The mobile lottery over network coverage refunds
What happens if your new mobile phone has no or little signal where you live? It's a bit of a lottery as to whether the service provider or retailer will pay any attention to you. Actually, it's a lot of a lottery - there's no regulation governing the sale or ending of contract in relation to coverage.
Still there's some good news and a possible sign of things to come - according to Which!, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U have both agreed to implement new returns policies, which will allow customers to cancel their contracts if they don't get the coverage required. This means a new 14 day returns policy that allows customers to obtain a refund in-store, rather than bother with a lengthy claims process.
The decision to better support the consumer follows research from the Communications Consumer Panel, which showed that more than half of the customers involved were not given the correct information when they asked whether they could cancel a new mobile contract on the grounds of network coverage.
Whether the changes recommended by the panel and implemented by Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U are taken up elsewhere is unclear; Which! points out Virgin currently offers a 28 day returns policy, while Orange has no formal policy, relying instead on managers to decide whether or not a customer will get a refund due to poor coverage. Given that those managers have in-store targets to meet, that's perhaps not a policy that'll help many consumers.