying for a service that they cannot provide!) he was going to call me back a couple of days later as it was too late to cancel my direct debit so he was going to wait for it to go through and then ring me to arrange the refund. Superb (I thought)..However, I never got a phone call!

    Third phone call a week later and spoke to another unhelpful chap, who said that I had used the phone - well, yes, of course I have... when it is on signal and I am away from home!! This guy promised me that he would call me back the same day.... again... nothing!!!

    Fourth phonecall the following day and spoke to a lady who was quite sympathetic to my case. She put me through to the Technical Department who performed a couple of checks and the outcome is, there is no signal in my area.... and not likely to be. I asked to be put back through to customer services and he asked me why? I simply said that I need to reduce my tarriff.. he said I cannot do that (had to stay on the tarriff I was on which was about £50 per month) and would not put me back through to them.

    After emails backwards and forwards to them, the final reply from them was:

    I understand from your email and from the notes on your account, that you have recently moved house and have very little coverage in your area.
    I appreciate this must be causing you some inconvenience. However, T-Mobile cannot cancel your lines without you incurring an early termination fee, as we have not broken any terms of our agreement with you.
    Your terms and conditions do state you can only use our services within the areas of our base stations, which you did agree to and accepted when you took out these contracts and renewed them.

    As I appreciate the inconvenience of the poor signal, I would be prepared to agree to a reduction of your lines. The lowest tariff we do, is our Combi 15 price plan, which is £15.00 per month Inc VAT and would give you 100 minutes & 100 text messages each month. Voicemail is chargeable on this tariff and this tariff would be in place until your contract end date.


    Do I have a leg to stand on here? Never expected to go from having a signal to zero just from moving 3 miles down the road!!!! I mean, who checks to make sure they are going to have a decent phone signal before they decide to move??
  • kev2050kev2050 Forumite
    93 Posts
    I would have thought not, unfortunately.

    I don't mean to sound harsh, but it is not t-mobile's problem/fault if you move house. If at the beginning of the contract/renewal you found that you had poor signal then yes, you should be able to back out of the contract, but not halfway into it.

    May last year? Surely your contract will be up soon if it's not already, but I think it's unlikely you will get money back unless you notified them at the beginning of your contract.
  • Guys_DadGuys_Dad Forumite
    11K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Lynsey wrote: »
    There are 2 contracts though, one with the network for the service and one with the reseller for the phone - the reseller has nothing really to do with getting a decent signal/service.
    For me it's got to be down only to the network and if they can't provide a decent service there must be an oppotunity to cancel - what are you paying for??
    Hopefully this is just the start of things to come and a decent network coverage comes from this in not just some urban areas.

    Just to add: I'm talking about after the initial cooling off period.

    Lynsey

    Following your argument through, if you could cancel after 14 days because of poor signal, then what about the mobile phone you received "free" from the retailer? They would lose their commission from the network and the handset !!! Or, of course, they could then surcharge you for its full retail value. couldn't they? Perfectly fair for them to include t&c at point of sale that says if you cancel with the network, you agree that they can DD your bank account or Credit Card for the handset value.

    No, there is something called due diligence and that is what people should apply BEFORE buying. Or, best of all, buy the damned handset unlocked and then go sim-only!
  • Intasun32Intasun32 Forumite
    443 Posts
    Very Interesting posts.

    I had a similar experience with o2 some years ago, virtually no signal at home. Call being dropped and calls going straight to answerphone. I was told by their technical department that I had an antenna in my area and I was classed as a strong signal. My N80 handset was replaced, as was my sim card without any change in the strength of the signal.

    I contacted my local trading standards who informed me that I was not the first to contact them regarding this problem. They informed me that in the very small print of the agreement I signed it states that the network do NOT guarantee that I would receive a signal, as this was a mobile device the signal would vary from area to area. I was told that there was nothing that I could do. I had an 18 month contract which was useless and as self employed this was my business contact.

    I had to cut my losses and sold the handset on ebay and settled the contract. I then signed up with Vodafone, again the signal was bad (but not as bad as o2), again I was told I was in a strong signal area. I later found out that VF share antenna with o2 in my area.

    You live and learn, the hard way!
  • LynseyLynsey Forumite
    9.5K Posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    Guys_Dad wrote: »
    No, there is something called due diligence and that is what people should apply BEFORE buying.

    I think any network selling a service for mobile phones should make sure there is coverage. Mobile phones aren't fixed line phones, the costs are pretty high and they need to supply what they are charging for - making calls on the move.
    A far better service is needed, hopefully this will be the start of it if customers can cancel more easily.

    Regarding returning the "free" phone, I've cancelled in the past without charge and they never ever asked for the phone back or the money for it, but yes, they can bill you for not fulfilling the contract.

    Lynsey
    **** Sealed Pot Challenge - Member #96 ****
    No. 9 target £600 - :staradmin (x21)
    No. 6 Total £740.00 - No. 7 £1000.00 - No. 8 £875.00 - No. 9 £700.00 (target met)
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Stoozing, sublets & summer sips

This week's MSE Forum highlights

MSE News

Martin Lewis quizzes Rishi Sunak

Watch the cost of living support Q&A here

Join the MSE Forum discussion

48 craft beers for £50 delivered

One-off bundle for newbies. Excludes Northern Ireland

MSE Deals