Another day, another normob frustrated by unethical sales droids, misleading management and unsupportive customer support staff...
Ross (or "Space Cowboy", as he's known on MySpace) posted this heartfelt account of his frustrating experience:
3 mobile broadband at PC world (Beware)
This new mobile broadband offer from PC world looks great i say to myself as im shopping in PC world this thur, but whats the catch free laptop with mobile broad band with 5gig download limit sounds to good to be true.
So i ask a member of staff for some information, It all seems straight forward and fair and still a good offer (The main point to consider is the staff member explained to me that internet browsing was free 24 hours a day just like home broadband, and that there was a lengthy cancellation period).
It was late and i was impressed so i decided to sign up then but it being PC world none of the laptops on display that i wanted was in stock. So i shopped around the next day and found PC world with 3 was the best offer, so i went back signed up and was told again that surfing was unlimited i also convinced a friend of the offer (Sorry Phil) and he signed being told the same thing about web browsing.
I got home that night and was pleased as punch with the service. The laptop was great (Compaq) and the internet was exceptional (much better than expected i thought it would be patchy) with good speeds reaching 130Kbs on one download not bad considering. Although when i looked i was supplied with no information on price plans, cancellation terms and most unbelievable they didn't include me with my copy of the contract.
All was good until Mon 48 hours after activation and i get a message from 3 stating i had used up all my internet allowances. What the hell i think that can't be possible, i had only downloaded about 2.5gig of data i should still have 2.5gig left. So i removed the dongle modem and contacted 3 for an explanation.
In all fairness to 3 they got back to me very quickly although it was not helpful. The individual was friendly enough and helpfully informed me that not only web browsing but simply being connected to the internet is taken from your usage. I couldn't believe it three members of staff had lied about the service, this i explained but the 3 contact simply said they were wrong and offered no solution. Then i asked how the hell i had used 2.5gig even if i was connected and viewing web pages for 48 hours straight i wouldn't use up that amount, He simply replied i had used a large amount, i asked on what to which he said i should register with 3 and they will display all information on the website.
I went back on the internet to register with three and had another message from them stating i now owed £10.35 (had no supplied information on how to register and nothing clear on the site). How is that even possible i had the modem in the box and the laptop closed down and only 2 hours had passed. I was fummin mad and contacted 3 again (but i have always been polite and reasonable during all communications)
I explained all the above and was offered no explanation or solution. I stated i was happy with the internet service and would be happy to continue the contract if we could start from fresh with me being in full possession of the information on the service and an explanation on my internet usage (not unreasonable i thought), this option was completely ignored and i was told it couldn't be done (im sure they could if they cared). So i explained i was still in my cooling of period and i want to cancel. I was them informed that they couldn't cancel my contract i would have to contact PC world, I was suspicious as the contract was with 3 but 3 explained that PC world had miss sold me the agreement and the fault was with them.
Now where have I heard that old chestnut before? Ah yes, Phones4U, Carphone Warehouse and, erm, PC World...
I'm sure Three were correct in pushing the customer back to PCW for a solution but, certainly from a normob perspective, it's Three's terms and conditions that have been 'inaccurately' (to put it generously) communicated -- isn't it quite reasonable to expect them to sort out the problem with PCW? After all, the 'mud' from this episode will stick to both Three and PC World, regardless.
I'm more than a little amazed that Ross was able to get online at all with his new dongle without registering it first with Three, let alone be able to use his 5GB data allowance surfing the web over the weekend...
So after that phone call i go to the PC world were i bought the service and again explained the above (To three different members of staff before i got the line manager). I explained how it was miss advertised and the lack of supplied information. Well guess what surprise surprise they refused to take it back completely ignoring and discounting the lies that were told to sell the contract. I was told that the contract was with 3 and had nothing to do with them they were just the agents, i was only informed that there was only a three day cancellation period again after being told by PC world that i had a fortnight (Arrrrrrrrg !!)
I was really beginning to lose my ragg and i asked if "3 says your responsible and you say they are what the hell am i supposed to do" and the manager simply repeated that i will have to contact 3. So i asked if he could contacted them for me to sort it out to which he replied that he couldn't (I could of punched him), if your acting as 3 agents why would you not be able to communicate with them , your acting as a middle man it is your job to communicate between customer and provider. This he simply choose to ignore and reiterate that he couldn't contact 3 (Lies, lies, lies (They didn't even offer to supply me with my contract what a dick)).
So i have contacted 3 for a third time and guess what they are saying to go to the dealers that they cant cancel my contract or help in any way. all these people do is pass the problem off to another department.
I will get back with the results but don't hold your breath and don't shop at PC world or trust what the staff says its just lies. Three has terrible service.
I expect that the deceitful PC World manager (and quite possible Three's Customer Support crew) are hoping that this normob will go home and write it off to experience: another bloody awful and expensive, mismanaged rip-off from the combined forces of incompetent computer retailing and unhelpful mobile broadband providers.
Unfortunately for them, at least, Ross has already let all his contacts on MySpace know what he thinks of his treatment at the hands of Three and PC World, and he's started posting his account on broadband forums (which is where I picked up the thread).
He's also already contacted his local Trading Standards office (to report the mis-selling angle) and his local newspaper in an effort to gather support.
His next steps are probably stern letters to the CEOs of Dixons Group and Hutchison 3G UK. And maybe a colourful sandwich board to attract some attention outside his local PC World shop.
Any other ideas?