Who has been buying customer contract data from T-Mobile?

17 November 2009

Although the comments of Bitterwallet readers suggest a far more widespread problem, T-Mobile has been forced to admit it is the mobile provider cited by the ICO as selling customer's contract information to third parties. T-Mobile has stated that the members of staff involved had acted in the matter without their knowledge; the ICO is now preparing a prosecution against those responsible.

The big question that needs answering is - who has been buying your contract information?

In its press release, the ICO states that "many thousands" of customer's account details had been sold "to several brokers and that substantial amounts of money have changed hands". A middleman may mean the identity of the third party buyers remained unidentified, although how the data was used is made clear by the ICO:

"It is alleged that the information was being sold on to the service provider’s competitors whose agents were using the material to cold call customers prior to contract expiry dates to offer them an alternative contract."

T-Mobile's competitors obviously involve other service providers such as Orange (which is due to merge with T-Mobile), O2, Vodafone and Three, though it's highly doubtful the major networks would risk the wrath of Ofcom by buying customer data. It seems more likely that the records were bought by one or more independent retailers.

As an aside, Bitterwallet reader Will points us to an email from T-Mobile sent in May, after he complained about cold calls when his contract was due for renewal. Will took his contract out through a third party, and T-Mobile lays the blame firmly at door of independent mobile companies for "passing customer information on... to other companies" (see the full email here):

Bitterwallet - T-Mobile deny selling customer contract data

So if you've received cold calls from a company other than your network or the independent retailer who supplied your contract, who were they? Let's have some names, people. Not that we're accusing them of paying T-Mobile staff for customer data - we'd just like you to recount your experiences of cold calling.

