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Cancelling new phone contract/Autism

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I am putting this on the forum to help the son of an ex colleagure. The lad has Autism.


I have just put an 18 year old lad on a plane to Belfast so he can be with his parents. For the last few weeks a girl has been taking advange of him due to his autism.


She got him on friday 21st November just gone to take out a mobile phone contract with the 3 network in store. There are two Iphone 6 with different numbers for him and her.

Each phone has a £45 monthly Tariff, total £90 a month


Before i took him to the airport i called into the three store to cancel the agreement, they said the could not as the phone was purchassed instore, and not online or by post.


Is there anyway out of this contract as he is now unemployed and lumbered with £90 a month for the next 18 months through not of his choosing?

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The issue here is whether he has capacity to make a contract given his mental disability.


The rule is that if he suffers from a mental disability to a point where he is unable to understand the significance of entering into a contract – and if it is obvious to the contracting party i.e. Three, that he was suffering from a mental disability then he is not bound by the contract.


You will probably be able to tell whether or not his autism is obvious to other people who don't know him.


In any event, given his disability, I would issue a direct challenge to Three. I would return the phones to them, and if you consider that his disability is not obvious, I would simply inform them that all contracts are now cancelled, that you are not asking for any refunds but if they try to cause any trouble, you will resist – even in the courts if necessary.


As he is autistic and living in Belfast I think that any debt collectors will have their work cut out to get anything off him. Once you have put them on notice as to his mental state, I would then tell Three that if they start trying to bully a young autistic lad, that you will complaint to the regulator and take other action that you see fit.


I would include writing to the member of Parliament.


If you consider that his disability is obvious, then I would return the phones and demand refunds and be prepared to sue – or at least to go to the regulator with an official complaint.

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Here are the OFT's Guidance on Debt Collection, if debt collectors get involved.


2. Overarching Principles of Fair Business Practice (page 8)





You might need to write to the CEO, if you don't get anywhere with Customer Service.


Mr David Dyson

Chief Executive Officer


davi[email protected]

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Unfortunately there is no longer a cooling off period when purchasing in store (except for O2, Virgin Mobile, and Talk Mobile) ...unlike on line you have the distance selling directive protection.



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