How is your mobile company treating you right now?

4 February 2009

Nearly all of us have brand loyalties, even those who insist that marketing has never, ever influenced any purchase they've ever made. Few people will buy based solely on cost; whether we want to be associated with a particular brand, or whether we've had a positive experience of a product, we tend to find stuff we like and we keep on buying it.

Hip-deep in a recession however, we can't be as choosy. And depending on your usage, a mobile phone can rack up your monthly expenses to the point where you might consider doing without. So what, if anything are mobile phone companies doing to retain our custom?

We'd like to hear your accounts of whether of how you've been treated recently; were customer services unapologetically helpful or were you left gobsmacked by their inflexibility? We'd like to know how operators are playing the recession, after reading what HUKD forum member unseenangelwings had to say concerning T-Mobile:

After being told they couldn't offer me the same deal I'd been getting for 2 years, T-Mobile gave me... wait for it... £5pm discount on my tariff, after increasing it by £10.

Hmm.

I've been with them for about 10 years so I told them I'd find a better deal. Today, a great deal by T-Mobile appeared (100mins + 100 texts with a new Nokia 5800 for £15) so I called them and asked for the upgrade on the phone.

They told me they wouldn't do it because I hadn't spent enough with them lately (i.e I'd not topped up over my contracted minutes). I explained that the offer was with T-Mobile, I was due an upgrade and was spending more money per month, but they still said no. I've now got to cancel my 10 year contract and start up a new one. I then asked them if I could keep my number since I was staying with T-Mobile and they said no.

While the use of PAC codes in transferring numbers from network to another is well understood, the inability to transfer mobile numbers from one contract to another while staying on the same network is rarely explained; it seems to be a remnant of a dated business model that forces customer to upgrade rather than switch contracts.

There may be some detail missing from this tale, but it does seem that T-Mobile are making life more difficult for this customer than it need be. Others in the HUKD forums tell similar stories.

What's your experience of mobile companies in the current climate? Are you finding them easier or harder to deal with right now? And do you think they should changing their ways and adapting to the current market conditions?

