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3 Network - 12 month or 18 month contract


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First of all i would like to say hello to everyone as this is my first post and hopefully more will follow.

 

I hope someone can give me some help or advice. I have had a contract with 3 for a number of years and prior to my contract expiring I have always contacted them with a view to renewing the contract and upgrading my phone. The one stipulation I have always had is that I have a 12 month contract as I don't like to be tied into a contract for too long. This was fine until I rang in April, (my contract runs until July). They then told me my contract was for 18 months and not due to expire until January. I insisted that I had never agreed to an 18 month contract and I had specifically requested that to the person on the phone at the time. I have nothing in writing to say I am in an 18 month contract and when I asked them to provide evidence of this in writing they just said I had agreed to it. I was obviously very annoyed with this and asked to speak to a manager who just came out with the same line as the previous person and was quite unhelpful. I hope this doesn't sound rude as I am in no way racist but it is very difficult to get your point across as all the people I have spoken to are foreign. I was then told that there is nowhere to write to complain. I am unsure of what my position is as I have never signed for an 18 month contract and feel I have been misled. I am just concerned that if I threaten to cancel my contract they might take action which would damage my credit rating.

 

Can anybody advise?

 

Realy sorry for the long post just needed to get it off my chest.:)

 

Thanks

 

Peter

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I believe it was last September that 3UK moved to 18months as the minimum contract period, irrespective of whether you were on 12 months before. Your 12 month stipulation may simply have fallen through the cracks, and one of the difficulties of dealing by phone, you are deemed to have accepted implied conditions that you may not be aware of, and as an existing customer you wouldn;r be sent a fresh contract.

 

You need to put your complaint in writing to their St Vincent Street (Glasgow) centre, stating that you never explicitly agreed to an 18 month contract, and to either prove this to your satisfaction, or provide them a termination date based on your 12 month calculation.

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There are still 12 month contracts available on THREE, and the advisor should have given you the options available, if you requested a 12 month contract.

 

3 Mobile Store - Pick a Phone Plan#

 

I see this a lot, where customers have been called direct with an "amazing deal", but not advised of the new contract term.

 

If we sell a phone by mail order, we have to provide a welcome pack, detailing the new package and contract term, with the handset, so the customer can exercise the distance regulations and return the new handset, if they are not entirely happy within 7 days.

 

One rule for them and one rule for us.... :evil:

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Absolutely - but with ALL the networks moving to longer contract periods (up to 2 years for O2 and Orange) they are pushing hard to make 18 months the minimum to get greater payback on their handset stock. A shame, since they're to blame for creating the annual handset change themselves!

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I've just renewed the contract for my wife's 3 phone which was on an 18 month contact and she had a new, expensive phone when it started.

The renewal is for 12 months at a total of £75.00 for the whole year for 500 minutes and 100 texts per month but she keeps her existing phone- which is still pretty up to date.

I guess that the dearer the phone the longer the contract. On a personal note both our phones are on 3 and I on both contracts there was a credit worth about £125 in month 13 which didn't happen automatically. I had to jump up and down a bit but they did credit it in the end.

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Very true - but it is also worth noting (for clarification) that the shorter the contract term, the more expensive the phone can be! A problem not encountered with pre-pay (PAYG) handsets.

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Very true - but it is also worth noting (for clarification) that the shorter the contract term, the more expensive the phone can be! A problem not encountered with pre-pay (PAYG) handsets.

 

But then PAYG handsets aren't discounted anywhere near as heavily as contract handsets in the first place.

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This discount is an illusion. Since the contract cost includes the element of the phone, and DD access now mandatory, you have to consider whether the savings at the contract signing are really worth the hassle later (and possible CRA default) should it go wrong.

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There's pro's and cons to everything.

 

If you use less than 100 minutes per month then you are better off on Payasyou go with a decent-ish payasyougo phone for about £100.00 then you would spend approx £17.56 per month over an 18 month period.

 

You can get a Nokia 6151 or SonyEricsson K610i for £15 a month on 3 for 18 months with 250 minutes and 50 texts or for a fiver more you can have double that, with no cashback. All you have to do is pay your bills and monitor your usage to make sure you don't go over.

