Beware of 3, the mobile phone and broadband company…

Because once they get their claws on your money, they won’t give it back easily… Even if you haven’t bought anything from them.

On August 16, I ordered an iPad 3, on a monthly contract with 15GB mobile broadband, from 3. Delivery was next day if ordered before 16.00. It was, by 2 hours.

It failed to materialise, nor did I get any feedback from 3. However, while hanging around waiting, it did give me time to wonder what the hell I was going to do with a mobile Internet account. Hell, I’ve not been outside for a month.

So, taking advantage of the fact that they’d failed to deliver, and of the Distance Selling Regulations which give you 7 days grace to cancel for any reason, or for none, I cancelled, by email.

They don’t make it easy to contact them in writing. The only email address is on the Accessibility page, and that goes to the accessibility people, whom I asked to pass it on to sales. The complaints page has nothing but addresses to write to, or phone numbers to call. The Accessibility page, though, also has a fax number, which I used later on.

A few days went by and I thought I’d check my bank account, where I found 3 had set up a Direct Debit, which I got cancelled by the bank. I also spotted that they’d debited my account for £99 deposit on the cancelled order. OK, that was probably automatic and inevitable, but nevertheless I emailed and pointed out that as the order was cancelled, I’d rather like it back.

Nothing.

After waiting a few days, giving a credit transfer time to grind its way through, I filled in their online complaints form.

Still nothing.

September 4, and I faxed a polite but firm letter explaining the situations and asking for my money back promptly.

Yep, you guessed – still nothing. And, by the way, the only email I’ve had was a customer service email telling me how to set up the iPad they hadn’t sent. I binned it; in retrospect I should have given them a bollocking.

So, today, it’s been angry letter, threat of legal action, time, also faxed.

The fax number may well go to the Accessibility people, but that doesn’t matter – it’s gone to the company, it’s their task to ensure it gets to the right people.

Thing is, they legally have 30 days to process refunds, which needs to change as there is no justification for it. A refund can be processed just as quickly as a debit, it doesn’t need 30 days. That’s no reason not to press for payment, though. Can take 30 days isn’t saying it must take 30 days.

So be aware, if you order anything from these buggers, and there’s an upfront payment involved, they won’t be in any hurry to refund it if you cancel. And what happened to the iPad that should have been despatched on August 16? No idea, it never arrived from which I assume it was never sent. 3 haven’t bothered to explain why.

Oh yes, I did buy an iPad 3, just the basic wi-fi version, and subsequently discovered that, using the portable wi-fi hotspot function on my smartphone, I could connect it to the Internet. Not entirely sure when I’ll use that, either, but at least it’s not costing me anything as half a gig comes with my mobile account, ample for my needs, just Twitter and email if I’m away from home. In fact, everything, PC, iPad of course, laptop, ’droid tablet, are all configured to connect via my mobe in the event my broadband connection fails which, touch wood, except for a very few, very short, dropouts, it hasn’t done in over 4 years.

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4 thoughts on “Beware of 3, the mobile phone and broadband company…

  1. 3 years ago during house renovations i bought this laptop and a 3 dongle. was hoping to still connect to internet whilst sat outside out of the dust and muck.although my desktop pc had been removed to my daughters out of the way i had kept the modem here so i could go on normally in the evenings. but needed to occupy myself each day for 6 weeks or more. couldnt afford to taxi around every day even to go to my daughters.dont have a car, so i set up a cosy nook in my shed.
    the dongle was rubbish. if it got me online at all it was only 2 secs or so before connection was dropped.after wasting £30 (was pay and go at a tenner for so long) i gave up and just played games from some cds (murder mystery things etc) my daughter gave me.like you i got nowhere with them and my guess is they are based out in china somewhere as it always seemed to be a chinese woman who answered when i rang them.(not forced to be i know but that is how i felt about it).there was a telephone number for that back then.
    the consumer people can tell you where they are based. if in china wouldnt hold much hope of getting anything back. the chinese have a habit of doing business over here from a postal address here and cant be traced through it. it happened with a site i bought 2 radiator dehumidifiers from/ ordered white got 1 white 1 black and the white busted. on complaint, several emails, phone calls, etc got nowhere. contacted the consumer people here who found out they used a postal address in Birmingham and hadnt paid taxes here for that year.yet were still trading. asked others who had 3 dongles.all said same thing.. they were rubbish,the firm was (is) rubbish.

    • The company is utter crap, but I had one of their dongles about 3 years ago, and I have to say it worked brilliantly. How well they work depends on them being set up properly – it’s not as simple as just plug and go, you have to set up a connection on the host computer, as with any other form of wi-fi. And, of course, even if that’s done properly, it depends entirely on where you live whether you actually get a signal or not as, in some areas, coverage is unreliable or just absent.

      There’s a coverage checker on this page http://store.three.co.uk/view/product/ql_catalog/threecatdevice/2230?priceplan=PAYG

      • thanks Ron. but i wont be bothering with it again. ive now got my own wireless set up here anyway and now my desktop has gone in for repairs my bro in law came up and set up my lappy so i can use my wireless printer from it.was having a fit in case that packed up on me with clogged up nozzles that refused to be unclogged. had that happen after only 2 weeks into those aforementioned house renovations. decided to let my son use it and it had already clogged up. that was a cannon….next one, an epson sx400, i had for 2 years and that went do lally pip on me. got it going ok but couldnt unclog the black ink nozzle. yet i had only used that one about a week before.
        new one as i say is wireless sx238 (some number similar anyway) and only a few months old so didnt want it happening again to this one.dont now use the lappy anywhere else asi dont go on hols or anything,

        • Always best to avoid printers where the print-head is built in (many, if not all, Epsons, not sure about Canon). They can be (sometimes), unblocked by using a cleaner cartridge, which pumps solvent through them, but if they can’t the whole machine is scrap. Printers where the print-head is part of the cartridge (Hewlett Packard for sure, others too, maybe), are best, as if the print heads block the worst that can happen is you have to buy a new cartridge.

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