I think most people have a low opinion of the mobile phone companies; I have a couple of run-ins recently with the mobile phone companies: one with O2 and the other with Three (the later for mobile broadband).
I am convinced that there are treating customers unfairly and are probably breaking at least the spirit of the law if not the actual law in most cases. In my opinion, they bank on the vast majority of people going with the flow and now making too much fuss.
O2 rolling contract that wasn’t
In the case of O2, I have had one of my daughters using her own phone under a £15 per month contract that provided something like 500 minutes and 1200 texts per month. Suddenly and without any kind of notice, we received a huge bill because the rental had gone up to £25 per month and the number of texts down to 200 per month (which my daughter had smashed throughg). Apparently, whilst O2 agreed that this was a rolling contract, the “add-ons” which included the “£10 per month rental discount” and the" “extra 1000 texts per month” only lasted for 18 months.
Funny, I though I had agreed to only 12 months but that it would roll until I cancelled or changed it. I was also sure that I had agreed that all the “add-ons” would last as long as I continued to pay the monthly fee. Of course, they have no notes on their system of the details of any verbal contract and just refer to standard contract terms. I never received anything in writing.
Small claims court?
I know that if I took this to small claims court, I would win. I have transcripts of the original discussions from when I last threatened to leave them. The customer retention team’s representative did a deal and persuaded me to stay. However, the hassle is not worth it to me. So, I swallowed by pride and told them to cancel. 30 days notice. Higher charges apply during the notice period. No goodwill to reduce the charges, half-hearted attempt to retain but offering me a poor deal.
Wife and daughter wandered into local Orange shop, signed an 18 month deal for “unlimited” (which means 3000 it would seem) texts and 500 minutes for £15 a month with a decent new phone. She even preferred the new number so we did not bother getting the PUC for the old number and transferring it.
Three mobile broadband
The mistake I made with Three was to go for the highest level of bandwidth I could buy for mobile broadband and then not complain enough and follow through consistently and constantly when I was never able to achieve even a decent fraction of the throughput I was paying for. The contract rolled on after the 12 months (I would not sign up for longer) automatically and I had to pay for an extra month. I did manage to batter them down to heavily discounting my last bill. Wasted a lot of money though, especially in the last few months when I did not use the service. I was especially annoyed that my written cancellation notice to the address given on the contract was returned to me by the post office with a note saying the addressee had gone away! They had apparently “notified” everyone on their website (shame on me for not checking).