3 Like Home – 3 squirm as customers cancel contracts

May 20th, 2009 48 Comments By Paul Smith

Barely a week ago, we reported that 3 are going to cancel 3 Like Home, a service which allows you to make calls and use data in several foreign countries without additional roaming fees. The reason given by 3 was it was due to the weak pound, which inflated 3′s costs from using foreign service providers. As we pointed out last week, their explanation made as much sense as a bearded horse – not only because 3′s maths didn’t add up, but as readers pointed out, the foreign service providers are actually part of 3′s sister network – a fact they failed to mention.

3 now are texting customers with a different explanation as to why the service is ending; included in the text is a web link. Here’s what my link said:

Firstly, we’re reviewing all our EU roaming rates. And by removing 3 Like Home, we’ll be able to offer more competitive prices in non-3 sister network countries.

Secondly, we know that many of our other customers roamed onto another network by mistake while in a 3 Like Home Country and built up a bigger bill then expected. Unfortunately, we’re unable to stop accidental roaming onto a non-3 sister network. But by making these changes, our prices will be more straight forward and even clearer. So you’ll always know what you’re paying for. Wherever you are.

I’ve just attempted to locate other networks manually on my phone, and as well as 3 I’ve found both Vodafone and T-Mobile. Unsurprisingly, I can access neither. So 3 can stop accidental use of a non-3 network in this country on a 3 handset, but not abroad. Worse than that, they’re trying to justify to customers who use 3 Like Home, that they’ll be better off by not having the service at all. Really?

So. Does this week’s explanation sound anything like last week’s?

picture 5 3 Like Home   3 squirm as customers cancel contracts

3 are squirming, because for customers who joined 3 after January 2007, 3 Like Home has been an integral service, offered at no extra charge to the customer. It has never been considered or referred to as an additional service – this is important, because if 3 make changes that can be considered detrimental, customers can end their contract without paying a fee; the only exceptions to this are additional services. We discussed the reasons why 3 Like Home isn’t an additional service last week.

Reading through recent customers experiences on the HUKD forums, it seems 3 have sent two versions of the text out, depending on whether you have used the 3 Like Home service recently. If you have, there’s a note within the text saying you have a right to cancel. And it is possible; HUKD member helsbels cancelled their 3 contract this morning, as did Bitterwallet reader David Zdanowicz, who also offers some useful advice for those wanting to cancel a contract because of 3 Like Home.

One commonality amognst all those who have managed to cancel so far – it appears to be taking in excess of an hour for customer services to agree. Perhaps 3 are hoping that customers will become so frustrated by the experience that they give up trying. If you use 3 Like Home and are going to lose out, clear your diary and get stuck in.

Comments (48) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Pingback

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  2. Posted by David Zdanowicz May 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Just a note guys, if you request a PAC code, and transfer that to another provider within the 30 days, then you dont have to give 30 days noticed and will only be charged for the days up untill the transfer of the pac code.

  3. Posted by James May 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Good luck with cancelling! To David: if you do ask for your PAC make sure you use it!! I know of cases where the pac has lapsed, and 3 have asked for 30 days notice again as the customer ‘agreed to use the PAC code to cancel the contract’.

  4. Posted by David Zdanowicz May 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    thanks for the heads up, Yeah , Ive already ordered my simplicity deal from o2 which should hopefully arrive within 3 working days, So the pac will be transfered then :)

  5. re: the switching onto other networks and getting bill shock…

    That’s only when actually roaming – 3 tend to have roaming agreements for UK customers with other operators even in the countries where 3 has its own network. For example, in Ireland you can roam onto any network (and do when out of 3 Ireland coverage) but 3-like-home pricing only applies when actually on 3 – slip onto Vodafone IE for a bit and it gets ugly.

  6. Posted by Jeffro May 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I rang up to cancel. It took over an hour. In the end, I accepted their offer to bring my monthly sub down to £15 (from £30) for life. No doubt I’ll get an N96 from them for free when my upgrade’s due in July.

  7. Posted by antony watts May 20, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I got a call from 3 today. They gave me a lot of dedicated bull shit but basically said, wait until a new anonucement on July 1st about EU roaming . But I am on PAYG not a monthly contract (nothing to cancel), and 3 have refused to unlock my dongle so I can go elsewhaere. So I have spent £50 on a dongle that will not give me the 3 Like Home serviice after 30 June? I want my money back. Lets see hiow this plays out,

  8. Posted by j May 20, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Does anyone know if this affects mobile broadband?

