Questions Of Cash: You called us, we called 3
Saturday 05 November 2005
Questions of Cash recently reported on problems with a 3 mobile phone contract (Save & Spend, 10 September), involving 3's failure to refund pre-paid charges when a contract was cancelled. We invited readers to submit their experiences with mobile-phone contracts. Here are some of your responses.
My contract with 3 has been an ordeal. Statements did not show the refund promised by the initial offer, there was no customer service support, correspondence was ignored and we had poor network coverage.
Bills were sent to the wrong address, creating a neighbour dispute. I paid for international roaming, but no service was available overseas when I arrived, producing a crisis when we had a road accident in Spain.
You complained to Otelo, a mobile phone regulator, prior to contacting The Independent. Otelo upheld the offer made by 3 of £150 compensation.
I cancelled my 3 account in June, on completion of my 12-month contract. In July, I received another bill, so I phoned 3, which said it had not received my letter of cancellation. I repeated my cancellation request verbally and confirmed this by recorded-delivery letter. In August, I received another bill and again in September.
TB, by e-mail.
Your account has now been closed and the balance has been cleared by 3.
I closed my 3 contract more than a year ago without apparent problems. Soon after, I moved house, with my mail forwarded for four months. I have now received a letter from Westcot Credit Services seeking to collect a debt of £156.39 which it says I owe 3.
LE, by e-mail.
A mobile phone you returned to 3 was either not received by 3, or else not processed as received. Your account has been cleared by 3, Westcot has been notified that there is no outstanding debt and your adverse credit-rating comments have been withdrawn.
My husband gave me a present of a 3 phone, on contract. It was unreliable, and I did not renew the contract. As my husband had taken out the contract, I was not allowed by 3 to cancel the contract over the phone, but was told my husband could cancel online, which he did in April, with a month's notice.
This was acknowledged, saying the instructions would be carried out. The phone has not been used since April and the last bill should have been in May. But we keep getting new bills, even after 3 apologised for the contract cancellation not being carried out and saying we were due a refund. Customer service is no help.
3 says it had already cleared all but £2 from your account balance by the time you contacted us; it has now written off the £2 as well. The adverse credit-rating comments have been removed from your files.
Since I took out my contract with 3, my phone has broken twice. On the second occasion, 3 took 10 weeks to return it. In that time I had no phone but continued to pay the contract. It took 3 two-and-a-half months to admit it had lost the phone. I am still waiting for 3 to refund the £80 charges.
3 had already credited your account with £60 when we contacted the company. It has now credited your account with a further £50.
My mother took out a 3 contract at £15 a month. When the bill came, it said it was for £15 a month for three months and would then be £30 a month.
PL, by e-mail.
3 says any mistake here lies with the retailer. We will take up your case with the retailer.
I cancelled my 3 contract in June because of its customer service failures, handset problems and billing errors. I did not receive confirmation of this, so I phoned in July and was told the company had not received the cancellation. In August, I received a bill for £50.75, which charged me beyond the contract period. My account has now been credited, but not for the full over-charge.
3 says its calculation of the account balance is correct and yours is wrong. But, as a goodwill gesture, it has cleared your account and removed adverse credit-rating comments.
My 3 account was not cancelled as requested.
PC, by e- mail.
Your two outstanding bills for £9.66 and £0.79 have been cleared by 3.
We asked 3 to comment on all these problems, particularly regarding its failures in closing accounts, and to provide assurance that new customers would be treated efficiently.
A spokeswoman said: "3 has built a business of over 3.2 million customers in just over two-and-half years of operation and is the first mobile media company in the UK. Our customers are important to us and we take any complaints seriously.
"Over the last two years we have invested steadily in our customer service operations and systems and we will continue to do so."
Questions of Cash cannot guarantee to respond to all queries, and cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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