An open letter to Three's Head of Credit & Collections

24 February 2010

Dear Mister Elliot,

Can I call you Mike? No? Now Mike, your role is Head of Credit and Collections at 3, so you may think this letter doesn't matter to you. It does. Keep reading.

Here's the deal. If Three is to continue providing customer support via email through the Three website, then at the very least Customer Services should acknowledge any emails they receive and deal with any issues. That's what customer support is.

Specifically, if Three is going to offer email as a legitimate way of contact for issues such as contract cancellation - as stated in Three's terms and conditions - then once more, Customer Services need to read the emails and act on them, not ignore them and deny all knowledge of their existence. If an operator asks a customer to re-send the email, then somebody really should reply. Really.

(By the way, in all our collective time of working on Bitterwallet, none of us have ever seen a more impenetrable set of terms and conditions offered by any business - a two page PDF document featuring over two dozen pages from a booklet. Staggering.)

Mike, these issues are not strictly your concern, but given how the failure of Customer Services must provide plenty of business for you, I thought I'd let you know. What is relevant to you, Mike, is this:

If Three is going to attempt to contact a customer during daytime hours, then failure of the customer to respond to a phone message your operator left with an 8 year-old child is not really an excuse to push an account to a collection agency.

And when a customer responds to the letter you signed, by sending a letter recorded delivery, one that contains all the correspondence they sent to Three by email in the past two months, have the decency to have a note put on their account. If you're going to threaten people with adverse credit ratings, act when they attempt to put things right.

There are probably many reasons why Three has such a poor share of the mobile market. Treating customers like dogshit, even if they don't want to give your their custom anymore, really can't be helping matters. You're putting your name on these letters, Mike. Do something about it.



PS - for the love of Christ, change the scripts you dish out to your call centre staff. Asking the customer "is there anything else I can help you with?" when the operator called them to threaten them for non-payment - I've gotta be honest, Mike, it's taking the piss.

