A tale of two contracts

I had the unhappy task of cancelling a mobile phone contract at the weekend. Specifically, a mobile broadband contract.

I’ve had a contract with “3” for the last couple of years, but my use of the 3G dongle decreased over time. For one thing, the battery life was crap and for another, it seldom worked when I was outside Central London. More and more, I’ve used my iPhone when I need to tether for emergency internet access.

But even more than that, I’ve been using the near ubiquitous wifi around the city.

The dongle became redundant. I called 3 to cancel my contract and was put through the most tortuous of sales processes. I was offered an iPad, a laptop, a discounted tariff and more. Despite my feedback to the contrary, the guy on the other end of the phone just wouldn’t listen and was determined to keep as some form of customer.

I rang them up feeling relatively neutral about 3. I put the phone down determined never to use them ever again and let everyone I know about the hard sell techniques they employ.

At one point, I was told I could avoid the 30-day notice period and cancel within 48 hours. This would save me my final payment. I was cautiously optimistic and agreed, asking was there any catch.

None, I was told.

Except I had to nominate a family member to pick up my contract and sign up with 3. I was then warned – in the strongest possible terms – that tethering with my iPhone would provide me with terrible reception (it doesn’t), utterly destroy battery life (it doesn’t) and prevent me from accessing the net to the full capability of a 3G dongle from 3.

I don’t think so.

The call was frustrating and costing me money by the second. I was firm, but polite. I didn’t get aggressive or rude, despite the fact that he was being rude to me. Rude and evasive.

Later that day, I walked over to the Vodafone store in Canary Wharf. I walked out about 10 minutes later, having reduced my monthly tariff from £64 to £31 and quadrupling the amount of data I get per month.

Four gigs, baby!

I need it, I do.

What with all the Instagramming.

Actually, for the next three months, I have unlimited data. Unlimited. You’ll all be Instagrammed to death by the time I’m done.

And for those keeping track, this means I haven’t upgraded my phone to a snazzy Samsung 4S. I stuck with my perfectly functioning iPhone 5. We’ll see what Apple come out with this “Fall”.

So.

In summary: 3’s customer service sucks donkey balls (cajones de burro). Vodafone offer quite tasty deals if you ask the right questions.

  1. I’ve heard such horror stories (usually several hundreds of dollars in fees are happily spent to be done with it) that I haven’t switched yet and when I do, it’ll be once I’m out of contract.

    That said: until the past year, I had ONE carrier to choose from. One. ATTbastards.

    Now that Verizon is in the area things may change BUT they’re still so shoddy that Vrother has to walk outside to talk on his phone (he’s on Verizon, which works fine 3 counties away, where Everyone Cilvilised Lives).

    Broadband would be null.

    There may be improvements in future but as I always remind people in my area: remember when they ‘brought out cable?’ That was in the mid 1980s. They stopped 12mi from where I live and haven’t ‘progressed’ one inch since.

    So…maybe or maybe not!

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  2. I learnt long ago that mobile phone companies don’t honour customer loyalty at all. Someone walking in off the street with no history gets a better deal than someone that has been with them for 10 years or more. I walked out and went elsewhere too. Then changed companies each time my contract was up. Crazy really but you play the game.

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    1. Counterintuitive, but true Steve.

      I’ve stayed with Vodafone for a couple of years now and was really surprised at the great deal I could get once I was out of contract.

      But only because I didn’t want a new handset.

      Voda suits me as I travel so much and I can use all the data I want for just £3 a day within Europe.

      As for 3, never again. They’re a shambles.

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