Ofcom call for 'try before you buy' for mobiles. Trybuyles?

ofcom man

One of the most common complaints from mobile phone users is the absence of reception, something that is fairly integral to, er, having a mobile phone.

Now Ofcom have called for mobile providers to allow new customers to enjoy a ‘try before you buy’ period, allowing them to discover just how good the coverage is in the places where they need it most. As opposed to giving their postcode to someone who is desperate to sell them a mobile phone and believing them when they say ‘Yes, great reception in that street of which you are speaking’.

Ofcom have found the 36% of mobile users have experienced ‘not spots’ – areas where they are completely unable to get a signal, with 18% experiencing it regularly. A passer-by we spoke to rated the chances of Ofcom’s suggestions becoming standard practice as: “Fucking zero mate. You’ve got more chance of painting a set of tits on a bishop.”

Use the comments section below to tell us how you feel about it. Would you prefer to have good reception or bad reception? Is reception even an issue for you or do you just like to hold, stroke and lick your mobile instead of using it? Is this one of the most pointless paragraphs you’ve ever read in your life? What about that new Dr Who? He’s a bit young isn’t he?


  • Adam W.
    Signal strength is very important to me. I have been paying Vodafones high prices because I can't fault the connection. My wife has had T Mobile and 3 and both had a useless signal, especially at home. I have just now ordered an orange phone as I know a few people who are on Orange with equally little problems, and got a much better deal than Vodafone were offering!!
  • smellephant
    It's about time the phone companies did something like this. I was sucked into an 18 month contract with Three, then discovered I had no signal at work or at home. During my drive to and from work everyday I was bombarded with text messages that people had been sending me. To make it worse, everytime I rang to complain, the twats at three would ask for my postcodes and argue that there should be a brilliant signal!
  • me
    Orange had crap signal around here (Brighton), that was a few years ago. Girlfriend has just bought an oranage phone and we have found that little has changed - still crap signal! T mob has always been good for me, just did the o2 dealy so hoping they are good around here. I think it does matter but surely if your that bothered you should just get a free payg sim and try that out first?
  • Simon
    I wholeheartedly agree with this. Had I known about the signal strength at home (or lack of it), I would not have gone with Orange as a service provider. All I had was friends recommendations, and unfortunately none of them live in the same village! There is an option though, I got hold of some of those free pay as you go sims that some companies dish out occasionally. While none had credit on them, I was able to find out what company had the best coverage where I was, and that'll be where I go for my next phone. And if anyone is interested, it's Vodafone that is the winner, because all the others have the signal strength of a baby monitor with weak batteries...
  • sedgwick
    How difficult can it be..... http://i38.tinypic.com/33nxn9d.jpg
  • Bob
    Am pretty sure this existed before now anyway? Don't you get a 14 day cooling off period with mobile phones anyway?
  • NobbyB
    sedgwick > How difficult can it be….. http://i38.tinypic.com/33nxn9d.jpg Strangely erotic.
  • Inactive
    It is time the UK Mobile operators invested in more infrastructure, Britain isn't a big country, yet they cannot give nationwide coverage, too busy taking people's money.
  • bobo c.
    Isn't there a cooling off period of 14 days? During this period you can cancel the contract without penalty?
  • 4Site
    I just had this problem with o2 this morning i work in the evenings and my reception seems to randomly disappear for like 3-4 hours everynight, then when i get it back i am bombarded by texts from people angry that my phone is unavailable :-s
  • Moo
    Three did offer a 14 day returns policy but now got rid it. Which I think was mean.
  • Orange w.
    4Site -same issue, I work nights, just switched to o2 and now get random outages all night. Handset goes from full strength to Emergency Calls Only and back again. Texts sent and received get delayed at random or vanish all together. Not an issue for most I guess at 3 in the morning, but pretty frustrating for me.
  • raj
    Some companies (e2save / OSPS / CPW) do not allow you to cancel the contract within the 7 day returns period if you use the sim card! so unless they change their terms, we can't really ‘try before you buy’
  • alan p.
    dr who is a bit young, yes
  • charitynjw
    Brrrrr, brrrr, - "Good afternoon, BitterWallet speaking" "Yeah mate, I just read your article! Listen, I sell mobiles based on post codes & you don't know what your talking about! All my punters are more than happy with the eception they get, jus sk em if ou on't lieve e, so why don ou ick r ead up y ar ou king nker or I ome roun an ort y out, you nt. tards iss fu ff ie.............................................................................................................
  • Colin
    I have an O2 CPW phone. Having recently moved house I quickly discovered that the reception at my new place was exceptionally poor. I am unable to make or receive any calls or text messages from within the house and even outside the house for up to 2 miles there is limited connectivity. Calls usually get disconnected within 5 minutes and when I called customer services from the top of my graden I kept getting cut off before I could finish my call. I reported the problem to O2 CPW - they told me the network engineer had confirmed there is an excellent standard of signal in the area which basically implies I'm mistaken. I challenged them to prove this by calling me at home one day for a chat which they have not yet done. I'll never get an O2 phone again on general principle.

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