TOPICS:   Mobile

24 comments

  • Richard B.
    I recently upgraded my handset with Vodafone (at a cost) but was able to keep my contract at a good rate of £12 per month with it renewing for 18 months. As part of the upgrade they gave me one month's free handset insurance and one month's free mobile browsing - if I didn't want them I was to cancel within 30 days. Yesterday, some 50 days after renewing I remembered about these two and also remembered I didn't want either. I e-mailed Vodafone to ask them to cancel and they've done it for both, even mentioning that I was outside the 30 day period but as a gesture of goodwill they'd cancel them for me anyway. Hurrah!
  • Darren
    I was on O2 Sales Training Manager for 5 years, and this is one of the customers biggest gripes of all time. People sometimes dont realise the cost of handsets to buy in.. O2 blow the budget out of the water each year for purchasing handsets hence why they cant afford to just give them away to a customer who has recently just paid the last one of over a 12 month contract or 18 month contract at £35 per month (£420 a year) that £420 has to cover your handset cost, delivery, service, over heads etc... they dont make a lot, BUT cost of calls hopefully will help top up the profit margins, but if your not going over a set level of spend per month then unfortunately you just aren't going to get the handset you want. from this story you have paid for what you have got and your increasing your spend, but your increase is only covering what your going to get from them... However, sometimes the trick used to be (was a number of years ago) is to generate big bills for 3 months in a row, the retention team will only generate your average spend based on the last 3 months and then place you in a tier system for which handset you can have for free, the bigger your average spend the better. from the sounds of this you are just paying for what you are entitled to and unfortunately that doesn't entitle you to a free phone and decent change... But hey, thats customer loyalty for you... just no such thing as it now. but like I said, this was a number of years ago for me.
  • Mike H.
    Are you a sales manager for O2 Dicky B?
  • si
    i will get the wife to use the phone 3 months before the end of the contract then it will be 10 more expensive than the months i used it maybe i will get a free laptop to lol.
  • Jack
    I've had only good experiences with T-Mobile. I was on a 12 month @ £35pm contract, through a third party cashback scheme. Unfortunately they went bust so I was paying far too much for my phone bill and never using the minutes and texts. As soon as I was able to upgrade I was able to drop straight onto a lower tarrif. Not only that, as part of my renewel I got £5 off per month, £90 off the cost of the handset I wanted (N95 originally offered at £120, got for £30) and six months free internet browsing worth £45, saving a total of £225 over what a new customer would have got! Since then I've had to change contracts a couple of times (once to switch to a better tarrif, twice to upgrade the price plan through increased usage) and each time T-Mobile have been nothing short of friendly and helpful. The first time they removed my £5 loyalty discount but put it back as soon as I phoned them. The last time I changed tarrif the system wasn't working and they sorted it out and gave me a call back instead of keeping me waiting.
  • 76junglist
    I spend £50 a month with Orange (and been with them 12 years) - tried the old ' give me the PAC code' trick when trying to get a free upgrade. All I got was a great big 'Cheerio'. Fuck you very much
  • Will
    My contract is up in March (thank fuck) with O2. I currently get about 400 texts and 300 minutes for a stonking £30 a month. Once I'm done with this hideous contract I'm going to go onto O2's simplicity contract. 600 mins, 1200 texts for £19.58 a month. How ridiculous when you consider what measly amount of texts and minutes I get at the moment for much more. Yes you can take into consideration that I purchased a phone (Sony P1i) when I took out the contract at a reduced rate of around £70, but still how hideous. I phoned up Vodafone and stated what O2 were offering and the chap said that it was an amazing deal and that he couldn't match it, even if he put me on an 18 month contract rather than O2's 30 day contract. I'd say O2 are doing what they should have done a long time ago - fuck all its competitors. The only company I have heard have said that they can better this offer is Orange, who wants to be with Orange though with their appalling signal coverage? The saving was under £3 too.
  • Will
    Can't stand mobile contracts; they always seem to try and find ways to fuck existing customers over. I'm perfectly happy on O2's pay & go; in fact i'd say its a pretty good deal.
  • Rob B.
    If you wish to retain your number on contract with the same provider simply move to Pay as You go with anothr network (eg get a free O2/Orange SIM or something) then as soon as it's moved over to your new network take out a new contract with your old provider & transfer it back on your new contract. Used to work wonders when I was in the business, hopefully they've not managed to close that loophole yet! Rob
  • Sid
    Mostly the sparkle of a brand new phone that can make coffee in under 2 seconds, that sprays'lynx'esque scents towards women to get them trembling at their knees, iphone killer, urfone wannabe like me, seduce people to new contracts but at the end of the day how many people actually use most if not all of the features they've paid for on the phone - i have the n95 8gb phone and just use the odd calendar some web browsing but nothing that would utilise the fone to a decent level. when my contract up for renewal im just going to get a basic phone - probably on a simplicity style contract and use it as that
  • Sid
    Rob They havent closed the loop hole yet - i did that when i was with virgin i even told them i was going to do it and they didnt mind!
  • Mark
    I'm on Orange PAYG and they are scrapping the passing on of the VAT rate change in favour of a new scheme which gives you 10% of your top ups towards a new phone (with this money expiring every 12 months). I'm not interested in this new scheme (I rarely change my phone) but I have no choice. In other words for me it's a price rise in all but name.
  • Will
    I must say I had a really really positive with Vodafone recently. They have something called an Eforum where you can post problems and questions and staff will get back to you in due course. The guys on there helped me sort out numerous problems, they were human like and not like these robots you get when you call the customer service number. I was a bit gutted I was leaving Vodafone, as that was such a great expereince.
  • Bob
    I'd been with Orange for 10 years when I told them to stick it because since they'd been bought by France Telecom the service had all but disappeared, they refused to respond to complaints, they refused to offer decent upgrades on 12 month contracts and finally told me to order a PAC from them and get the phone on a new contract through the website as it was a better deal than the upgrade. I got a PAC from them and then went to Vodafone who were shite too, so I'm now on an 18 month 3G iPhone contract with O2, who so far have been very good at reception, service and billing (Vodafone's internet billing used to drop out for days at a time on a regular basis).