 

I think its worth the little bit of hassle ....

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Sure - but I factor in the variables - Risk to credit record, £3pm, Loss of control of bank account £5pm. Hassle of dealing with CS to resolve issues, possibly 3 per annum at £12 = £36. Add this up and the ongoing running costs when compared to PAYG is a hefty £133 when compared to a PAYG phone and top-ups that you control. Sure, the costs may be arbitrary, but work out what happens when it goes wrong - how many CAG members wish they hadn't bothered with a contract after their Credit Record is hit with a probably unjustified default? In my book, that's a £250 debit entry for a start!

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Pay as you good is a great option, but not when there's an emergency, such as car broken down, whilst out in the sticks, at night, and you wished you hadn't said that you were going to get some more credit the following day.

 

You have to contend with making sure credit is available, and you have no control over unexpected tariff changes.

 

The networks love PAYG, as a small amount is used to subsidise the handset, and then it is income from day one....

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In fairness, you can top up with a debit or credit card using an automated telephone system on most (all?) networks now...

 

My (18-month) contract is about £25 a month, including unlimited internet access on my phone and enough texts/minutes for me to basically not have to worry too much about whether I should avoid using my phone because it's expensive. The phone was only about £10, compared with a SIM-free price at the time of purchase of £300 (it's now £250, but you can get them on eBay for about £90).

 

Basically, my point is that it's stupid to make generalisations.

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I am just giving one side of the coin and Busby is giving the other.

 

Every person is individual, and should go for what they feel happy with, in the long term.

 

If you do get a contract, get the whole package laid out in writing, before agreeing to anything verbally, wherever you go including full details of any special offers.

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Pay as you good is a great option, but not when there's an emergency, such as car broken down, whilst out in the sticks, at night, and you wished you hadn't said that you were going to get some more credit the following day...

 

To be fair - that argument holds true for post pay also they just change to; My DD bounced, OR a billing error made them switch off my phone...

 

As for running out of credit, some networks allow private emergency calls to be made (Orange and O2?) when this situation arises. I do realise dealers need post-pay to make some decent money, and I don't deny good indy's deserve every penny of it - however with so much to go wrong and cost for the customer, along with the automatic right to default them at a whim, people need to look past the glossy handset and see what CAN happen!

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On a wider scope, re contracts, there are millions of contracts signed every year, and the only ones you hear about on forums such as this are the ones that have gone wrong.

 

Things do occasionally go wrong with everything, but to tar them all with the same brush is wrong. I have had mobile phones on contract since 1988 and have never had a problem. I just make sure i make a decision as to what package i require, and ensure i know the full T's & C's and get them in writing. I pay my bills and get the service i expect.

 

If you don't feel comfortable then go on PAYG as you say, but if you make over 100-200 minutes of calls you would be financially better off on contract, and you also get the facility for negotiating a new deal at the end of your minimum term.

 

I always try and negotiate better deals for my customers at upgrade time, and often get them a new phone with between a £5 to £15 per month discount on either thier current tariff or on a new tariff if that is better for them.

 

I actually like selling pay as you go, as i have made a profit (less than contract) but the sale usually only takes 5 - 10 minutes and then that is it. I can charge extra for accessories that i have to give away on contract, and then earn a small amount when they top up. No worries about clawback as i make sure the phones are credited at point of sale, no commission queries, and money in my bank straight away.

 

As stated before the networks love it too.

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I think if you ask, you'll find the networks 'don't' love it as much as you think. They have lost more money to box splitters than to contract defaulters. Why do you think Tesco/ASDA and the like have signs up saying only one phone sold per customer?

 

As to the pricing difference between contract and pre-pay, I already covered this in my earlier message regarding factoring in costs of problems. If usage is high and the downside cost still makes it worthwhile, then at least the risks are known and the customer decides accordingly.

 

However, there are a good many complaints, some justified and some not, but I'd reckon more people have had their credit record wrecked simply because of their mobile phone than any other type of purchase. I've no figures to prove it, but this is the impression I get.

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