Do the changes to 3's international tariffs mean you can cancel?

15 May 2009

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.

Here's what your 3 contract has to say about detrimental changes:

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.

TOPICS:   Mobile   Broadband

54 comments

  • Tom
    Good advice, thanks! Im on 3 mobile and the 3 from home service was one reason why I decided to stay with them as I have family over in Denmark which is/was covered by this service. Think I may try writing a leeter to them then and quote some of the post above to see what their response will be, it may not work but its worth a try as this change (especially considering vodafone has just announced theyre dropping roaming charges for the summer) is a bit of a kick in the nuts. Shame really because up until now I have been really happy with 3 mobile, yes even when I have had to deal with their customer services (which I had to twice for when the phone they sent me initally was busted and when I wanted to active X-series internet), they are a foreign call center so not ideal but if you take your time and talk slowly I always found they were always keen to help .
  • David
    I phoned earlier today, then I was put through to the department that deals with this. After a 35 minute wait on hold someone eventually answered. Forget trying to get any joy doing this by phone. I have and did plan to use the 'like home' service (trips to Australia, Austria and Denmark) and all they wanted to give me was a £20 good will gesture. They've obviously trained the one employee they have that has a brain on this particular point and they won't shift. I'm not easily fobbed off and can stand my ground pretty well. But I wasted 1 hour and 10 minutes on this and eventually asked them to just give me my PAC code and I'd take them to the small claims court for the charges for leaving my contract 4 months early. It took over 15 minutes to get them to agree to that. I'm going to leave three now, if only because of the attitude of their staff today. I do have a few trips to Denmark planned and a few week stay for work and it's going to be a lot more expensive due to this. I'll pick up a pay as you go sim for vodafone for the three months until the networks sort out how they're going to charge roaming in the EU. I believe 3 will regret doing this as it was one of the main reasons a lot of people stuck with them.
  • Paul S.
    If they thought they were right, it'd be cut and dry. The fact that they're trying to fob you off with a "goodwill gesture" suggests it's not, and that they've given the matter some thought and are trying to fob people off.
  • antony w.
    Well I bought a dongle from 3 a few months ago, cost around £50. I checked that I could unlock it and the salesman said “yes, call customer service”. But I did, and I can’t. Then I asked if I could use it in Europe. It seems3 had a system called “3 Like Home” and in certain countries you can use the dongle with no roaming fees. Whoopee! But it didn’t work in Italy. I emailed the call center (India of course, polite but useless). After 4 months of emails and calls, I finally got a man that told me I needed to use a different APN for roaming! (its three.co.uk in case you need it). But now, here we go again with these guys - the pity is they have a good deal (£10/GB) and reasonable service here in Italy. But I will go to Greece soon and I called into the 3 shop in Banbury where I bought the dongle (£50 at the time). They told me 3 was stopping the service. I exploded as you might imagine - they said "3 has the right to change the contract at any time with one months notice", to which I replied, "OK you can change the service but that does not mean you don't have to pay compensation". I have written to their Customer Service and asked what they proposse to do. I will keep up the chase!
  • Paul S.
    Antony - that's brilliant if they're referring to it as a change of contract rather than an additional service - if that's the case and it will have a detrimental effect on your bill (which it sounds like it will) then you should have a pretty clear-cut case for cancelling your contract.
  • MikeBeaver
    Well, I am happy with the service from "3" the fact that this is being removed is a shame, although I was unaware of it anyway, Doh! Am on the phone now to see what I can get (upgrade, £20, whatever) and shall stick with them for a luittle longer, not like £10 a month is breaking the bank anyway :p Mike..
  • MikeBeaver
    Wow, managed to get a free tenner, tried haggling further but he was actually going to cancel the contract, lol. His final words were for me to never change price plan, even on "3" as he had never seen a mix n match 500 plan for sub £10 per month, ha ha ha ha. Thanks for the advice, 1 months free line rental for me now. Mike..