  9. Posted by bmouthboyo May 20, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Wow what a find, I managed to cancel both my mobile phone contract which had 12 months left and my Mobile broadband contract that had 6 months left today by using this as an excuse. Took nearly an hour in total but was pretty straight forward.

    I did as advised and stated i have holiday booked in July in Aus, and that this 3 like home was why i took both my phone and mobile internet contract out. They tried to fob me off with the usual; £10 gift, £20 gift, “you have to pay remaining to cancel”, “it was only a temporary offer” etc

    Remain strong and insist on canceling, i had never used either abroad and this did not matter. State the actual quote regarding detrimental changes in the terms and conditions which can be found above.

    Also they will then put you through to cancellations, almost there lol, they will ask for your phone back, tell them you lost it ages ago without insurance so use an old phone. They will go away and ask if this is ok, but was fine for me.

    Then say you want your sim to change to PAYG, and as a result in a month you will be out of contract and keep your number. Simple. Try it

  10. @antony not to be paranoid for the sake of it, but if you wait til July 1st you’ll have had over 30 days notices of the changes occurring, so I doubt 3 then let you cancel. If you want to cancel, I’d get onto it before the beginning of June.

  11. Posted by Stephen Moore May 22, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    ‘m on 3 Mobile Broadband £15 a month for 5 gigs of data. I got it specifically because living in Belfast I occasionally have to go to Dublin for work and wanted a data package that would work in both countries. Plus I have booked a trip to Australia soon with my wife and we wanted to be able to check email, movie times etc while away without worrying about Wi-Fi etc.

    I popped my 3 Broadband SIM into an old unlocked N95 and explained to the customer service person I wanted to cancel and explained my reasons for taking the 3 Contract were for 3 Like Home specifically. He told me I would need to pay to cancel and transferred me to cancellations.

    I rehearsed my problem again for the cancellations person (explaining that I had actually asked when taking the contract out SPECIFICALLY about 3 Like Home) and was offered 1 month of Line Rental free to cover “times when you’re not able to use it”. I explained again the POINT in choosing 3 was that I wanted to be ABLE to use it abroad. At that point she offered to cancel, I checked there was no cancellation charge and was told that I had only to pay my last month of Line Rental.

    That’s that. Job done.

    I was polite and pleasant throughout, and always thanked them for their kind offers to help make it cheaper but explained repeatedly that the contract was now useless for the purpose I bought it, meaning it was decidely detrimental to me.

    Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  12. Posted by Tom Frampton May 24, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Does anyone know what the new data rates are going to be? It’s insane!! I am a business customer and will be in Italy for 1 month from 1st of July. They sent me a letter on Friday to tell me they were dropping “Three like home” but with no info about the replacement rates. Unless the data rates are (VERY) cheap, I’ll be cancelling my companies mobile contract with Three. What a time to be messing around with roaming charges, the very time most people are going to be going abroad…!

  13. Pingback

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  14. Posted by Andrew Jones May 30, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I recently received the text about the end of 3 like home – called 3 up and cancelled my contract – I have used this service alot, and I was really suprised they cancelled it. They did offer me £20 !! and as you can imagine..I rejected the so call gesture of good will.

    Vodafone are doing the opposite and ‘abolishing’ roaming charges this summer for UK customers.. so I might consider moving to them.

  15. Posted by JJ May 31, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I just got my step daughters contract cancelled yesterday, it took over 1 hour and she wasnt using the service 3 like home, they argued that she wasnt using the service therefore she would have to pay a cancelation fee, then I had to state the law out to them that she had the right to cancel because the contract was changed. then he said he could not hear me anymore and just sat and listned to me, I called hima idiot and then he said not to call him names, I said I thought you couldnt hear me? then he transfered me to the cancelations department and had to explain the hole thing again to him, then he was able to tell me what number we were talking about and we wernt even ringing from that number, so he already knew the hole story, Eventually he cancelled her contract and that was that.

    Now I had to sort out the wifes phone and mine, I live in newry northern Ireland and use the phone a lot to go down to Dublin or Donegal, My phone is now useless down south, I had two contracts out for my phone and my misses. N95 500 Mix and match, still had six months to go on both and both where always costing over 33 pounds a month so I done a deal here, I ended both contracts and moved them to 30day contracts, 15pounds per month 300 mins, unlimited texts, free 3 to 3 calls and skype. so now Im saving over half of wat I was paying and there is no ties.

    Job well done, 3 out of 3 for me….pardon my cheesy pun. haha

  16. Pingback

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  17. Posted by Jay June 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    i only just purchased the blackberry bold on 29th April. Will they let me cancel it and keep the mobile?

