News item

Easier to cancel your mobile contract if you don’t get coverage

Mobile operators and retailers surveyed in a Communications Consumer Panel mystery shopping exercise are changing their contract cancellation policies to make it easier for customers who experience coverage problems.

Panel Chair Anna Bradley said 'we are delighted that the mobile operators are making changes to their policies following pressure from the Consumer Panel. This is great news for consumers'.

Phones4u and Carphone Warehouse are introducing a new 14-day returns policy for coverage and their sales advisors will be trained to understand and explain their policies. Third party retailer policies had been confusing for consumers and sales staff alike. Contracts were based on which network a customer wanted, and whether they were bought in-store, online or through distance selling.

Vodafone has made its in-store coverage returns procedures consistent with its website and telesales policies. This means that wherever they buy their contract, consumers can cancel their contracts within seven days for any reason, including if they get poor coverage.

Orange still does not currently have a formal returns policy for coverage for contracts bought in store. But, it has already given store managers greater power to make decisions on returns, which should make the process more straightforward for consumers. T-Mobile has retained its seven-day cancellation period for customers who experience poor coverage. However, Everything Everywhere, the new parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, has committed to reviewing both policies in the first half of 2011.

02, Tesco Mobile, Virgin and 3, which already had cancellation returns policies that met the Panel’s recommendation for a 14-day minimum returns period, have announced they are retraining all their sales staff to improve their understanding of company policy. 3 will cancel a contract because of poor coverage at any time, but does not advertise this.

Communications Consumer Panel Press Release 10 November 2010