Posts Tagged ‘mobile phone’
There’s nothing quite like social media and ‘the blogosphere’ when it comes to escalating a grievance against a large corporation. Natalie Guest has whipped up a storm against T-Mobile over the past few hours, thanks to her tale of woe about the enormous mobile provider.
It’s all to do with the small matter of her being charged £522.66 instead of the usual monthly £20 for her T-Mobile contract phone. As Natalie said in her email to T-Mobile on August 6th…
“After some investigation via my online billing account, it looks like there has been some form of technical/network error. I went to Germany for 3 days last month (being careful to turn off all data roaming and mobile internet services), and whilst I was there sent a text to my friend Christian, as he used to live in Munich.
For some reason this same text got replicated and sent to him thousands of times. I had no notification of this on my phone – they didn’t appear in my ‘sent’ box – but he did receive the same text multiple times. Thinking it was an issue at his end, he contacted his provider – O2 – who thought it was probably a problem with his handset.”
When Natalie brought the textual oddness to the attention of T-Mobile, they said that they would investigate it but couldn’t guarantee a refund and would text her within five working days. As she told T-Mobile…
“…obviously, this was a technical glitch – whether that was one to do with your network or the German network. It wouldn’t be physically possible for me to send the same text 6 times a minute for 3 days without sleeping, even if I had any discernible reason to want to do this. I’ve attached a screenshot (below) so you can see the sort of thing I’m talking about.”
Ten days have gone by and Natalie still hasn’t heard anything back from T-Mobile. In fact she has cancelled her direct debit so that the huge, disputed sum isn’t paid out of her bank account. But, there is SOME communication from them – instead of a resolution of her situation, she says that she is being plagued by…
“• Daily automated texts from T-Mobile asking me to pay my outstanding bill, in order to avoid an interruption in services.
• Daily calls from TMobile asking me to pay my bill, from people with no knowledge of the issue. Upon asking them to read through my notes, they say the issue is being “investigated”. I ask them to please stop phoning until some progress has been made, or to put a note on my file asking people not to phone me. They claim that this is impossible as “calls are automated”. I ask whether I’m going to be cut off. They say “not until the 31st, and it should be dealt with by then”. I have absolutely zero confidence that the issue will be dealt with by then.
• Frequent missed calls (I’ve been in theatres a lot over the past week, so haven’t always been able to pick up) which, once I ring back (which I do, in case the issue has actually been resolved), put me straight back into the TMobile automated service and ask me to press 1 or 2 or whatever. Once I get through to someone, they have no idea what the previous call was about.
• Frequent (although not quite daily) calls from TMobile telling me I’m a “loyal customer” and so am eligible for some sort of deal.
• Frequent (although not quite daily) texts from TMobile asking me to rate how I felt my customer service was today. FYI, my ratings are very low at the moment, which I presume is what is triggering the “loyal customer” phone calls.”
But nothing regarding the huge bill that Natalie says has been run up in her name in error. Natalie’s blog has been all over Twitter and Facebook today, and it’ll be interesting to see if the blanket of negative publicity for T-Mobile will make them pull their finger out and sort this thing out. We’ll be watching and will keep you informed…
EDIT: As Natalie says in the comments below… “Just had a phonecall from a very lovely and helpful lady called Jacqueline, to tell me that they’ve removed all of the charges for the month & reinstated my account.” HOORAY!
Most of us are far too wordly wise to ever sign up to a spam texting service. No matter what the dating knowledge, psychic insight or genitalia-enlargement offered, the cost of the service is almost certainly going to outweigh the benefit. Even if that service were free. However, a UK mobile phone user has just discovered that he could sign up anyone he liked to one of these services, after finding fraudulent charges on his bill.
Consultant Mark Hole found charges for a fortune-telling service on the mobile phone bill of his business mobile. Certain he had not bandied around his mobile number in places spamsters could get hold of it, he complained to his service provider, Orange, who shrugged and said he must have signed up and to naff off (or words to that effect). Mr Hole also complained to Buongiorno, the “content maker” behind the iFortune service he was getting without asking.
However, Mr Hole was not your average mug, and decided to investigate how his number had been signed up for the service. Using a Firefox add-on that pretended his computer was an iPhone, Mr Hole found that he could sign up absolutely anyone for premium rate services from content maker Buongiorno with just their mobile phone number and knowing if they were on the Orange network. He went on to demonstrate this by signing up a BBC reporter for the fortune telling service.