  • David Z.
    I rung them yesterday. It was a very painful 1 hour and 45 min conversation. I eventually managed to get the contract canceled free of charge (after being offered a good will gesture of £20. The telephone call was highly frustrating and they kept repeating a pre made statement. I explained that this service had been used before and I planned to use it again in July and due to the changes in the contract it would effect the cost of my bill dramatically. I had to be transfered to around 4-5 departments to eventually get my way. Id like to ask a question. I was required to give the 30 days notice on the contract experiry ? is this legal ? surely if they have changed and breeched the terms and agreements of their contract the 30 days notice shouldnt apply ?
  • Paul S.
    Hi David - the terms and conditions state if they make a detrimental change (which this is) you can give 30 days notice and end your contract for no fee. 30 days notice is very standard practise to end any mobile contract, so I don't think there's another battle to fight here.
  • David Z.
    ok, thanks for the reply :) thought it might be worth a try. how will the 30 days work. I get billed on the 10th , and my 30 days ends on the 18th ? if i fail to use my phone for the additional 8 days will any charges for those 8 days be voided ? Just a tip for people who have used the 3 like home service (even just the once) - explain that you have a holiday booked in July and the change will greatly effect your ability to call back home.
  • 3 B.
    [...] 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 [...]
  • David Z.
    Rock on :) Ive had it in for 3 ever since they told me to hold my laptop out of the window when my 3 mobile dongle failed to work.
  • Changes A.
    [...] Re: Changes in 3 contracts allow early cancelation without charges!!!! You need to tell them you recieved a text with a link which you followed and it said this at the bottom " Finally because of the 3 Like Home change, it's only fair that we point out your right to end your contract with us, without paying an early cancellation fee. However we very much hope it won't come to that because we still believe we offer great value rates and great coverage. " You will be on the phone for about an hour, but just tell them you've booked a trip to australia in JULY and this change will severly effect your bill as you was gonna use 3 like home to keep in contact with friends and family back in the UK. they will be a bit arsey and in denile at first but just be adimant and read up on the ins and outs in my initial link first. It will give you all the information you need. Just be firm, and tell them legally you have rights to cancel. theres more info here. Do the changes to 3’s international tariffs mean you can cancel? | BitterWallet [...]
  • Bill B.
    £10 goodwill gesture here - better than a kick up the arse. They weren't budging on it beyond that because we hadn't used 3 like Home in the past year. I couldn't be bothered to fight it further because its my girlfriends old account, she can't be bothered to deal with it, and I had to put on a squeaky voice to do it. Partial win.
  • Paul
    One thing that strange to me, I went to both 3.au and 3.ie and both report that 3 like home is a option, nothing shows that they are stopping the option... http://www.three.com.au/cms_contigency/personal/personal_global_3likehome.html http://www.three.ie/international/paymonthly.htm
  • jerome y.
    Thx for the advice re. stating you received the text. They did ask however when it was received but i forgot since i deleted it...so best not to quote word for word if you deleted it too! It worked for me and after being sent from dept to dept and spending only 20 mins in total, they cancelled for me. Again i have to give the 30 days notice which works out well since i'm in Hong Kong for the next month anyway. Now, to use up those precious free minutes...
  • Craig
    I went through the palaver of a 30min call to 3, as i will be moving to Ireland on July 1st. They offered £20 credit, i scoffed at this, they then cancelled the contract. I stated although i hadn't used 3 at home yet i would be doing within my contract period and therefore there was a detriment to me. i had 8 months remaining on my contract!
  • wayne
    Spent 45 mins onto some call centre, first being offered 1st £10 and then £20, and saying I am off to Austria next month, and finally I stated that the link stated in their text contains their wording saying that it's my right to cancel due to them ammending the contract, and they gave me my pac code after that. Basically state that you recieved a text, which takes you to a page that states "....because of the 3 Like Home change, it’s only fair that we point out your right to end your contract with us, without paying an early cancellation fee. However we very much hope it won’t come to that because we still believe we offer great value rates and great coverage..." and they WILL offer you early cancellation with no cancellation fees, as it is a legality that they do so. Otherwise, they would be in breach of contract for not upholding the previous statement, and they would get taken to the cleaners in a court.
