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3g - Small Claims Advice

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After some advice regarding taking Three, 3 or 3G Hutchinson to small claims court ref. breach of mobile phone contracts. This is not a rant about how crap they are as we all know we should have gone to VP/O2 but apologies for level of detail included to help with advice on building case (if any).


I would like to know if anyone has experience with small claims route vs '3' and what did you hit them with Breach of Contract ( Poor network cut off calls)/Mis-selling / failure to provide working handset / disgraceful CS & treatment or all of the above



Any advice most welcome, rants about 3g please post on the 3g forum not helpful, I have a file 2 inches thick on all letters correspondence last 2 years but have never recorded calls (wish i had mumbai ones esp) and spent far to much of my life on this already, but 3 wont settle this (directly) despite me requesting as such (what coy refuses money ?) and I refuse to deal with 5 different DRA etc etc


Complaint History (tried to keep brief but failed ha)


Had 4 mobile phone accounts with '3' 3 for business and 1 personal phone and 1 work mobile broadband.


The 3 work mobiles & mobile bb were all purchased from local 3 shop along with optional handset insurance on 2 main business phones. I went in and informed the manager the 3 phones were for business purposes.


Almost straightaway my bus partners phone had a problem with defective fascia buttons (stiff and inoperable). This went back & forth repairs 5 times and was still same even after they replaced handset (alledgedly). This was a nightmare dealing with the infamously helpful CS team in Mumbai (a mare :-x)


In mean time we had nall noticed appaling signall loss problems and embarrising call cut off issues (mid call). We lost some business due to this as diverted calls were lost. It was a nightmare and dealing with Mumbai left us frustrated to hell. In the end my business partner swapped to phone (2g) that we sourced ourselves.


We give up on the call cut out and figured we would have to ride out contract for the remainder of 18 months.


Around 12 months in 3g text bus partner that non 3g phone and would be cut off in 4 weeks unless use 3g phone, so I contacted CS and asked for replacement as per my previous requests 8 months earlier. They refused to replace handset. I then realised we had took out the handset insurance (we had paid £14 a month to cover 2 phones) from the 3 shop which covered lost, stolen and accidental damaged phone. I contacted the insurance details (sounded exacltly same Mumbai office as CS team!) and after going thro details got asked for IMEI of lost phone (now been ditched and lost 8 months earlier as defective) which I didnt have as it was lost. They refused to replace handset as we couldnt provide IMEI number !!??


So the signal was poor, sketchy and call cut out mid call was annoying and frustrating. The original lack of handset repair and now they were gonna cut us off for using a phone we had to pay extra for for non 3g compliance, as well as endless grief from dealing with arrogant, pushy and rude CS staff in Mumbai.


I also found out we were on domestic package and not a business package so feel I was mis sold teh 3 'work' phones.


Mobile broadband suffered same glitchy/patchy coverage/cut out and was pretty rubbish too.


Decided to inform them verbally CS/email/recorded letter canceling contract due to breach of failure to provide reasonable level of service as absolutely peeved at this point.


Otelo fiasco

Contacted Otelo and raised formal complaint. Wrote to 3g requesting deadlock letter in 10 days (come about 20 days later).


Basically after 12 months Otelo ruled with 3g as no proof (as i had not recorded all calls and 3 had no records so punter guilty until proven innocent-unreal)


Sent Otelo 3 witness statements (signed) from ex bus partner, employee and engineer firend who worked for 3g as mast engineer! these all confirmed my story.


Oteloe still ruled against me - again disgusted with the feeble ombudsman.


Exec Office


So nearly 2 years on just started getting dca letters (by the they have used about 15 differnt ones over last 2 years)


Written to exec office to offer 2 options in Jan and again in June to offer partial settlement (cover 1 or 2 months invoices which 30 days notice period to cancel contract) but not the remainder of the contracts £280




I take them to small claims for breach of contract and sue them for loss of earnings approx £500 due to time dealing with handsets, CS, Oteleo etc etc due to their failure to mis-selling personal instead of bus contracts, failure handset provision, poor CS, bully boy tactics etc etc


I contacted them again this week to offer compromise partial settlement and they have refused to take payment, offer advice on how much they think I owe them just quoting the debt has been sold on and no longer in their hands.


I already have a default on my credit rating from initial missed payments


There was only 4 months to go on the 3 bus phones so it was only about £300. but I was that peeved with the CS and the whole coy approach I refuse give in & pay for such disgraceful bully boy tactics.


Money not the objective the principle of david vs goliath is :razz:


I just want the contracts terminated and to never have to deal with such an incompetant bully boy aggressive p&ss taking company.


I have been with Orange (ok) and vodaphone (great) since and VP the best signal & with well spoken brits answering CS queries (so refreshing)


any useful advice/tips for a small claims case welcome



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The only advice I'd give you is that the burden of proof and standards of evidence in small claims courts is exactly the same as the one you faced in your Otelo claim. You as the Claimant must prove your case.


If you couldn't prove your claim via Otelo who are generally more laid back than the courts, you may have real difficulties in proving your case before the courts.


Only you can decide what grounds your going to use for your legal action, if you've already commenced litigation against three as your post suggests you should have listed the reasons for your claim on the papers you've submitted to the court.


Reference loss of business - if the contracts are registered as domestic not business contracts your chance of winning compensation on these grounds is very low, unless you can show that you signed up as businesses and three registered you incorrectly.


If you've got copies of the original contracts consult them, if they say that you signed up as domestic customers then loss of business is not reasonably forseeable and your chance of getting a court to award you money due to this would be slim to none.

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As HW points out as you didn't manage to conclusively prove your case to Otelo I can't the courts ruling any differently if you're going in with the same evidence.


While I have no direct experience of small claims matters you might find the following publications available via CAG useful with any purchasing helping to fund the site to consumers can continue to benefit from the marvelous assistance of both the mods and regular members.


The Consumer Forums - The Small Claims Kit ? published by Lawpack


The Consumer Forums - Small Claims Procedure: A Practical Guide - latest 5th Edition


As your post made no mention of this have you sent 3 a SAR request at all? If not, I'd get this done before doing anything else as it might uncover some useful info for you - then again it might not but for the sake of a tenner it'll be worth it.

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If you do take Hutchison to Court, they will defend, and will seek costs if they successfully reject you claim. Of the things you listed in your first post, none of these are in breach of your contract, (have you read it?).


It could be an educational exercise, but an expensive one.

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