This is going to be a long post so please bear with me. I started this thread over on [EDIT] back in October of 2007, but I will continue with it also on here.
I went on a contract with 3 in April of 2007. Everything was great for about a couple of months until one day I got a phonecall of a friend. Oddly enough, my ringtone was playing really fast - like it was on fast forward or something. I thought it was odd and after the phonecall I assumed it was a one off glitch. Anyway, over the next couple of days I found the following:-
1) Battery would no longer hold a full charge for more than 5 hours or so.
2) Playing back video would result in the phone crashing and restarting itself.
3) Recording video or taking a picture gave me a "camera on standby" message.
So, I went to my local 3 shop in Solihull of Birmingham, England. They took the phone and a week later I went back to check up on the progress of things. They handed me a letter from their repair centre which said that the phone had been damaged and not covered under their warranty. To get it fixed I would need to cough up £30. Needless to say I wasn't falling for it because I always take care of my possessions and I knew the phone had not been dropped as they were suggesting.
Please take a look at the letter that 3 had issued to me:-
Here they have a picture on the left hand side apparently showing the "damage" to the inside of the phone. I was bemused by this because I couldn't even see what they were referring to.
The picture is blown up again here:-
Anyway, I wrote an email of complaint to 3's head office and got a phonecall from them the next day. The caller mentioned that the problem was down to the "little square" just above the battery connectors. I pointed out to her that she was actually referring to the flash of the camera. Besides, it was another 20 minutes of having to defend myself against the implied accusation that the phone was damaged and listening to the broken record of either paying £30 to get it fixed or to just take it as it is.
In the end I threatened to cancel my Direct Debit, which certainly shook her up a bit, but still there was no budging on her behalf.
For a while after that I had had to have the phone literally charging twice a day with no functionality from the camera or video. It could still make calls, but the thought of it completely breaking down with the rest of the contract to pay off frightened me.
Then, in the month of November 2007, I checked my next bill and found that 3 were going to charge me not £17.50 as set out in the contract, but £35 - the price of full line rental. I sent them an email only to receive a circular response that answered nothing of my query. So, I sent them another email this time clarifying in all certainty the question of why I was going to be billed more. I got a phonecall from them a few days later.
Essentially, the reason I had been charged £35 was because, 3 "could not apply the credit". I was confused by this, but that turned to surprise when they next said that they would credit my mobile account with £210. I was gobsmacked, but I definitely remember asking if anything would change on my contract. The answer, I remember clearly, was a "no". I actually thought that through all the problems I had had with my phone and the fact that I advised them weeks earlier I had posted my experiences with 3 on [EDIT] was perhaps their way of keeping me quiet. Why else give me £210 of mobile credit?
Christmas time came and lo and behold on my bill was £35 deducted from that £210 credit that 3 had given me. A friend who knew the troubles I was going through bought me a new mobile phone as a gift, that was compatible with 3, so I started using it straight away with my contract SIM card. I then cancelled my Direct Debit in the event of being overcharged again.
May of 2008 and I got a phonecall from 3 stating that I owed them £35 for that month. I explained that I only signed to pay £17.50 per month. The guy on the phone then said that as I had not paid anything for the past few months that I would have to pay £35 now each month to make up the payments. I was furious as I wasn't told anything of this and it was confirmed in that previous phone call that my contract would not change.
I countered by stating that although no monies had been paid from by back account that they had actually taken credit from my 3 account, in the sense that if someone gives you something then that something becomes yours. I believe that phone call lasted about an hour.
Anyway, several phone calls go by over the next few weeks and bills begin to mount. On a later conversation with them I asked if I could just pay the normal £17.50 per month. The 3 operator said that I couldn't. So, I asked if I could pay £17.50 per month by Debit Card instead. Ah ha! The 3 operator said that I could! Well, this was so simple! If the problem was that their system can't be reversed to accept half-price line rental payments then paying this way was a solution. She definitely said that I could pay monthly this way at that amount. So, I paid £30 over the phone by Debit Card to cover the existing bill.
Until then when this whole fiasco started, I had hardly used my contract phone. I was serious about getting rid of 3 and wanted to show this. After that last phone call, thinking I was in the clear, I began using it as normal again.
A week later and just to check that all was well I gave 3 another call. This time another operator explained that I couldn't pay like this! I had to pay £35 each month no matter what! I can't tell you how upset and tired I had become of the entire situation, as I'm sure you, the reader has. I finished that call by saying that I wasn't going to pay a penny more and that I would discontinue using the contract phone.
And then yesterday came along.
I got a letter from Advanced Telecoms Debt Collection Services Limited based in Glasgow. I would have to pay such and such amount. I gave them a call and we discussed my situation to 3's. I was advised that I could end up paying hundreds of pounds back. Nonetheless, I'm maintaining my stance and would rather see them in court if it comes to it.
Having read through the terms and conditions 3 have to give me 14 days notice before any change of payments are required. They did not do this. How are they able to make and bend the rules as they go along beats me.
During the last few weeks I have contacted Trading Standards twice by email. To date I am still awaiting for some kind of response and will chase them up this week.
Hope I haven't bored anyone yet!