  • Matt
    Was on the phone for about 40 minutes and they eventually cancelled my two contracts. Got offered the £20 credit, which is a joke! They then offered me 4000 international minutes per month. but I just wanted to cancel because I need to save the money!
  • Mick
    Cancelled today, to 57min of arguing, said I was moving to Ireland to work. Just took out a 2 year contract in march... got a N95 8gb for £30 all in because of this. I had to threaten legal action and tell them it was irrelevant whether or not I used 3 like home recently. First it was £20 discount but i refused to budge. Don't give in.
  • Jon
    Cancelled today after arguing for 49 minutes with their cancellations department. They insisted that they had never sent me a text to inform me that the service was being withdrawn (which they had, I still have it on my phone!) and tried to tell me that they would not be cancelling my contract. They also tried the line that I have only used the 3 Like Home service once in the past 12 months and therefore it would not be detrimental to me when they withdraw it. Stuck to my guns, eventually had to threaten legal action against them as they were breaking their own terms and conditions, which prompted about 5 minutes of hold music, then they came back and told me I'd receive my PAC code within the next 2 hours. Result!
  • cara
    cancelled today after 1 hour long session of tryin to win me back :) jus waitin on my PAC code to be sent thru woohoo! i was just wonderin does any1 no do i still have to give written confirmation that i have cancelled my contract even though they already know (obviously) lol! x
  • borat
    The notice have to be written so it is best to email them with www.three.co.uk/emailus. Even if Three is saying after 45mn of music and talk, that they are cancelling my contract, they didnt send any text or email or letter to confirm. Best to insist on getting a confirmation by letter/text msg
  • cara
    thanks :) havin more problems now tho GRRR they said my PAC code would be sent in 4 hours.. 24hours hours later im still waitin!!! iv called and theyv said there was a fault and my PAC code was not generated... so have to wait 24-48 hours :(
  • Richard
    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.
  • Richard
    PS - On what date was the announcement made ? Am I still within the 1 month (8 June) ??
  • squawkBOX
    I got mine on 18.05.2009 at 11.58
  • Ronan
    I spent 1 3/4 hours on the phone with customer services and got told to compare rates with competetors. I got the line that you can use Skype and instant messaging anywhere in the world which I've yet to confirm. That's supposed to be a reasonable replacement to phone calls and text messages. I now have to TRY OUT the services which I stated did not work in many areas (outside 3G area) and call them back. Richard, it depends when you were informed. I received my notification in late May. Recorded delivery is a good idea, that's what I did. Even though I'm letting them wriggle, there's nothing they can really do to stop me now they've signed for the letter. The address is- 3 Customer Services Hutchison 3G UK Ltd PO Box 333 GLASGOW G2 9AG
  • Ed
    WOOO! I just cancelled - took me 55 mins! The woman kept on asking for a trillion different reasons other than the 3 like home to be cancelling. The thing that sealed the deal was when I said 'no, i don't want to discuss this with you anymore - just cancel it.' Just be very firm and refuse to discuss it otherwise they'll give you a million different reasons not to leave etc etc etc. What was strange was that They text you the PAC code, from which you still have to pay for one following month. Your line will only be cancelled when you use the PAC so might as well use the last whole month. Did anyone else get that? I also sent a letter which they claim to have never received. Send recorded.! And remember to quote Section 10.1.d of the terms and conditions! Good luck!
  • Ed
    Did anyone here manage to cancel with immediate effect or were people fobbed off with having to pay an extra month? If anyone can let me know that'd be great thanks!
  • chris h.