Buongiorno described Mr Hole’s investigations as a “bug” and assured the BBC that once they “found out” about it, they “very quickly moved to pin it down, find out what happened and stop it from happening again.”
Gareth Maclachlan, head of mobile security firm Adaptive Mobile, told the BBC that Buongiorno was not doing a good enough job of checking which net addresses were making sign-up requests. “There’s a potentially criminal opportunity here,” he said, describing how hi-tech thieves could set up a fake premium rate service, sign people up and then sit back and wait for cash to roll in.
Information about Mr Hole’s findings have been circulated to the GSMA security working group to ensure other operators are aware of the loophole. Buongiorno are convinced the impact of this “loophole” was minimal, but given that Mr Hole’s situation suggests the window was open for at least 14 days, it remains to be seen if other mobile phone users have fallen foul to the same or a similar scheme. So get checking your bills now- and if you find anything, please let us know.
Virgin Atlantic might have thought they were being all smart and clever last week when they announced that they’ll soon be allowing passengers to use their mobile phones during flights, but those that take them up on the offer will find themselves shunned by their fellow travellers.
A poll, carried out by flight comparison website Skyscanner, suggests that 86% of us would object to passengers making voice calls during flights on the premise that “it’s annoying to listen to other people’s conversations”. And let’s face it, the majority of in-flight calls are going to begin with ‘Hey, you’ll never guess where I am. I’m ON A PLANE!’. Urgh.
Almost half of those polled said that they would use the in-flight mobile service, but only to send texts (that would presumably read ‘Hey, you’ll never guess where I am. I’m ON A PLANE! LOL’ Urgh). Only six per cent said that they would make or receive voice calls. Yes, they’re saying that now….
Virgin will launch the service on flights between London and New York, but wants to make it available on at least nine more routes before the end of the year. It’ll cost approximately £1.00 a minute to make voice calls, while text messages will cost 20 pence a pop.
Santa Claus has long since been and gone but spare a thought for Space Dog, who presumably is still languishing up there in the heavens, waiting patiently for the gift-laden old man to zoom by again in nine months’ time. Or at least that’s the story if this Japanese mobile phone ad is to be believed.
Most of us have been able to have a good look at Venus and Jupiter in the night sky over the past couple of weeks but have you spotted Space Dog? If you do, wink and say hello, eh? He’ll like that.
Never mind those 1980s ‘brick’ mobile phones – here’s THE real pioneering piece of mobile technology, from the 1920s.
It’s one step up from the yoghurt-pots-attached-with-string concept. A man called W. W. Macfarlane used to have his chauffeur drive him around with this thing in his car, while he spoke to his wife – as long as she was within a range of 500 yards. Way funnier than Dom Joly as well.
Imagine you’re having a bad day. You spill tea down your shirt, tread in dog shit on the way to missing your train and to top it all, your mobile is lifted from your pocket while you struggle to keep upright during a standing room only trip into work. Your day can only get better, right?
Well, to add insult to injury, when your mobile phone is stolen, any calls made between the light-fingeredness and the resulting discovery, frantic searching and eventual reporting of the crime to the police and phone company are charged to your mobile phone account at full rate.
What this means is that not only have you been robbed, you get robbed by the phone companies who are not merely passing on their costs to you (after all, you wouldn’t expect them to be out of pocket, would you?), but who are making a profit out of your misery. Literally. Given that Which! suggest nearly 6m people in Britain have had their mobile phones stolen in the past five years, that’s a nice little earner for the mobile providers.
Well, this disgruntling situation has gone so far as to fire up some particularly ranty MPs who entered an Early Day Motion (EDM). The motion, which was read out in the House of Commons, said that mobile operators should charge customers the wholesale rate for calls made after phones are stolen, rather than the “much higher” retail charges that they currently face until the theft is reported.
Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, told The Telegraph: “Mobile phone operators are raking it in. At the moment mobile phone tariffs are competitive, and the way [operators] are compensating is by using theft like a stealth tax. First of all they charge rip-off insurance – often £10 to £15 a month – and then, when the phone is nicked, they charge for the calls made. They shouldn’t be stealth taxing consumers in this way.”