  18. Posted by anthony June 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I only got my phone 3 months ago with 500 mins per month but only used about 15 mins of call time in the 3 months so I called and said I was cancelling because I only got it to use abroad, hence the low usage and they really couldn’t argue with that and gave me a PAC code. I must say though that 3 are absolutely useless, I had nothing but hassle in the 3 months hence why it was hardly used and I stuck with my t-mobile phone, they wouldn’t even let me add the blackberry service to my contract even though i would have been paying for it because they only offer it with new contracts (everybody else offers it as a addon) and I easily spent 1 hour on hold on the phone everytime I called them.

    Jay btw they did try and say to me that I had to return the phone because it was their property till the end of my contract, but I made it clear to her that I had read my contract before I called from beginning to end and no where did it mention that I had to return the phone.

    After 1 hour on hold and 20 mins on the phone I have got my PAC code. To be honest I would have stayed even with the contract changes if they hadn’t shown how useless they are considering I had a business contract.

  19. Posted by Ste June 3, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Does anyone know how long the pac is taking to come via text?? Just cancelled within about 5 mins which was very surprising!!!!!

  20. Posted by Mike W June 3, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    When did Three announce this change. I took out a contract on 06/05/09 and am wondering whether or not I’m in a position to cancel based on this amendment. Any thoughts?

  21. Pingback

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  22. Posted by Eric June 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Hi,
    I had an account with 3 which i cancelled last week. I got a Nokia N95 8GB free. But i received couple of calls from Fraud agencies who were asking about my cancellation and they told that if i’ll be found guilty then my Credit rating will go bad.

  23. Pingback

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  24. UK Contract Law would suggest that 3 cannot change the terms of a contract one the agreement has commenced. I am planning to inform 3 that my 3 like home contract remains valid for the remaining 1 year of my contract. I have a Broadband moden for £7pm for 5GB data. I have a mobile contract for 100 mins to any network for £9pm. I’m guessing to move I will struggle to get a matched price. I use 3 like home weekly.

  25. Posted by adam June 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

    3 said “If we cancel your contract then you’ll be blacklisted for any of our offers in the future” and “You need to send the phone back”

    No chance. As if they’d block potential customers because of their change. No way they were getting the phone either.

    I hate how companies think they can change customer affecting terms with no questions asked. (play, 3, facebook)

  26. Posted by Richard June 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Does anyone have the correct postal address to write to ? I want to send a recorded delivery letter rather than waste my time on the phone.

    On what date was the announcement made ? Am I still within the 1 month (8 June) ??

  27. Posted by Karl June 17, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Hi, I have 2 contracts with 3, my girlfriend has one which is used in dublin quite alot, 80% of calls and texts received and made are from there. Eventually after 1 hr on the phone I managed to get that canceled.

    Today I have tried to cancel the 2nd contract which was taken out on 21/03/2009. They have informed me that they cannot cancel the contract because I received the text stating that “3 like home” was to be canceled on the 14/05/09 and i am too late to ring and cancel (by 3 days). I was supposed to call up within 30 days!

    Has anyone had similar trouble with 3. Secondly I am a 3 employee and as an employee I was not made aware of any such limitations when canceling the contract. Fair enough when your contract term has finished you then have to give 30 days notice of cancellation but does this apply when they have changed the terms and conditions of the contract??? 3 have done this so many time in the past. Changing the goal posts of the contract and let their customers taken the brunt of it. The complaints and problems are directed towards the sales advisers in store, 3 are just as bad at communicating with their employees as they are with their customers!

  28. Posted by Samantha Saunders June 23, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Hi,

    Ive been having terrible trouble with cancelling this contract. I’ve been calling for 5days and the average call time has been 45mins. In that time they try and talk me around, no matter how many times I tell them I’m not interested. They tried to say they sent the text on the 13th May, but I’ve kept it and it was sent on the 28th of May. They are stalling to get the the 30days by ending each call with a promise they will get my PAC code and call within 24hrs. This never happens. They have also tried to say I dont use the service much. What??? I’ve been to Australia 3times in 5mths adn called my partner daily from there. I travel to Dublin adn Italy a lot too! For each lie they’ve tried they’ve had to admit they were wrong, but they still keep stalling. My partner is having exactly the same problem. I’m livid with them.

    I’ve emailed Watchdog and suggest other people do the same. The more complaints there are the more chance of 3 getting a really hard time and us getting what we want/deserve.