    Guys, I got a text from them and a letter though I'm not sure if i've acted quickly enough (you think that it must be cancelled within 30 days of receiving the letter?- I'll take my chances with the hour long phone call tomorrow. This feature was one of the main reasons i renewed my contract with 3 and then they ditch it! this is short sighted to say the least especially for customers in Ireland like myself who travel across the border all the time. I actually have 2 contracts with 2 - one for mobile and one for mobile broadband - i guess i could threaten to pull the plug on the broadband if they don't cancel my mobile. Good luck everyone.
  • Justin
    I received the text message on the 19th may 2009 and when i called and tried to cancel my contract they kept telling me that there was no way to cancel it as i am one day outside a "30 day deadline". Is this really the case? as i am going travelling later this year (gap year) and one of the main reasons i went with 3 was the 3likehome service. It will really bug me if this means i now cannot cancel without paying a termination fee... Thanks!
  • chris h.
    gonna try it 2moro myself - i really dont see the relevance of the 30 day thing
  • Ed
    JUSTIN I'm almost certain the 30=days only refers to 30 days before the change happens, not from notification. These guys are literally willing to lie to you - I was told I wasn't allowed to cancel because I hadn't used 3 Like Home recently. I basically told them to piss off and called the next day. They will also tell you you have to pay an early termination fee. Just tell them they are wrong and quote section 10.1.d in Terms and conditions.
  • CS
    But in the quoted contract above it states: "10.1(d) You can end the agreement within one month of us telling you about a variation to your agreement..." I've suffered the same fate. I tried, but 30 days "mitigation" period has elapsed. I argued and argued, but they said it's impossible to terminate without fee now. Don't know if there's anything else I can do. If you say you never received the notification, will that hold up?
  • CS
    ...Or, can you claim to have sent a letter which they never received?
  • ms
    I didnt receive my txt message until the 27th May. I've sent a letter via recorded delivery to the address mentioned above,stating i'll be working in Australia soon so the change will have a significant effect on me in the future. I'll put a draft of it on here if anyone wants to use it.
  • chris h.
    after a long conversation and talking to three different guys they told me the same crap - that my deadline was 14th june. I told them that i didn't see the relevance of that but as CS points out 10.1d we have unwittingly agreed to these terms. I have to contracts (mobile bb as well) and threathened to pull payments and default on both and they could do what they like with their collections department. They still wouldn't budge so i guess my only option is to pull payment ie cancel direct debits but this could be a right pain and will likely affect my credit score. and probably options with getting a contract with another provider.
  • Dave
    Anyone else had any luck with the 30 day thing? I phoned up half an hour ago but was told the same thing as CS. It does seem like we may be too late. Surely there is some way around it?
  • chris h.
    i was informed by text )which i didnt read as i assumed it was the usual 3 spamvertising. Maybe a case for Watchdog?
  • ms
    As per my post of 23rd June. Recevied phonecall from 3 today,spent 10 mins on the phone and got the contract cancelled.Just awaiting my pac code now. Just be firm & repeat you want you your contract cancelled & you shouldnt have a problem xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx Tel: xxxxxxxxxxx 3 Customer Services Hutchison 3G UK Ltd PO Box 333 GLASGOW G2 9AG 18/6/09 NOTICE OF CANCELLATION OF CONTRACT Account NO: xxxxxxxxxx Dear Sir, I hereby give written 30 days notice of cancellation of my existing contract. On the 27th May I received a text message from 3Alerts, which contained a link informing me that the 3 like home service will be ending on the 30th June and standard international roaming rates will apply, at the bottom of the link It read “Finally because of the 3 Like Home change, it’s only fair that we point out your right to end your contract with us, without paying an early cancellation fee” Work commitments mean I will shortly be leaving the country to work in Australia for a large period of time and this removal of service will have a huge financial implication for myself. As I would soon be making regular use of the 3 like home service there is no way I can receive the equivalent service without my bill increasing significantly. Also Quoting Section 10.1.D of your terms & conditions: The customer can end this contractual agreement within one month of us (three) telling you of a variation to your agreement which is likely to be of detriment to the customer. Please confirm receipt of this letter and my contract will be cancelled on 18/7/09. Regards, xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • james g.
