3 Like Home - plenty of Bitterwallet readers cancel 3 contracts

26 May 2009

For the past fortnight we've been updating you with the latest concerning 3's efforts to cancel their 3 Like Home service without too many customers noticing. 3 Like Home has been part and parcel of 3's offering since January 2007 - it's a service which allows you to make calls and use data in several foreign countries without additional roaming fees.

So far 3 have sent texts to some customers and letters to others, to notify them of the changes, all the while contradicting themselves as to why they're scrapping 3 Like Home. Official excuses given so far include:

  • an artificial increase in the strength of the Euro
  • the charge levied by foreign networks, which is actually 3's own foreign network
  • it's a helping hand to stop you accidentally using other foreign networks
  • an inability to block your phone joining foreign networks, even though 3 handsets can be blocked from using other networks in the UK
  • a favour to help you pay less, despite the fact that if you used 3 Like Home on a regular basis, you'll pay far more

And so on. Another quirk discovered by Bitterwallet reader Paul, is that 3 in Ireland and Australia also offer 3 Like Home, except these services are not set to be cancelled.

Bitterwallet has also covered off some of the reasons as to why this can be considered a detrimental change to the terms of your 3 contract, and you've been letting us know how you've fared. The general consensus seems to be that as long as you stand your ground, you can get your 3 contract cancelled; in some cases, previous use of the 3 Like Home service isn't required. So here is a selection of comments and advice from Bitterwallet readers; if you're considering cancelling your 3 contract, have a read through before you dial:

I managed to cancel both my mobile phone contract which had 12 months left and my Mobile broadband contract that had 6 months left today by using this as an excuse. Took nearly an hour in total but was pretty straight forward.

I stated I had a holiday booked in July in Australia, and that this 3 Like Home was why I took both my phone and mobile internet contract out. They tried to fob me off with the usual; £10 gift, £20 gift, “you have to pay remaining to cancel”, “it was only a temporary offer” etc.

Remain strong and insist on canceling - I had never used either abroad and this did not matter. State the actual quote regarding detrimental changes in the terms and conditions which can be found above.

Also they will then put you through to cancellations, they will ask for your phone back, tell them you lost it ages ago without insurance so use an old phone. Then say you want your sim to change to PAYG, and as a result in a month you will be out of contract and keep your number. Simple. Try it. bmouthboyo

I'm on 3 Mobile Broadband £15 a month for 5 gigs of data. I got it specifically because living in Belfast I occasionally have to go to Dublin for work and wanted a data package that would work in both countries.

I popped my 3 Broadband SIM into an old unlocked N95 and explained to the customer service person I wanted to cancel and explained my reasons for taking the 3 contract were for 3 Like Home specifically. He told me I would need to pay to cancel and transferred me to cancellations.

I rehearsed my problem again for the cancellations person (explaining that I had actually asked when taking the contract out SPECIFICALLY about 3 Like Home) and was offered one month of Line Rental free to cover "times when you’re not able to use it". I explained again the point in choosing 3 was that I wanted to be able to use it abroad. At that point she offered to cancel, I checked there was no cancellation charge and was told that I had only to pay my last month of line rental. Stephen Moore

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 3 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. David

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 transferred to around 4-5 departments to eventually get my way. David Zdanowicz

Thanks for the advice and stating you received the text. It worked for me and after being sent from dept to dept and spending only 20 minutes on the line 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. Jerome Y

