Do the changes to 3's international tariffs mean you can cancel?
We told you yesterday about 3 scrapping its 3 Like Home service, which allows you to use your 3 mobile or broadband in several countries abroad without additional roaming charges. As was pointed out by ourselves and other readers, 3's justification had more than a whiff of horse manure about it.
However, one reader asked if the change would be enough to force 3 into allowing customers to cancel their contracts early, because of "detrimental changes" to the terms and conditions. All mobile phone contracts have similar wording in them, to the effect that if they want to raise prices or make changes that will have a "detrimental" affect your contract, they a) have to tell you in advance, and b) give you the option to cancel without penalty.
4.1 If you are a Pay Monthly Customer, we will let you know at least one month in advance if we decide to... make any variations to your agreement which are likely to be of detriment to you
10.1(d) You can end the agreement within one month of us telling you about a variation to your agreement (which includes your Price Plan) which is likely to be of detriment to you. You must give written notice to 3 Customer Services within that month and your agreement will finish at the end of that month once we receive your notice. (A Cancellation Fee will not be charged.)
However, 4.1 also says:
Subject to the above, you will not be able to end the agreement if such variation or increase... relates solely to Additional Services
So the question is, is 3 Like Home an "additional service"? 3 will no doubt argue it is, because they don't want you going anywhere. We'd disagree, for three reasons:
- if you make regular use of 3 Like Home, there will be no way to receive the same service without your bill increasingly significantly
- like other aspects of your contract, you don't pay extra for 3 Like Home (on top of your monthly contracted rate) yet it can have a dramatic effect on your billing - it's an inclusive service rather than an additional one
- if you read through the terms and conditions for 3 Like Home, there's no mention of it being a service in addition to your contract; indeed, the text states that this service is entirely dependent on your minutes and SMS allowance - again, it's inclusive rather than additional
In other words 3 Like Home isn't an add-on, because if the terms of those additional services are changed, you can choose not to receive their service and simply stop paying for them. Additional services are those you opt-in to, whereas 3 Like Home is already part of the service to begin with.
If you travel abroad to any of the countries covered by 3 Like Home, and you use the service on a regular basis (several times a year, perhaps once a quarter) then we think you have a case for cancelling your contract, because the change can be proved to be detrimental to you, and one that will cost you.
If you do square up to 3's notrious customer services, remember to tell us how it goes.