However, mobile operators have, unsurprisingly, suggested they would resist the proposed shift to wholesale charges because it would be open to abuse by customers who claim their phones have been stolen if they incur a particularly large bill, or who might be tempted to backdate a real theft.
“We see from the amount of mobiles that get ‘stolen’ whenever a new iPhone comes on the market that customers are not always very honest,” said a very senior executive at one of the major providers.
However Mr Halfon pooh-poohed the idea, suggesting a requirement to obtain a crime number would prevent such high jinks, “very few customers are going to lie to the police, and the police don’t give out crime references willy-nilly.”
So can we expect to see the phone companies being landed with some hefty legislation anytime soon? Er, no. Probably not.
You see an Early Day Motion is a formal motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated in the House of Commons, and they are largely used as the parliamentary equivalent of a press release. Good for making lots of noise, but not so good for forcing a change in law. Unless the public really jump on the bandwagon of course.
But even if it garners loads of support within the House, an EDM is not likely to be debated, and Ministers, Whips, Private Secretaries and the Speaker (and deputies), the important people who decide these things, will not normally sign EDMs.
The EDM that received the most signatures this session was one expressing the importance of community pubs, at 275 signatures, beating Zac Goldsmith and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s fish fight into second place with 249.
The lost mobile phone EDM got 22 signatures, so if you feel strongly about it, you may have to go and disrupt people’s weddings and church services before anything will actually be done about it. Or you could just grumble a lot. Or keep your mobile inside a loaded mousetrap. Or something.
It must be nice to be a Eurocrat, making changes to people’s everyday lives and then watching what happens. Last year’s EU agreement to reform mobile contracts has just come into force in the UK, bringing both benefits and costs for consumers.
The reforms centred on the length of mobile phone contract- the new rules effective from 1 May 2011 mean that contracts cannot exceed 24 months and that providers have to offer 12 month contract products, as well as demanding mobile operators keep their customers informed of available tariffs, their usage patterns, and be notified if their monthly bill exceeds a set threshold.
Back in 2005, 12 month contracts represented nearly 90 percent of new mobile connections, but by the middle of 2010, that figure had shrunk to a measly seven percent, as recession-hit networks attempted to entice customers into longer deals to keep them loyal.
Now, research by comparison site U-Switch shows that the number of 12 month deals available has rocketed from just 279 in February this year to 4,765 last week. As you might expect, however, the outlawing of 36 month contracts has meant that 3,300 products have necessarily been removed from the market.
While the abundance of shorter contract products is likely to be attractive to those looking to upgrade their phone on a more frequent basis, the sting in the tail is likely to hit the smartphone market hardest- where providers previously offered phones for free with a longer contract, customers may now find themselves having to shell out cash to buy the phone upfront.
And that is the other bit of bad news, before the new rules came in, the cheapest monthly mobile deal could be snapped up for a measly £5 per month with Orange on 30 April. Now, the cheapest deal is with Three, and while still less than a tenner at £9 a month (for a 24 month contract), that represents a whopping 80% price increase in the space of a few days.
So what do you think? Are the EU meddling where no meddling is required and should customers have the right to choose longer (and cheaper) contracts if it suits them? Or is this a valuable consumer protection measure?
Get into the crash position and brace yourself for a hell of a collision – that’s because we’re about to plough straight into an enormous pile of bargains. But don’t worry – we’ll all survive and be bigger and stronger for it afterwards.
That pile of bargains is slap bang in the middle of HotUKDeals HQ – feel free to crawl from the wreckage and have a mooch around afterwards…
The pre-summer summer we’ve been enjoying looks certain to be with us FOREVER, so it’s arguably time to invest in a new barbecue. An emergency one that you can wander around with and erect whenever the fancy takes you. Yes, erect.
Try this for size. It’s a notebook portable barbecue that folds down and can be carried around as if it’s a laptop computer or a tiny pasting table. Yours for only £13.33 although there seems to be some kind of suggestion that it could be as little as £3.33. Just make sure you give it a wipe afterwards before you wander off with it under your arm.
Once you’ve taken delivery of your new, novelty, portable meat-grilling sensation, you’ll be desperate to ring your mates up and tell them all about it. if you’re an idiot, you might also want to invite them round to have a go on it.
Save money on those phone calls by getting a 3 SIM-only mobile deal with 300 mins, 3000 texts and 1GB of internet for £10 per month on a 12 month contract. You could also be entitled to £54.54 cashback, which could bring the price to £5.45 per month. Bargain.
If you are stupid enough to invite a bunch of people round to gawp at your modern, marvellous foldaway barbecue, you’d better take some photos of the event. Some of them are bound to fall over or break stuff, and the photos could be essential pieces of evidence when it comes to you taking civil action against them.
Get those photos printed out for next to nothing with this deal – it’s for 100 free 6×4 prints and a free compact CEWE photobook. You’ll even get a free £10 voucher against future photo purchases. All you pay is postage and packing. You’ll end up regretting it though. All of it…
(deals found by HUKD members michaeln, srh007 and lakmii)
Wave your hand thankfully in the direction of HotUKDeals – they’re the ones who came up with it all…
If you’re fifty feet under the ground, hammering out consumer news and other vaguely-related bollocks all day long, you might need an alternative to the sun. Try this – a set of Philips Imageo rechargeable LED candles. They’re only £14.97.
Next, the chance to get a fiver knocked off your supermarket shopping bill – assuming that your shopping bill is higher than £40 and that the supermarket you shop at is Morrisons (although we’re led to believe that Tescos will also accept the voucher in question.)
Get over to HotUKDeals to find out more about the complicated series of tasks that you will have to undertake in order to get yourself a portion of this deal. It’s nothing simple like cutting a coupon out a national newspaper – oh no. And don’t forget about the special offers that are on at Morrisons this week – we mentioned them earlier today.
Finally, a neat little mobile phone offer, because, well, you know, we can never have too many mobile phones now can we? This one is a T-Mobile Pulse and it has a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen as well as loads of other stuff that you can only dare to dream of.
But what of the price? Well, it’s a mere £109.99. Amazed aren’t you? You’ve dropped your current phone on the floor in shock, smashing it to bits and making this even more of a must-buy. Plus there’s £10 of credit included and the chance to get £10 cashback on the deal. Sweet potatoes!
(deals found by HUKD members nicster08, wesa14 and robot1000)
As we revealed at 9am, Apple are exploring the idea that an iPhone could theoretically replace your old-fashioned set of keys.
Well, now it’s 9.30am and that idea seems like so much tired old hat, thanks to Microsoft and a man called Chris Harrison. Harrison made over 300 appearances for Plymouth Argyle during the 1970s and 1980s* but now, as this video shows, he is an electronic pioneer.
He’s the man that will help us to control our mobile phones, entertainment devices and game-playing gizmos using our… OWN SKIN!
As this video demonstrates, tapping the skin on different parts of your arm creates a series of different sounds. When those sounds are picked up by a gadget that straps on to your arm, they are then translated into instructions that will control your phone or mp3 player or help you become a Tetris champion. Cleverly, they’re calling it ‘Skinput.’
Some questions arise. How do the menus appear on your arm? We don’t know – probably lasers. What do you do if you live in a freezing cold country like Britain? We don’t know – but we’re sure that the boffins will find a way around that. If you exercise your forearm and make it bigger and stronger, will that make your mp3 player have a larger capacity? No, don’t be so ridiculous.
It’s early on a Monday morning and Bitterwallet has already given you a vision of the future on a plate. Now stop scratching your arse and go and get some work done so we can all get there quicker.
*Possibly not the same Chris Harrison.
You know that bit on aeroplanes where they insist that you switch off your mobile phone before take off? The bit that has us all sullenly muttering: ‘Bugger off; what harm can it REALLY do? All that stuff about interfering with the controls is just a big bunch of old bollocks…’
Well the airlines must be perpetuating the most elaborate lie on the planet then. Turns out there could be something in it after all. Because if a switched-on mobile got lost on a plane, an airline wouldn’t bother to dismantle part of said plane in order to get it back if it wasn’t important, would they?
Hmm… well that’s precisely what Jet2 staff did recently when a passenger dropped their phone into an air vent ahead of take off on a Newcastle-bound flight from Murcia. The cockpit area and front row of seats were pulled apart, leading to a three-hour delay while the phone was retrieved and turned off, in case it interfered with the plane’s control and diverted the metal sky bird straight into the heart of the sun.
