I took out a mobile broadband contract with 3 through the Carphone Warehouse 11 months ago, so today I gave the 30 days notice required to terminate my contract at the end of the 12 months minimum contract period.
I made a mistake in taking out the highest level service of Broadband Max 7Gb per month. I am a heavy user of the internet, largely because of the photography interests I have which involve both uploaded and lot of images and reviewing a lot of image heavy sites where one can learn more about the subject.
Despite my best efforts though, a substantial amount of hard-earned technical capability and valiant struggles to get any but the generic of technical support, I was never able to obtain significant broadband speeds in any location (including those supposedly in their best service areas) on any of several laptops. I was never going to be able to prove the poor service though as the amount of time required to do this and demonstrate the inappropriateness of much of the technical advice would have prevented me doing my job.
When I first took up the service, I was absolutely delighted by the freedom it gave me. The ability to get online anywhere I had my laptop even when no wifi was available which included the hotel I was staying in most of the time (unless I wanted to pay £15 per night).
As time passed and I became more and more frustrated by the performance problems, the novelty wore off. I also noticed colleagues with alternative plans, networks and “modems” having more success than me.
I resolved therefore to terminate the contract as soon as I reached the 30 day notice window. I know how difficult it can be with the mobile companies to actually end a contract.
It will come as no surprise that when I visited the website where I am supposed to be able to manage my account, there is no account closure option available. There is though a contact 3 feature which has contract queries as a drop down topic option together with a message box. Submission failed a couple of times as so often seems to be the case with these forms but did eventually go okay. (Some companies try to have a system understand the message in the first instance and persuade you that the answer is already available and you do not need to submit the query and bother their customer support people.)
I got an automated response back from them thanking me for my communication, giving me a reference number … and telling me that they probably had the answer for me in their automated response and I didn’t need to bother them but if I was convinced, I should reply to the email telling them so. (You understand of course that they did not actually put it this way, but that is what it amounted to.)
The email did include the suggestion that if I wanted to terminate the contract, I should ring the customer services number as there would be some special offers available. So, I did (curious to know how they might be able to help someone who had felt he had overspent by probably 80% of the £300 he paid out for their fastest service).
I rang the number, was asked by the automated system to enter the telephone number, and then told that if I had just purchased mobile broadband I should allow 24 hours for it to be activated but if I needed technical support then I should call some other number that was rattled off too quickly and the call was then summarily terminated.
So, I went through the process again, this time armed with a pen to take down the number I needed to call. The call to the new number started the same way with me having to enter the telephone number associated with the mobile broadband account. I was then offered a menu the 2nd option on which was for anyone thinking of upgrading or terminating …. at last. That was a long queue (without music, but with a regular reminder they did not have enough staff on but no indication of where I was in the queue). When I did get through, he was singularly unimpressed with the problems I had had in the past but did tell me that he would be able to supply at no charge a modem much faster than the modem originally supplied and put me onto a lower download limit for less money a month. I told him that a) having a modem that was twice as fast as my current dead-slow experience was not especially inspiring and paying the same amount as any new customer that walked off the street for a lower level of bandwidth to that which I had originally signed up was similarly not floating my boat. He gave up at this point and just confirmed that the account would be terminated. Seems they do not try as hard as they used to.
I think I will look at the Pay as You Go options so I have something to hand for those occasions when I really need to get online and no near the usual services.
Having just purchased an iPhone 3G 16Gb, I feel that my need is not as great as it once was.