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Mobile phone contract for a minor


simon1231
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Hi all, need a bit of advice please.

 

My girlfriends brother has a contract phone with virgin which he's had for a few months. Problem is he in only 17 (stupid of him to get I know, but being naive at that age is the reason you can't get a mobile contract!)

 

Anyway, he's stuffed and has no real way of paying for it.

 

 

He applied online and obviously didn't verify his age. He added his DOB with two years put on to make him 18.

He's not a fraudster, just did something silly.

 

He's called Virgin and told them he's 17 but they say he has to honour the contract.

 

Now I know that a minor can't enter into a credit contract in this country so in effect I'm guessing the contract is void. My issue is that he falsely put an incorrect date of birth on his application.

 

My question is can he get out of this contract and should mobile phone companies be doing more to protect children from getting into these messes?

 

Thanks

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Persons under the age of 18 cannot make a valid contract. Any such contract is not binding on the minor but is binding on the other party.

 

There is an exception to this rule - minors can validly contract for necessities, but a mobile phone is not really necessity.

 

I think there may be another exception to the rule - that is where the minor lies about their age. If my assumption is correct (it does apply in USA) then the minor is bound by the contract. In addition, there may be implications criminally - perhaps obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception?

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He's not entered into a credit contract, just a service one - so it may be a moot point. You don't say what country you reside, but in Scotland contracts entered into by 16 year olds are enforceable. Even if in England, the fact he asserted he was 18 (when he wasn't) may be a bigger problem if he is flagged as entering into a contract fraudulently with a CIFAS flag on his record.

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Thanks both of you for your sound advice. I'm posting from England. Personally I think parties are to blame. Him because he completed the form with the wrong date of birth and Virgin for not doing enough checks before letting him enter a contract.

 

My guess is that he should be able to cancel the contract because it's void.

I know they could pursue him as fraudulent but I don't think they would because it shows them in a very bad light. Especially when websites are coming under so much pressure to get people to prove their ages to their business.

 

Thanks again

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Do be aware, they don;t have to 'pursue' him for fraud - simply mark his file as entering into a fraudulent activity in entering into the contract. This doesn't involve the police, but makes his credit record almost too hot to handle (CIFAS flags, IMHO are far worse than CCJs as they are seen as being premeditated), so even if you get Virgin to accept it was their 'error', the CIFAS flag would still remain regardless as an indication as to how the account was conducted.

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