Of course, we assume they would have done the same thing for the passenger who had lost their phone when it had already been switched off. They would, wouldn’t they?
Later, a Jet2 spokesdroid did an apology and said something about safety before reiterating some stuff about mobile phones on planes. Just once, we’d love it if they communicated with us with sock puppets or via an ancient and outmoded form of Chinese folk dance. They never do though. They never, ever do.
Never mind all the fuss about which mobile phone provider has the best 3G coverage or which one you can weasel your way out of your contract with easiest – there’s only one thing we can all agree on when it comes to mobiles.
If you suddenly find that you’re a character in a crappy Hollywood movie, you’d better hope you don’t end up in any kind of trouble, because it’s an odds-on certainty that your mobile will pack up just when you need it.
That universal truth has been highlighted in this montage from various crappy Hollywood movies where the characters discover that their phones won’t work properly just when they need them the most. There are a few other mobile mishaps in there as well, proving that we might as well give up on the mobile and go back to using smoke signals or Lassie to help us out whenever we’re in the shit.
If you read this site or its bigger brother HotUKDeals, chances are you’re a bit of a… hmm, how can we phrase this… a penny-pincher. A tightwad. Tighter than a gnat’s chuff even. A miserly skinflint. A coin-grabbing wretch.
Sounds like you? Of course. You might get some handy tips from these Australian ads for the Comtel mobile phone network then. Send us pictures of you carrying them out in real life and we might even send you a prize.
You should have worked out that we’re too tight for prizes… unless it’s for the BITTERWALLET ENORMOUS HUGE GIANT PRIZE GIVEAWAY DRAW… WHICH ENDS TONIGHT!!!
UPDATE: Orange has now scrapped the ToS change following consumer upset and cancellations. Read full update and official statement here.
As promised, an update on our requests for statements from both Orange and Ofcom. So far, the service provider have told us they are “looking into it”, but the regulator has been in touch. All of you who commented that Orange representatives told you Ofcom had approved the changes to their Terms of Service? That appears to have been a bare-faced lie. This is what an Ofcom spokesperson told Bitterwallet this afternoon:
I’ve looked into this and can confirm that Ofcom hasn’t approved any changes that Orange has made to its prices. We are in fact now talking to Orange to stop their customer service advisors from telling that to consumers.
This is where we are on it. General Condition 9.3 is one of the rules that all communications providers have to adhere to. Orange can charge for 087 numbers but if it makes changes to customers’ contracts it has to comply with GC9.3 which says:
GC 9.3 Where the Communications Provider intends to modify a condition in a contract with a Consumer which is likely to be of material detriment to the Consumer, the Communications Provider shall:
(a) provide the Consumer with at least one month’s notice of its intention detailing the proposed modification; and
(b) inform the Consumer of the ability to terminate the contract without penalty if the proposed modification is not acceptable to the Consumer.
Ofcom has not made any ruling on whether the current alteration to the charges are of material detriment, such a determination would be the result of an investigation.
We’re monitoring the complaints we’re receiving at the moment to decide whether to open an investigation into this. In the mean time, if a consumer wants to terminate their contract and are unable to, we advise them to follow the usual complaints procedure. This is set out in this booklet here: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/advice/guides/complain.pdf.
UPDATE 12/08: Orange has now scrapped the ToS change following consumer upset and cancellations. Read full update and official statement here.
Over the last fortnight we’ve explained why you can cancel your Orange contract, and how to go about doing it. Armed with this information, Bitterwallet reader Scott phoned up to do just that. As you’ll hear, despite the Orange operator telling Scott the changes to their Terms of Service will directly affect him, he’s not allowed to cancel his monthly mobile contract until he receives a text (which… um… confirms he’s directly affected… again).
This means Orange are deliberately ignoring their own Terms of Service over how you receive information from them. Here’s what happened when Scott called:
As we’ve said, it seems are Orange are staggering the texts they send in order to deal with the demand to cancel. That said, cancellation is not dependent on receiving the text, as we explained in our trouble-shooting guide last week. If you signed a monthly contract before June (we don’t have an exact cut-off date) then you’re eligible to cancel, whether you receive a text or not. Read our trouble-shooting guide for all the information.
This is a brilliant effort by Scott, who keeps completely calm throughout – let’s see what happens in part two.