Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings

31 October 2008

3-Mobile broadband “Catch 22” nightmare!

Filed under: Uncategorized — freelancefundraiser @ 2:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

It started out so simply, as these things do, then grew into a horrific nightmare, leaving me feeling totally helpless, angry and frustrated.

I use a 3-USB mobile broadband modem to link my Asus EeePC (Linux OS) to the internet. Yes, I know 3 doesn’t support Linux, but the system works fine and the Linux software copes with 3 OK.

This morning I receive my monthly statement. “Hang on, it’s £1 more than previous!” I think, looking down the numbers. “They’ve never notified me of any changes.” So I go online and their web page states 5Gb mobile broadband £15 pm. “Hang on, that’s 2Gb more than I get allowance and still only £15?”

I decide to ring them, that is another story in itself. Needless to say, nothing is simple, I have to make at least three separate calls and there is no direct line to customer accounts.

I finally get through to someone in Calcutta or another part of India. Heavy accent, hard to understand. I explain my predicament, why is my bill £1pm more? “Ah, we sent a message via text to your mobile.” “But I don’t have a 3-mobile!”. “Ah, well we also sent it to your Modem Manager.” “But I don’t have one, I’ve never seen one.” “What make of computer are you using?” “An Asus EeePC running on Linux.” “Ah, that will be why, we don’t support Linux. However, if you go online and register with My3, you can get your monthly statement and your charge will remain at £15. Simply register and we will send you a Password to your Modem Manager.” “So how can I receive communications from you, like my Password, if I can’t receive them?” “Please hold while I transfer you to technical support.”

(Pause on hold for a minute)

Person No:2 “Hello, Mr Richards, I understand you have a technical problem?” “No, I have a billing enquiry.” (Explain yet again the Catch 22 scenario) “Oh, that’s easy, simply upgrade your PC to Windows OS and you won’t have a problem.” At this point I erupted. I don’t think I swore, but I did tell him what a pathetic, stupid answer that was and that I chose to run Linux and what were 3 going to do to ensure I received communications from them?

(Pause on hold for a minute)

Person No:3. I go through it all again. At last, someone with answers. “Just put your £-USB Modem SIM card into your 3-mobile phone and you can see the text.” “But I don’t have a 3-mobile phone!” Here comes the clincher: “Ah, well just go the the 3-shop where you bought and take your modem SIM card, ask them to put it in a 3-phone and read your Password.” Well, why didn’t I think of that? Simple. “There’s just one question, how do I receive any future messages from 3 that I don’t know are being sent to me?”

The call ended with the 3rd person asking me was there anything else he could help me with!

Three things really bugged me from this experience:

  1. I think their operators are trained to speak fast, so you can’t get a word in edgeways. They never stopped to listen and let the customer get their point across
  2. All of the operators spoke in such a condesending manner, like, “There, there, it’s all right”
  3. The fact that 3 seem totally unprepared to accommodate Linux as a valid OS to support for their products.

I can’t wait for my contract period to end, so I can change providers!


  1. I too had a nightmare when dealing with 3 Mobile when my contract ended. I rang and asked them for alternative deals, they quoted me a better deal and explained which mobile they could give me. I said I would check our the phone at my local 3 shop.
    I ended up going to Vodaphone, who have a better coverage. At the shop I was given every curtesy, I had the phones explained to me in detail, I could try the functions on them and decided to take their deal.
    I phoned 3 from my mobile while in the shop. It took 15 minutes of sales patter by the 3 call centre employee, whos accent I couldn’t understand, and after the third time of asking him for a PAC code, was abruptly told he’d send me a text with it!
    I received the text message within 2 minutes and while the store was entering the PAC details and initiating my Vodaphone account, my mobile phone rang … it was the 3 mobile call centre ‘Retentions Dept’ who demanded to know why I had changed to Vodaphone when only 3 days previously I’d called them to ask for a different deal.
    I explained simply that I prefered Vodaphone and was then given the third degree as to why I thought they were better and why I hadn’t taken their offer after I’d asked them for one.
    At that point I lost my temper and told them that it was my decision and goodbye!

    I expected to have difficulty changing from 3 Mobile as I’d had a nightmare getting the phone set up in the first instance. Not to mention the wrong billing for another phone number and long tedious phone calls to 3 to get a credit.
    I ended my contract with 3 in November, so now I am awaiting a credit for December’s charges.
    I really hope I don’t have to phone them again.

    A word of warning.. if T3 Mobile calls you, don’t take a contract with them, they are a reseller for 3 Mobile. I originally accepted a contract through them from an unsolicited phone call and decided to cancel it the next day, something didn’t seem right about it.
    During my 4 calls and 2 hours to resolve the matter with T3, who are based in Scotland, I was told that I could not speak to the manager, I could not speak to a supervisor, they had no record of my canceling (even though they state they record all calls)
    I ended up having to contact Trading Standards and quote legal standards to T3 when they refused to cancell the contract, they said “I had no right to do so”. The law on ‘distance selling’ states you have 14 days from the day after you accept any offer over the phone to cancel.
    The final sting in the tail was that I had to go through another multitude of phone calls to 3 Mobile to stop them billing me!! NEVER again.

    Comment by deemensha — 27 November 2008 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  2. Sorry to hear your tale Dee. Seems like they’re not the nice guys they like to be portrayed as! Thanks for taking the time to leave such a detailed comment.

    Comment by freelancefundraiser — 28 November 2008 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

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