TOPICS:   Consumer Advice


  • Mile E.
  • sin
    too funny! lollllllllllll
  • Andrew R.
    What's an 8 year old doing at home alone, Paul?! :)
  • Andrew R.
    Was it Kevin McAllister?
  • Mike E.
    Is there anything else I can help you with Paul?
  • Stu
    What's worse is I filled a form out and it said "How would you like to be contacted?" My answer: Email. So how did they contact me? Yes. they called my home phone first, then tried my work number. And they seemed really surprised when I had a go at the operator and asked him to email me. Which if course he didn't.
  • sb
    I've never had any problems with 3. Mostly because I'm not a complete moron and used the good olde interweb to find that people think there out-sourced customer service is nothing but dog shite! So I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.
  • The L.
    Hear Hear. 3 are the WORST company I have ever dealt with. The reception was so bad (a mere 3 miles out of Oxford + at my workplace a mere 1 mile from the city centre)) I missed 8 out of 10 calls yet STILL they would not release from my contract and denied all knowledge of a CSM or anyone in the company remotely accountable to the customers. I even badgered BBC Watchdog to start a campaign to ban all mobile companies from holding customers to contracts who receive unacceptable or NO coverage and started an online petition here, which you are welcome to sign. Best of British is all I can say. Incidentally I found out that their Indian call centre staff ar e only on 6 week contracts and are treated like cr*p themselves, so evidently indian call centres are not just about paying less wages, but flouting all decent employment laws they would be bound to here. I was always polite to them and acknowledged that they had no power to deviate from their scripts as I didn't want them to lose their shitty jobs and possibly starve, despite my mobile problems.
  • The L.
    PS: I hope you didn't e-mail them that letter! Re SB's message, my internet research before joining 3 revealed that NO mobile phone company was beyond reproach and bad review, though yes, if you google nowadays, you will find that 3 attracts more criticism than most and I advise everyone I know not to touch 3 with a bargepole and do their research re the rest.
  • Tom P.
    So, what happened? Did you bounce a DD?
  • Mark P.
    @The Poet Laura-eate Yup, exactly. Pretty much all telcos are rubbish to some degree.
  • Dunfyboy
    I've asks the wanks at T Mobile to contact me by email so I've got a written record, what with them being lying scum. Anyway, whenever they try to get in touch it's always the same routine: they phone my mobile (which I ignore), then my house (which I also ignore), they then text my mobile to say they'll be phoning soon and when I ignore that call, they finally send an email. I must commend them for employing the mentally retarded, but surely their quota must be full now.
  • The B.
    You know what? Orange used to be a decent mobile network, seriously, they did, it was owned and run by Hutchison, whoo were darned good. Then came the 3G licensing thingy and Hutchison sold Orange to buy a license and start 3, two things happened at that point. 1) Orange went to shit. 2) 3 started off shit and never improved. The moral of the story is, never start a story that you don't have a real ending to.
  • Robin
    I was thinking of going with a 3 sim-only contract. Think I'll stick with Vodafone as their customer service is pretty good, though minutes/texts-wise their deals aren't quite as good.
    Hi Paul - exactly the same problems here with my 3 broadband. It would only work intermittently so despite 3 very lengthy calls to India (all of which were put on hold and lost) I emailed them to say I would close the account via their website.. I cancelled the direct debit thinking they would then HAVE to actually deal with me. Silly. I then got another continuation bill with no sign of close of contract. I rang them up in India for another set of calls amounting to 45 (at 5p a minute - I think they're told to keep you waiting - and they certainly try to thwart any resolution). The last guy, Rohan or somesuch, finally spoke to his boss (or at least said he did) and said I CAN close the account - that was good of them, and they'd done a check and seen I'd not used it since I said I'd cancelled it. However they had no record of my request. I then paid them my outstanding amount over the phone after finally getting 2 more bills and being on the phone to India for a total of 45 minutes - they finally 'sorted' my close of contract after I ended up screaming at them. I was told to 'trust' Rohan (he refused me his surname) that my account was closed and all paid up and I was told to 'ignore' any further paper bill - yea right! I then just discovered the idiots have now blasted my credit rating for £9.00 - I was just refused a mortgage renewal and risk either being made homeless or costing masses for a more expensive mortgage. I written 3 letters to all the UK addresses I can find. AND NOW GUESS WHAT - I've just got a bill for £19.00 YET AGAIN - what the hell are they on at 3. How the hell do you get any sense out of anyone. I rue the day I ever came across them - I've worked for years for the police - can you imagine what would happen if the Police behaved in this reprehensible manner - I have no idea how 3 get away with it. I need to speak to someone in the UK - but they are so well squirreled away - what can anyone do - Is it worth going to OFFCOM?
  • Derek M.
    I tried to cancel my contract with these schiesters via phone, it was not actioned as I had given MORE than 30 days notice. The e-mail,which WAS sent 30 days prior to my contract ending, was not actioned as, according to three, 'We were not sure it was you who sent the e-mail'. Even though I have since confirmed that I sent it, apparently they cannot now action it and I need to give another 30 days notice. Look Three, the onus is on me to give you notice, I done that, I don't care if you believe that I am me, I have fulfilled my obligation, now how about you doing the same? Your internal processes have caused me to raise a complaint with your ombudsman. Still, it doesn't stop the collections department phoning me EVERY DAY,which is bloody annoying as I have a newborn in the house but is also perplexing as the first question they ask is for me to confirm my password, when I state that I do not give out passwords over the phone they state they cannot talk to me..... Like I care! I don't want them to talk to me! I have no relationship with this company any more! And as for Mike Elliot..... I sent him a letter and got an infuriating standard response from some idiot who did not read my letter.
  • james p.
    anyone that is intrested the call center says there is no phone number for the registerd office star house 20 grenfell road maidenhead berkshire the number is 01628 765000 but if you ask to speak to mike elliot in person they put you throu to a call center in india keep calling above number and keep calling he cant hide forever
  • Julie G.
    I have just sent a complaint by email to the CEO David Dyson, his email address is [email protected]

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