Monday, 7 October 2013

Three's so called returns policy

I took out a sim only contract with three on the one plan last week in order to use the sim's unlimited data in a dongle. They allow you to tether so I thought they shouldn't have a problem with me putting it in a dongle as I'll be using the same amount of data anyway, just via a different method. How wrong I was! Read on. 

I was happily surfing away for a few days until the internet stopped working. I got a message for any website other than three's own website(how typical) saying that "you cannot use this sim other than in a phone...." I was like wtf?! Why should they care how I use the data as it's the same data whether it's going through a dongle or through a phone tethered. Needless to say I wasn't happy. It's not something they tell you is a restriction when you take out the contract. What I don't get is I am saving them money by not even using the bundled minutes and text so they should be happy for me to use just data this way. But of course like any other greedy corporate business they're just after your money. And when they have that they want more. 

Next day I called their customer services. Now I'm not a racist but these Indian call centres are a very big hit and miss. Some companies employe knowledgable Indian people who actually are an asset to the company employing them. Then you get those like three who employe any tom, dick and Harry. Some even call themselves that too. 

Anyway I called them and they read their normal script and informed that I cannot cancel because ...........get this.....the SIM card is used. Used? Yes that's right. Well Mr Three how the flip am I supposed to try the sim out and even test your coverage if I can't "use" the SIM card. Do you just want me to buy a sim or phone from you, leave it in a draw and then return it within 14 days unused? How do you expect me to know if I'll be happy if it's in the draw the whole time. Back to the drawing board on that one for you. 

So they told me I can't cancel and I was like yes I can since I'm within the 14 day cooling off period. Lady went away and came back and kept on saying hello pretending that she can't hear me. I knew she was lying which I told her so but she stayed ignorant then eventually hung up on me. 

I called back. Did the same thing and was told the same script and hung up on again. Third time lucky? Not for me. I called up again and eventually got put through to a so called manager who promised to investigate and get back to me within 5 working days. This wasn't good enough as now I was willing to even pay for what I had used on their now "used" SIM card. It's not as if they resell the sims but I was willing to pay for the data usage as that's all I used and even then it wasn't much data as I said before they blocked access via the dongle I was using. He kept on repeating that he would have to get back to me. I should also point out that at this point he was the manager at the Indian call centre and even then it appears they have no real decision making powers. They most likely have to refer to an office in the uk for a decision. Also at this point I was pointing to several uk laws which they would be in breach of which he hadn't a clue about. I mentioned that as it was an order over the phone I am covered by the distance selling regulations and that gives a 7 day cooling off period which I was still within. Furthermore as this was a contract it is a form of credit and therefore the consumer credit act comes into play here with its 14 day cooling off period. I'm sure there are other laws but I couldn't remember any other at the time. None of this was having any effect on the so called manager. This is one of the reasons why it is a bad idea to have foreign call centres as they will not understand all our laws in the same that we won't understand theirs. Eventually I have up and said fine call me back in 5 days. 

I had almost given up but I still had a little fight left in me. Plus it was a quiet day at work. 

I tweeted three's customer service but did not get any replies. Useless and a waste of time that was. Then a breakthrough. I was google something and stumbled across the executive offices email address and postal address based in Glasgow. I thought I've got nothing to lose so why not give it a try. 

After telling them the whole fiasco in an email I received a call later from a very helpful Jane. She was based in the uk and apologised. She understood exactly what I said in the email and promptly cancelled. I thanked her and did a victory dance. That was that. Its nice when people understand your request and have the power to action them. 

Now just to make it clear I still have a three mobile iPhone contract and I do like their unlimited data which is unmatched by any other uk network. However I think their Indian call centres are rubbish and their returns policy utterly disgraceful. They really need to look at that and think about it from a customers perspective. 

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