  29. Posted by Samantha Saunders June 23, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Well, on the 6th day of calls I finally have the PAC code! They lied, they broke promises, they stalled all they could, but I got it. I have spent the whole day on the case so it’s lucky for me I’m on holidays, though I would prefer to be enjoying them more. What seemed to help was quoting their legal obligations, asking to speak directly to managers (very hard), telling them I’ve already emailed watchdog and generally being persistent. My partner went into a 3 store and managed to get transcripts of his calls which he will be taking to trading standards and watchdog. i itold 3 this as well.

    Good luck everyone and bring on the better phone companies!

  30. Posted by Simon June 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I hadn`t spotted the small print on the txt until I was going back through my phone today and saw it gave the right to cancel. I spoke to 3 earlier in the day to confirm if I did have the right to cancel and although initially told i had to do it by 17th of June was then told by the cancellation dept that I could still do it but only until the end of today. I thought about it and have made extensive use of the 3 like home service only last week in Italy and there are other aspects of 3`s service that have not been great (like not telling me until after upgrading my phone last year that the new contract would not start until the old one expired)

    I called again after making up my mind and after over an hour of heated conversation today I got a PUC code. The person I spoke to then kept trying to say i only had until 17th June to cancel but i kept pointing out that the txt i recieved gave no date other than 30th of June as the withdrawal of service and gave no date by which I had to cancel by and I had not cancelled before because I was still using the 3 like home service while away last week, he kept on and on about which operators gave a better service and I said its not upto me to justify my reasons for leaving, you are taking away a service i have used extenstively and therefore changing my contract giving me the right to leave. I also said why was I then told earlier today I could cancel by end of today so I asked him to speak to his supervisor.

    So although very frustrating just keep insisting you want to cancel!…

  31. Posted by Jackson July 1, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Well my 3 Broadband is now dead as a dodo and my number is being ported across to another operator as I write.

    I live in N.I and travel a lot to ROI so the Three like Home service was my only point in being with them. There was always the problem of network coverage in Ireland which must be the worst of any mobile company despite Three’s advertising and claims.

    Three have now sent out texts re a NEW Three Like Home service which only costs 10p if you are connected to their network but I resent paying to use the same network even as I have just driven over a border.

    Hopefully all mobile phone companies will start playing more fair in the future as the are mainly owned, conglomerate or intertwined with Eu sub companies so no real cross charging takes place.

  32. Posted by Robert July 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Reading this website last month (22/6) was the first I’d heard about 3′s withdrawal of the ‘like home’ service. So, shortly after, I sent 3 a letter, cancelling the contract because of this detrimental variation which they recieved before the end of June. My letter was greeted with silence so today, 16/7, I phoned their “customer service” number to verbally end the contract.

    As you can imagine, this didn’t go quite to plan. 3′s representative insisted that 3 had sent me several texts informing me of the change and I was now too late to terminate the contract. He did though concede that if I had phoned befor 19/6 I would have been able to cancel because the change is indeed a detrimental one. Unfortunately he continued to insist that I must have deleted the messages and would offer no further help. All the while he stated that 3 had substantial evidence that I had been sent the texts as well as asking what evidence I could provide to counter this. Of course, at this point I had only my word that I had not deleted the texts.

    I persisted for a while, then I asked for a letter confirming the situation had reached a deadlock so I could refer the problem to OFCOM. This was refused with the representative insisting further internal steps could be taken. One of which he mentioned was the examination of my SIM to determine if I had deleted, or indeed received the texts. BINGO!

    I’m now in the process of arranging an independent data recovery specialist to examine my SIM and phone which will provide me with a certificate, and evidence,’t recieve any texts from 3.

    I’m sad that I’ve wasted, and will continue to do so, time on this matter but hopefully soon 3 will finally comply with the terms of the agreement.

    Has anybody else had to go through the same process? If so, to what outcome?

  33. Posted by 3hater July 17, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    im not sure if i recieved the text but i said to 3 i have because i read about cancelling the contract i only found out about it today and for the last 3 hours i’ve been on the phone to them…they offered to reduce my contract form £20 a month to £15 but i said no i just want to cancel.

    when i was finally on the phone to manager he HUNG UP ON ME!!! THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE ALSO! i rang back and am now waiting for the manager to ring me within the next 4 to 5 hours WHAT A JOKE!!!

    im cancelling my direct debit im going to stop using the sim rip up there bill letters if they TAKE ME COURT SO BE IT!!! THEY HAVE A FIGHT ON THERE HANDS!!!

    BRING IT ON!

