Nicholas Goodchild

Historic and Pared Down


14 March 2012 by Nicholas in Shopping

I was with Three for something like nine years. Typically what would happen is I would approach the end of the contract they would besiege me with offers and I would eventually give in and accept one of them, with a shiny new phone and regret it within six months or so as a much better mobile became available or my mobile usage changed dramatically.

This time, as the end of my contract approached, I actually was in a position where my mobile usage had changed and I had a lot of data on what my usage was. I knew I never came near my data limit and that I used a mere fraction of the huge number of texts I was allowed. With this in mind I found a deal with another provider that I intended to get three to match as I fully intended to stay with them.

This is where the problems began. As I called three and told them they told me that I was using considerably more data than I was aware of. I agreed to a rolling one month contract while they came back with an offer on a handset I wanted. I also checked my data and found out they had lied to me. Still, I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt and I called them back. I got passed between pillar and post and offered a string of deals and tariffs that were patently unsuitable. I repeatedly told every advisor I talked to I never really texted and was repeatedly offered contracts with multiples of thousands of texts. I told them which mobile I wanted and was offered one that was nothing like it. I told them what deal I had found and was assured that they would match it.

They couldn’t. I cancelled my contract. They called me back and offered me something else that was nothing close in terms of handset and massively inappropriate in terms of text. I hung up. They called back and I told them not to call back unless they could match the deal exactly. A manager called back and told me they could match the deal, I told him how to locate it and he informed me that the internet was blocked in the call centre and all deal matching was done via a spreadsheet that he couldn’t edit. This whole process wasted the best part of a week for me. I told them I was still leaving and fully intended to switch to the cheaper deal I had seen. Then a funny thing happened. I had the PAC code in my phone (I was cancelling and taking my number with me) and was walking through Tescos. They had an even better deal than the one I had seen. I had a phone I had cancelled and the ability to transfer my number there and then. Sometimes life works out just right.

Three: nine years and they don’t even know if they’re going to lose a customer or not because they have no way of telling if they can price match or not. They lie about usage and offer utterly inappropriate deals. They listen to what handset you want and suggest one massively different anyway. If they can’t retain, their support is notoriously not good and their phone range is limited, how do they hope to grow to where they want to be?