Phones4U sell false hope to customers wanting iPhone4

2 July 2010

Bitterwallet - Phones4U logoSo the world, his wife and his dog wanted an iPhone 4. Who knew? Nobody, including Apple, was quite expecting the level of demand for their fourth generation brick and consequently stock levels soon ran to zero. That hasn't stop some retailers telling a few white lies to keep their customers interested.

Bitterwallet reader Jamie was after one of the shiny blighters, and spotted that Phones4U had them in stock on Vodafone tariffs; the Orange deals tab requested Jamie submit his email address to be notified when the iPhone 4 on Orange would be back in stock. The Vodafone tab allowed Jame to progress with his order.

However, being all too aware of the stock situation, Jamie indulged in a live chat with customer services:

info: You are now connected with Carl.

Carl: Hello, you're chatting with Carl, a Phones4U Sales Advisor, may I take your name please?
Jamie: Hi, is the iphone 4 on vodafone actually in stock or is it a back order?
Carl: It's in stock, if it was back order it would say "Click here to reserve"
Jamie: ok thanks
Carl: Did you want to order that one Jamie?
Jamie: thinking about it
Carl: I wouldn't wait till long to be honest, don't know how much longer it's giong to be in stock, orange ran out about an hour ago
info: A copy of this chat transcript will be sent to  at the end of this chat.
Jamie: yeah np, thanks

In fact Jamie tells us he already had the item in his online basket, and completed the purchase within a few moments of ending the chat. All good to go according to Phones4U, so Jamie wasn't expecting the following email from them two days later:

Congratulations! You have successfully ordered your iPhone 4 with us! So what’s next?

For you, nothing! We’ll be working hard on your behalf to make sure that your iPhone 4 gets safely delivered to your door. We’ll be keeping tabs on iPhone availability across the UK and will keep you updated via email. As soon as we get yours in stock, we’ll make sure you’re the first to know and will get it sent out as soon as possible.

Like we said, Phones 4U will be doing all the hard work and we promise to keep you up to date with the latest iPhone 4 developments so there’s no need to get in touch.

Ah. There was no stock availability after all. Jamie's wasn't an isolated incident - his colleague Paul went through exactly the same situation, confirming with a Phones4U agent that stock was available while simultaneously placing an order. In both cases it appears the sales agents told the customer what they wanted to secure the order there and then.

According to Jamie, Phones4U have so far refused to cancel his order - since it was only placed on Tuesday, we've brought him up to speed on the seven day cooling-off period allowed by the Distance Selling Regulations. Perhaps Phones4U haven't heard of it, or the fact that it requires clear information about the goods or services to be made available before a customer places an order.

TOPICS:   Mobile


  • zacspeed
  • Nobby
    I think the law should be changed. If this happens, you should have the legal right to go into your nearest store and take a single swing at the manager.
  • Pokey
    Congratulations BW, this is more like the kind of content you should be posting more often (not always Apple based though). Will you be confronting P4U and asking for any comment? Any inferred sarcasm or patronising tone in the above sentence is inaccurate; I am being genuine.
  • PaulH
    Scum, sub human scum...
  • geraintl
    ive been waiting for an iphone4 since launch day from phones4u they made me put a £5 deposit on it and now when i phone them daily i just keep getting told tomorrow they will get it in
  • Spark
    Define irony, bunch of idiots waiting in line and jumping through all manner of hoops to spend hundereds of pounds on a device which is in fact fundamentally broken. This isn't the first that it has happened though and it won't be the last.
  • Mark H.
    You could get all upset and waste energy demanding your rights. Or you could just wait a couple of weeks for you shiny new toy to arrive. Waiting is the best part after all.
  • Bunk
    ive been due an upgrade for months and will most likely get an iphone4, why haven't I yet? Just haven't got around to it, no real rush is there?
  • Jonny S.
    Upgrade due so I went and bought a HTC Desire instead of upgrading my 3G - brilliant device! Android with Sense on top of it = top notch!
  • Askgar
    I did the exact same thing and they told me the correct thing, that stock was on back order, they even went out of their way to double check with management and give me information on the store's opening details. This looks like one person who was giving out bad advice.
  • klingelton
    HTC Desire is a fooking bloody gorgeous phone. I wish it was my turn to upgrade so i could get one. everyone chant... ANDROID ANDRIOD ANDRIOD!
  • klingelton
    that's right. Andriod. it's the cheaper chinese alternative....
  • Adam S.
    Phones4u are a shocking shower of sh*te. Given my past experience I wouldn't have anything to do with them, no matter what stock they had or what deals they offered.
  • Heather
    I placed my order for the iPhone 4 on Orange on Saturday with Phones4U and I had it by the Wednesday (allowing for credit checks & Sunday I don't think that's bad). No problems with them as far as I can tell.
  • Heather
    However, I am now trying to cancel the contract due to no signal at home on Orange, but am struggling to get them to confirm that they have cancelled it.
  • Honey
    Who would order a phone from Phones4U anyway? That's like putting your head into a lions mouth because it told you that there was a rainbow ending there. Good piece, although a little easy on the Apple bashing front, I'd like to see how this whole Apple iPhone 4 pans out over the next few weeks. Should be fun!
  • Jamie
    I actually thought this was me as the same has happened to me and I even spoke to someone on the chat called Carl, Phones4u are a disgrace and will never deal with them again
  • -]
    Mark H - the reason corporations walk all over people. You can demand what you are entitled to, or you can just sit around waiting like a pathetic excuse. Great advice there, mate.
  • Rob A.
    I've been trying to return my iPhone 4, due to not being able to get a signal at home (where I often work) when held "the wrong way". Since Apple have stated in their press release that a customer is entitled to a refund if not happy with the forthcoming solution, and phone in general, I thought this would be an easy task. Not so. Phones4U have a 'no refunds policy'. Right, so I have different rights simply because I purchased the phone in a subsidised fashion, and not directly through Apple? Same phone, same annoying issue, but I'm stuck with the phone? Anyone know what my rights are here?
  • Vimal
    This is the chat with the live sales person and they r saying that it is in stock but now they r saying from last 1 week that it will come but till today i didn't recieved it... Jason: Hello, you're chatting with Jason, a Phones4U Sales Advisor, may I take your name please? vimal patel: hi is Iphone4 in vodafone is in stock? Jason: yes it is, came in today vimal patel: Then why i m not getting it vimal patel: ? Jason: when did you order it? vimal patel: On last thursday Jason: because they are being dispatched today vimal patel: Ok so can u check it for me plz when i will get it? Jason: it will be 3-5 days from now vimal patel: My order no is 029902568978 Jason: i cant check here for the answer you will need to contact customer services vimal patel: first also u said me it will be 3-5 days and now also u r saying that 3-5 days Jason: The best advice I can offer is for you to call our customer services team on 08448-712231 they will be happy to help with any enquiries you may have.
  • Heather
    Order now cancelled with Phones 4 U and just waiting to send back. Then I will order on Vodafone....
  • Ian G.
    Hi there my name is Ian Gregory,I'm wondering when my blackberry torch 9800 mobile will be delivered,could u contact me on 07891730494
  • steve
    New phone new contract, broken phone after 2 weeks and 2 weeks trying to exchange for new one and I am still waiting. To any of you thinking of using phones 4 u don’t they are crap
  • iphone4, s.
    Wonderful website. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks on your effort!

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