  • Scott M.
    I recently upgraded my contract with o2 and was very pleased with the service. I wanted the nokia n96 as im not into touch sensitive phones and it was the best one to suit my needs. They originally wanted to charge me 185 for the phone on top of my contract when i said i wasnt happy with that and just to cancel i got put through to the retentions dept. They were then able to wipe the cost of the phone for me. throw in unlimited texts and internet and up my minutes. So i now get 1200 mins, unlimited texts, unlimited internet for just 29.50 a month with my free handset the nokia n96 i originally wanted.
  • Unseenangelwings
    I am indeed the person at the top of this thread and may I say thank you to all that have responded. I am utterly disgusted with t-mobile. Believe me, EVERYTHING I said was the Gods honest truth but the bit I then added on was that I didn't even need the pac code, she gave it to me anyway. I asked her if I could transfer it to a PAYG O2 and she said yes, it would take 2 days for it to happen then I could transfer the number back to my new contract! How ridiculous. She also told me that the credit I had on the account would also be lost in 2 days - how nice! What gets me it that they didn't have a problem when I was going to leave 2 yrs ago to change my number to the Ufix that I have now from a contract - nor did they have the problem with my Hubby when he changed from PAYG T-mobile to a contract with T-mobile. Can anyone explain that one?
  • Unseenangelwings
    edit to above post - - For the last 4 years I have also purchased my own phones so not had one off of them before. They couldn't even argue that I'd just paid for the last one over the year etc.... they discounted my bill by £5.00 per month.
  • ryan
    I left Three after being with them for 5 years with a view to moving on to the iPhone. Never, ever, have I heard of anyone receiving the abuse I received from their 'retention' team. I told the man I was leaving because their cheap deal didn't compensate me for the fact I wanted an iPhone. He told me: OPERATOR: "Your stupid. the iPhone is an awful piece of equipment, we have much better phones - have you seen the Nokia." ME: "What? I'm stupid... ahng on a minute. I don't want a Nokia I want an iPhone." OPERATOR: "Oh I see your a sheep then? A sheep following the crowd buying an iPhone." ME: "This is unbelievable. You're being very rude. I'm leaving." OPERATOR: "How dare you call me rude? Your leaving because your stupid, end of story..." I know pressure is high with the credit crunch but I mean this was ridiculous.
  • Colin
    I just upgraded to an O2 contract from O2 PAYG, and was able to keep my old number (it wasn't a problem in the slightest) Pretty good deal too.. 600 mins / unlimited texts for £20/month (on a one month contract!)
  • andy y.
    Mobile telephony for £8.99. Buy a samsung B130 from play.com £8.99. Wait for people to call you.
  • pontyboy65
    hi guys , i have been working within the mobile industry for 5 years now and im very surprised by unseenangelwings reaction, looking between the lines she was offered a ufix plan 2 years ago to as part of a retentions offer this would have been heavily discounted probably by anything from 60% to 100% and this is the reason that she has not recieved a new handset "FROM THEM FOR YEARS". an AIR TIME discount means that the customer will have a heavily subsidised price plan even to the point where it can be totally FREE, this is a common retention tool with the UFIX price plans however if the customer is not using their phone their retention spend will drop as no revenue is being made by the company. and that is why she was ONLY offered a £5 discount this time around, as for increasing her tariff by £10 pound if the CUSTOMER wishes to stay on her original plan they can, no ifs or buts, however if she then wants to get a free PHONE or AIRTIME discount this becomes a NEW contract and all NEW contracts need to be on NEW PRICEPLANS not old ringfenced plans that are no longer available. as for transferring your number on the same network this is simply not possible as a PORT AUTHOURISATION CODE needs to be sent and recieved by different networks. if a PAC was given to you u still have 30 days 1 FULL month to give it to another network so you could have used your remaining allowance, BUT if you had done the PAC TRANSFER within 2 days your allowance would have been lost the CUSTOMER SERVICE advisor actually told the truth and even offered you a way to keep your number on the T-Mobile network via a PAYG SIM to ANOTHER network so you could take up the offer YOU wanted with the FREE phone ( which the company probably WONT recoup the cost of in the first 9MONTHS of that contract) really we should be thinking should someone who has had a highly discounted line rental but still doesnt use that phone and makes little revenue for her network provider get the same BENEFITS as a high user who creates revenue. If ishop at Tesco they REWARD me with points more i spend more i get. would it be fair if i spent £2000 pound a year and got same points as someone who spent £150
  • J
    I've been with all the major mobile networks, apart from Three, and have to say that O2 does have the best retentions deals of all of them - T-Mobile used to be quite good, but in the last 2 years they've decided to become the worst for keeping customers Just upgraded my handset on O2 - £27 for 1200 minutes and 1000 texts, and unlimited internet usage and the Sony X1 for £45 - unfortunately, they now have me on an 18 month contract, but I can't complain - selling the X1 has paid for the iPhone I bought a while back!
  • TONY
    I was on the 15POUNDS/mo 250mins and 50texts tariff from Three.co.uk. I was due to an upgrade after 18 months. However, the guy just kept giving the same deal as a new customer. Why don't I just cancel the current one and sign a new one with QUIDCO as well???
  • BiFF
    Reminds me of some dealings i had with o2 a few years ago. My original 12 month contract on my Sony Ericsson k750i was up and i was wanted to change phone to the newer k800i. So i rang them up and explained i wanted to take the same tariff with this new phone. However, they insisted it would cost me £80 to upgrade. I asked how this was possible as if you were a new customer you could sign up to my tariff and receive the k800i for free, but they gave me some guff about its policy when upgrading. So i just cancelled my contract with them and went straight onto their website and ordered the k800i at the same tariff and got the handset for free. I think they try to charge the upgrade fee in the hope that people will just pay it and not even bother checking that you can get it for free if you cancel the contract and sign up with them again.

What do you think?

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

Your comment