    Hi, Can anyone tell me if i can use this "get out" still as i signed up in january and noticed the posts are all from may... im going to australia for a year on and off so this will be hugely expensive for me.. on another tip the guy in the shop told me i would have the dongle on a contract but could phone and cancel at anytime...to which i have just tried and they will not budge... its amazing how much you end up going in circles.... but can i now phone up and state this to get out of that also or is it just for the phones... sorry if that is all abit rushed and not to punctual but i have just got off the phone with them and im slightly aggitated to say the least... thanks regards....
  • james g.
    regards last post now reading the later posts which have been made today!!!! I became blind with anger lol
  • AQ
    Hi, Can anyone confirm the point raised by Dave and CS re: the fact that we are now out of the "30 day" period. Do we still have a case as looking back now the link in the sms from 3 does not state that cancellation needs to be done within 30 days? this is only mentioned in their tc's which i cant say i have ever had the will to read?? I hope some of us still have the chance to do this..
  • 3G G.
    Really bad form when a company moves the goal posts on customers like this but just hang on the line until they give in...,. i thought i'd never get it until 25 minutes in they just gave in and cancelled the deal straight out. no termination fee, no request for me to return the handset etc. My advice: > get a nice big cup of tea and set aside half a hour for the call > tell them you are recording the call on advice from your solicitor > if they ask you to pay an "early termination fee" remind them your call is being recorded and inform them that your solicitor has told you that under UK law this constitutes an attempt to blackmail you. As a result of this offence and the fact you are recording the call ask them to put you through to their manager. Good luck...
  • Irish U.
    thanks to the advice I got out of contract with these cowboys and bought their Irish Payasyougo sim added a 10 euro mobile data add on and i now get 1GB of data per month with no contract. i have to use my nokia (via PC Suite) as the UK dongle doesn't work in Ireland. if i get a cheaper deal i'll leave this scum company asap
  • Robert
    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?
  • Mick
    Ok, what is the legal position when the Three customer services representative has misinformed you i.e. "you cannot cancel your contract because Three like home is a promotional offer"? Surely three are ressponsible for the actions of their paid representatives? Then you find out later that they have lied to you and call them back and they say that it is too late to cancel as it is over thirty days since they sent a text to my 3g modem which I do not monitor for incoming texts.
  • ahsan
    hi, i spoke to a three customer service manager today, however, all he said was that i recieved a text on 10th june, however, i could only cancel it within 30days which has passed but the thing is i don't remember getting the text because knowing me i've tried to get out of my three contract since november when i upgraded..! however, he said he would give me a good will gesture of £10 which i rejected and then he hung up and said his manager will call me. where do i go from here???
  • stuart j.
    I'm having a nightmare with three at the minute, they are saying that because I upgraded after the change had come into effect, I don't qualify for cancellation! I have asked for a deadlock letter but they are totally digging there heels in, swear I feel like throwing the phone out the window! (or getting £200 for it off masuma) I'll not give up, I keep on Emailing the [email protected] the call centre hate it when you do this!!!! anyone any tips! I need help and ideas. Stuart Jameson
  • B M.
    My daughter who's been in Australia for the last 8 months didn't get a text and was blissfully unaware of the situation. She continued using her phone until last week when she checked her account and discovered £575 usage since last bill!!! Spoken to 3 but all they will do is offer a payment plan - does she any legal rights here??
  • gareth d.
    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….).
  • Tom
    Well I've just caught up with this in October, well after the one month period, phoned then and negotiated a lower monthly line rental. and still could cancel if I wanted with no fees - breach of contract is breach of contract which ever way it is looked at.
  • Sandeep
    Hi I wondered if this method could still be used to remove my Three contract?! Thanks!

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment