Why You Can’t Trust EE or T-Mobile in the UK (and Other Telecom Companies)

Since my move to England, I’ve had far too many problems with my mobile phone service. It started when I switch to EE (Everything Everywhere) and found that my iPhone was bleeding data. This resolved eventually, though EE didn’t help me very much.

The day I bought my mobile phone contract, I asked about temporary 3G access for my Mac. When I moved from a temporary apartment to a permanent one, I needed to have internet access while I waited for my broadband to be activated. The salesperson recommended that I buy a T-Mobile USB stick with 3 GB data, good for three months. He said it was a current offer, and might not last long, so I should buy it right away. I asked if it was compatible with OS X, and he said it was. So I spent £30 for the package.

Turns out, he was wrong. I tried to set it up a couple of days ago, and it froze my Mac often, as well as disrupting Bluetooth (my trackpad and keyboard are wireless). So I removed it, and went to the EE store to ask for a refund. To my surprise, I was pretty much laughed out of the store. Since it was more than 14 days after I bought it – even though it doesn’t work – the response in the store was, essentially, “too bad for you.”

Contacting EE, then T-Mobile customer support, they confirmed that, even though the device doesn’t work as I was told, there’s no way I can get a refund. So that’s £30 lost for a piece of crap that doesn’t work. I don’t know if I should fault the salesperson; he might simply have assumed that it would work with OS X correctly. The box has no compatibility information, but the T-Mobile website says it’s compatible with 10.7; that is, the version of OS X that is two years old. T-Mobile can’t be bothered getting the software updated to make it work.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ve found that mobile phone companies and ISPs generally lie about their services here: about bandwidth, pricing, so-called “unlimited” data or call packages and more. It seems that consumers have very little power in this country; or rather that the telecom companies act with impunity saying pretty much what they want with no control. I’m disappointed, and miss the relative simplicity (and lower prices) that I was accustomed to in France. In all my years using the internet and mobile phones in France, I never had as many problems as I have had here in less than two months.

Oh, and the broadband? It was supposed to be set up by June 3; it’s now the 4th, and it’s not on yet…

Update: A Twitter follower pointed out that the Sale of Goods Act says that I should be entitled to a refund. I’ll go back to the shop when I get some time and bring this up. But I don’t feel that I should have to waste this much time because of deceptive sales practices. I’m really surprised that EE/T-Mobile care so little about their customers. These problems have just made me want to go elsewhere.

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1 reply
  1. Chucky says:

    “Since my move to England, I’ve had far too many problems with my mobile phone service.”

    That’s what you get for moving from a civilized country to the Wild Wild West of Ronnie & Maggie’s Anglosphere…

    Reply

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