27 comments

  • Brian
    Hmm, looks like BitterWallet is getting truly excited by this story.
  • Jugsalot
    I had a call from a debt management company called Debtline direct (tried to infer they were the national government endorsed company National Debtline) offering me credit. I turned them down, though I did wonder how they got my number.... Fuckers.
  • Jeffrey A.
    lol @ "Hi William, Brian here"
  • Simon
    I'd only just started my contract and I had about half a dozen calls from 3... in the end I got so annoyed at them asking every time to be removed from their list I told the last bloke to f**k off and never contact me again. Funny thing, it worked!
  • Brian
    Hi, Brian here. This has just been the headline story with the BBC 10 O'clock news. Looks like the BBC are also getting excited by this.
  • Lumoruk
    Bing I was getting calls from Vodafone offering me a contract while I was on O2
  • Iphonic
    tadaaaaaa I got calls from CPW sometime back and no more calls after a serious warning to the guy on phone. can we cancel the contract qouting this issue. I am looking to cancel the T-mobile contract from a longtime.
  • andy y.
    Lets face it would you work in some crap call centre for beans useless there was some lucrative sideline?
  • KJ
    unless u can confirm your details were used and been sold on to another party, then i wouldn't say you could cancel this. I've had companies calling me, just hope i can remember their name, but they kept calling me for 3 days! I eventually sent them a txt telling to p*ss off and stop contact me.. and then for some strange reason they stopped calling me :P
  • Paddy
    Mint Mobile Ltd in Selby, North Yorkshire got hold of my details when I was with Orange in April 2006 and put me on a new contract without a) getting my permission and b) without my knowledge until I rang Orange a month later to cancel when they told me that I (read Mint Mobile) had taken out a new contract. Mint Mobile claimed that they did not have to abide to the rules of the Telephone Preference Service when I started getting calls off them and it was only the intervention of a work colleague who is a practicing barrister that caused them to stop hassling me.
  • Rab M.
    So I have been subject to this. Any way I can use it to get out of my contract with these thunderfucks? Will I need to prove the calls were made or my details were sold?
  • Rab M.
    When I say subject to this I mean the random phonecalls.
  • Hi O.
    Hmmm...I'm currently with Orange (can't wait to be rid of them, frankly), but i got cold called a couple of months back by Vodafone. They were initially persistent, calling everyday, but i didn't answer coz it was an 0800 number, and so it smelled suspicious. Eventually I did, as soon as they announced who they were, I put the phone on the table and let the idiot babble on to nobody. They never called back after that. I wish these fucktards would leave us well alone. I mean, if I wanted a new contract, I will seek it out myself - I'm perfectly capable of doing so. My mobile is for my private use only, not for these 'tards to call me on and try and sell me crap I don't want. Grrr.....
  • Brian
    Hmmmmm the Brian from T-Mobile who replied to William should be sacked for his lack of basic English language. I like keeping the spastics on the line for an hour when they cold call me. My personal record is 2 hours 19 minutes (it was a slow day).
  • blagga
    I'm astounded by how few people have ranted about Orange. As far as I'm concerned, they have been selling my details to a third party provider for years. Same pattern - 0800 number rings, several times a day until you answer and then they claim to be calling from Orange. They're not, because a bit of questioning quickly reveals that they're operating on 'behalf of orange'. I could blow up a building, and say I was operating 'on behalf of the instructions of Jesus Christ' doesn't make it right. And no, I'm not nearing the end of my contract yet, so I honestly can't remember the name of the company they fessed up to be when I said 'no, you're not Orange, are you?' So - when are Orange going to be sued over exactly the same thing? Someone needs to make a fuss, and I suspect I'm posting in the right place!
  • Simon M.
    I'm on T-Mobile and have been cold called by 3. I just strung them along for a bit before hanging up. This has also happened to a friend of mine as well.
  • The B.
    I'm on the tps, I get cold called by no one.
  • Steve C.
    All the networks should be pulled up over this as they all do it. When I first got my iPhone, I was getting calls telling me I should take out insurance from companies making me beleive they were O2, I then phoned o2 to ask whats going on and was told it wasnt them so I asked them to change my number which they said they could do but would have to charge me. I then informed them that I had given no one the number, and they could check that I had not sent a text or made a call from the phone and informed them that I would be taking legal action against them if it continues, suddenly there attitute changed and I was asked what replacement number would be suitible! They told me they would investigate it further but who knows. If they want to know who's using these numbers, all they have to do is go on a website like http://whocallsme.com/ and its all there for them.
  • Phone E.
    What happened to you Steve Clarke was a well known fraud from an illegitimate company!!!!
  • Tim
    Within a week of starting my new contract with TMobile, I was getting calls from 01792 482440, saying they were from "3 the mobile network". I didn't answer until yesterday, when I asked them to take me off their list. We shall see.
  • graeme
    I thought there was something going on when my phone was ready for upgrade I was getting mobbed by network 3 I've never dealt with them before im really wanting to get out of my t mobile contract I hope I can use this against them graeme
  • Josh
    t mobile have took the piss out of me... from overcharged bills to changing the roaming charges without etting me know (cost me a fortune!) and now this ... my calls come from a withheld number and are about financial help!??? i have never gave my mobile number out to a company so it must be them but because its with held i cant prove it ... ive written them a letter threateing legal action if the wont terminate my contract for free... lets see what happens!! has anyone been successful canceling thier contract?
  • Rab M.
    Josh, I have been in touch with them over the matter, much the same as you threatening action if they do not terminate my contract without charge. Fully expecting them to tell me they won't be doing that, will need to brush up on my legal patter if they come back with that. Not going to let this one lie.
  • Owen
    I was getting around 3 calls a day from a company called Mobiles 4U who knew my full name and that my contract was about to expire. O2 has assured me that the info is only available through them, but that they didn't give it out as this is in breach of Data Protection. So who the heck did give it out O2?
  • spannerb
    Hi Tiss is all good news that Tmobile have messed up big time as i have been thinking of leaving them for ages, Have read lots of data and forums but can anyone tell me this for sure, Can i just canx my direct debit ,tell Tmobile i have done this and that they are no longer bother me ever again without the fear of legal action??? spannerb
  • Lennie L.
    The company who have been constantly harrasing us several days time a day are called Phone House, they will not leave us along, we have now made a formal complaint to T Mobile.
  • Janet
    Getting lots of calls-which I have yet to catch before they ring off, from 01792 842440, which is a Mobile Phones shop in Swansea. I'm on O2 and have been for many years, not nearing end of contract, and not looking out to change providers. Seems my details may be on a different sort of mailing list. On the same note, getting lots of calls from a Liverpool number, 0151 707 2125, asking me to take a short memory test, and also saying they are ringing about the accident I had recently. Different names given, but all include the word "Legal". I haven't had an accident! Seems to be coming from the same list!

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