25 comments

  • Big D.
    3 are the pit's pits. I can't even go in Superdrug now as I have a near uncontrollable urge to punch the lying feckers who signed me up. If you want customer service modelled on PhoneJacker's ring dings sketch, they're the company for you. If not, well, anyone (just anyone else) does it better. Avoid.
  • Nathan
    Just gave them a call to cancel my mobile broadband contract which I'm half way through (18 month contract). Initially I got a call center in India, explained that I was planning to travel to Australia in July and was expecting to use the '3 Like Home' part of my contract to use my mobile broadband within my monthly allowance, and that because they were canceling '3 Like Home' it would have a detrimental effect on me, as I would now be charged per MB. I was then put through to the cancellations department in the UK, the chap put me on hold for about 10 mins to check that I would be able to cancel without a early termination fee, then came back to confirm this was the case. My contract now ends at the end of June! Total time of call = 20mins 32seconds. Money saved = £67.50 Thanks BitterWallet!
  • Nathan
    P.S - Another thing to remember, if you're a iPhone user, is that 'tethering' will be allowed in the 3.0 software update, so if you've paying for a mobile broadband contract with 3, now might be a good time to try and get out of it, then you can use your iPhone's data connection instead.
  • Joe S.
    On the whole iPhone tethering thing, it's expected that the carrier will charge extra for that. Not so straightforward, so lets wait and see what actually happens when it's released :)
  • Jon
    Fantastic! I have been receiving texts about them cancelling the service, but never thought I could try and use this to get out of my contract!! Will give it a go later - always a love a good arguement and have been wanting a new phone on a better contract ever since I signed up with three!!!
  • ben
    i tried and they saids because i was not usuing the like home service i would have to pay a termination fee and i fought it but he was having none of it, so i asked when my contract ends and soon as i hit the 30 days before the end i'm leaving :)
  • Nathan
    @ben - I've never used 3 Like Home before and they cancelled mine no problem. I guess it depends on who you get on the other end of the phone.
  • James
    I was offered the £20 'goodwill' gesture for about an hour. I stuck to my guns, and got past pillar to post including the 'manager' for aound 20 mins. They tried fobbing me off with: I have never used the service, and that I wasn't notified of the change via text. Eventually issuing me with my PAC code after 70 minutes. Stick with it!
  • ben
    i tried twice now with no success, contract ends in oct so i'll cancel then...
  • Kris
    I canceled my contract but I was at the end of my 18 month contract anyway. I tried to get my phone unlocked free of charge was on the phone arguing for an hour but they were insisting they can not do it without charging £15. I need to unlock my phone but I refuse to pay 3 £15 whats the best thing to do?
  • ben
    @Kris, whats the make and model nokias can usually be done by yourself these days
  • Namer
    Those who couldn't do it over the phone, just write a letter. That's what it states you must do in the terms and conditions anyway.
  • ben
    what would the letter need to say?
  • Chris C.
    just done it there 5minute fone call.
  • Eric
    Hi, I had an account with 3 which i cancelled last week. I got a Nokia N95 8GB free. But i received couple of calls from Fraud agencies who were asking about my cancellation and they told that if i'll be found guilty then my Credit rating will go bad.
  • Chalks
    I live in Newry, Northern Ireland and work in Dublin every day so the 3 Like Home was the only reason I moved from 02 to 3 in 2007. I upgraded my phone last month and, like many other 3 customers, later received the text stating that the service was ending and that I could cancel my contract without charge. But when I called up I was told that as I had upgraded my phone after April, when the termination of 3 Like Home was announced on their website, I wasn't eligible to cancel or get a discount. I don't remember the sales representative who dealt with my upgrade ever informing me that the 3 Like Home service was due to end, even though it's clear from my monthly bills that 90 per cent of my calls are from in Dublin. The best they could offer me was to transfer the ownership of my phone to my wife. Unbelievable! After reading the above posts, I think I'll call/write/ them back. [email protected]
  • Vodafone B.
    [...] T-Mobile has under-performed for several years and Vodafone are thought to be keen to buy up the business, or at least form a partnership as they’ve done in other countries. A gestalt entity that brings the two together would dominate the UK mobile market, accruing 40 per cent all mobile revenue. O2 currently enjoys 27 per cent share, Orange has 22 per cent and 3 has a rather lacklustre eight per cent - though they have been doing their damnedest to shed customers recently. [...]
  • Orange B.
    [...] your mind back to what happened when 3 announced they were cancelling their 3 Like Home service - it provided customers with a loophole to terminate their contract early. 3 weren’t entirely [...]
  • ricardo b.
    Just found this forum and tried albeit too late to get my mobile broadband contract cancelled. I explained to them i had called back in april with regard to cancelling but no one had called me back., customer service said they did call.. but they didnt,. anyways long story shirt they have just givem me a £50.00 credit onto the account. i was thinking of writing to them explaining that no one had called me.. or just settle for the £50.00
  • 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….).
  • Mark
    I took out a 3 uk contract in Feb 2007 as I was moving to australia, but obviously didn't tell them that. So fo more than 2 years i enjoyed 500 minutes a month to the uk for 30 pound a month. Then in August 2009 got hit with a 400 pound phone bill as the 3 like home service had been stopped. I never received any comminicayion from 3 about this. How can they go from charginf nothing for calls to the uk to 2 pound a minute without telling me!! Anyway rthe direct debit has been cancelled and I won't be paying the bill. Complai nt letter is on the way with one waiting for otelo if I dont get the bill reduced to 30 pound. Anyone else been hit by a large bill because of the 3 like home service being stopped.
  • Josh
    gah. I was hoping to find someone who ahd had some access in August, I'd heard about the 30 day thing but wasn't sure it was true. has anyone had any success in the last month or so? If so, anyone know anything about downgrading your contract on three? Just bought an iphone so i want shot of it as cheap as possible...
  • Lincoln
    Just wondering if anyone else is still battling with the thugs from 3's "executive office"? I am still disputing a huge bill I received relating to calls I made overseas when I had no idea that the 3 Like Home plan had been cancelled. I did get a text message back in June, but didn't open it as they normally send so much rubbish that is not worth opening. Such a fundamental variation of the contract surely requires more notification than this. Anyway, any tips on how to salvage something from what has been a dreadful experience would be much appreciated.
  • Worst B.
    [...] Today sees a numerically-monikered phonedown showdown between the clowns at 3 (or Three, or Trois if you’re French) and the bell ends that are Phones4U. There are ample reasons to vote for either company – in May, 3 tried to sneakily scrap their ‘3 Like Home’ service but we caught them, helping scores of their customers to walk away from their contracts. [...]
  • Michael
    Three are without doubt the worst company in Ireland to deal with.first off their mobile broadband quite simply does not work in Galway or Ireland in general,secondly when this was pointed out to them what followed can only be described as farcical.10 months of phone calls to India.having eventually given up on trying to get them to do anything we stopped paying and returned modem. What followed cN only be described as unbelievable, having agreed the matterwas settled they engaged a debt collection agency to chase “arrears”of 35 euro. They also called at what I can only assume are business hours in India.eventually after 16months they apologised kind of but refused to sedan email saying they don’t do that. I asked if the phonecall was recordedand they told me I kid you not”mind my own business”. You are a disgrace Three mobile and a Shining example of the absolute disconnect between customers in Europe and call centres in India. You should spend less time spending money sponsoring golf tournaments here and more time on your clients.

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