  34. Posted by Malcolm Goode July 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I have a dongle on PayG and have just contacted three about the loss of the 3 Like Home service because I regularly use it in Hong Kong. Actually, it’s not as bad as I first thought. Three inform me that in any on the countries that the 3 Like Home service worked, you can buy a Three SIM locally in that country and the modem will still work and on local rates in that country. A SIM in Hong Kong is dirt cheap so that is no problem to me. Plus, if you were roaming in non Like Home countries, your roaming rates will now be cheaper.

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  36. Posted by Mr Livingston July 31, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I wasnt aware of Three cancelling ’3 Like home’ until i got my phone ball and it was sky high.

    Then i rang Three and said i could cancel but I have to pay a cancellation fee. But I was aware of ‘Three Like home’ being cancelled as i never recieved the text, their customer service is terrible! all asian people, cant understand half of what they say

  37. Posted by Roy Greenwood August 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I have a 3 dongle on a 12 month contract which expires early September 2009. I have recently upgraded to a 24 month contract, (BT can’t supply Broadband so I use 3 because their mast is nearest my property). I have used 3 likehome in OZ last year. The first I heard about it’s withdrawal was in a 3 shop last week – I had no other indication fro 3 that it had been withdrawn – where does it leave me?

  38. Posted by gareth dunn August 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    phoned 3 about the fact that there terms and conditions have changed and the fact i never got the message on my phone to inform me of the change ( 3 like home ) customer services said that i had been sent the message about the changes which i didnt and i have 2 phones which i signed for at the same time and not one message on any of them….with a little arguing over the phone to this idiot i was passed to a manager ( after being on hold for 25 mins)who was a bigger liar than the last person…but then i was told i never got the message as i have never used the service as yet ,even though i was going to use it when on holiday but cant now as it will cost more money with the changes so who is telling the truth ( customer services said got the message then the manager said i didnt )(big con)….the manager then said as it was passed the 30 day period i could cancel my contract but they wanted me to buy my contract out….they then told me if i want to use my mobile abroad i should by another sim card in the country that i will be travelling or use another family members phone…lol, this company is a big con and i will advise anyone who takes a contract with this company to be very carefull as they dont care about the customer, they just want to fob people off and take there money. ( was actually on the phone for 2 hours 35 mins and still no further forward. beware….).

  39. I just wanted to tell you what i have noticed…

    I am an english guy living in austria, both of my phones are from 3, one english, and one austrian. Since the english one has cancelled 3 like home, it costs me and my friends a fortune to keep in touch, but the austrian phone — 3 HERE STILL OPENLY PROMOTE 3 LIKE HOME!!!!! It seems just the uk (and maybe ireland too?) have cancelled the service, 3 AT hasnt.

    Its not fair!

  40. Posted by scott September 3, 2009 at 8:02 am

    I know this is realy late but where do i stand if i was not informed about the change??

    I am due to travel for a long period of time and the major reason i renewed my contract 6 months ago was the service 3 like home.

    Do you think i have a leg to stand on or any advice please reply.

    Thanks

  41. Posted by Lincoln October 19, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Do not ever under any circumstances contemplate signing up to 3.

    I have never experienced such appalling customer service. It’s not just isolated incidents with its poor trained call centre but it’s also its ruthless head office in the UK. As for disguising a key contractual change in a text message, amongst their usual junk text messages, that is simply unethical.

    Stay away from 3. You were warned.

  42. Posted by Andy October 20, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Here’s a new way to get out of three – it took me 40 mins on the phone but I got there eventually.

    I told them that my phone doesn’t work at home and told them I wanted to end the contract because they were incapable of delivering their service to me. I also told them that T-Mobile and Vodafone both work perfectly well at home. When they checked my postcode, they confirmed they don’t have any service there and after a further 15 minutes of trying to talk me out of it, I had a PAC code.

    Three sucks!

  43. Posted by Sam April 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    3 like home what a joke

    A year ago my calls home from Australia were free but the change to the contract ment for a month they charged me £2 a minute. Did I receive the text message to inform me …eeerrrr no.. 3G are so bad to their customers…they have my address why didn’t they inform me. They just told me that I may not have got it as I was out of the country….not their problem.

    After a year fighting with Otelo they have given me a final decision of £100 off my £750 bill, I feel so sqashed by 3G so unfair. i was a good loyal customer and they have treated me so badely. I have to accept this by Friday or I get nothing… I have no where to go.. but pay it :-(

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  46. Posted by Pawel November 24, 2010 at 1:19 am

    all those who live in NI and travel south a lot – three ireland still has this offer (works in the UK(!) – apparently you may need to wait three months to be ‘cleared for international roaming’ but I suppose you can get that earlier).

    This should be particularly useful for people with dongles, as they shouldn’t see a difference except for the price paid in Euros rather than pounds.

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