A word of advice, consumer to consumer

A smart phone is a staple piece of equipment for most of us these days and when I chose my last one (on contract, as most people choose, to avoid a hefty up front investment of a few hundred quid on a phone and also because they include all the texts, minutes and internet access you could possibly need), I was mostly concerned about what the phone looked like and how it ran. I toyed with the idea of leaving my beloved Android for a trendy iphone before choosing a smaller, smarter version of what I’d had. Side note, next phone I get will be a big clunky thing because size doesn’t really matter- cue giggles- in my handbag.



But over the past 14 months, I’ve learnt a very valuable lesson. When buying a contract phone your biggest consideration ought to be the network.

Disclaimer: this review/comparison is based on my experience only.

  
I opted for Vodafone last year, it was a couple of quid a month cheaper than the same phone and contract on other networks. Ever hear of the saying ‘You buy cheap, you buy twice?’ I experienced months of arguing about signal, having to keep a diary of the times I couldn’t call out or send a text without hitting ‘retry’ six, seven, eight times. I couldn’t use the phone at home or in my office unless I used wifi and I even had trouble in Leeds city centre! After months of complaining and diary keeping of the difficulties I had a nominal amount credited to my account.

The problems resolved briefly.

I continued to have difficulties and hoped that when I moved offices the signal at work, at least, would improve. It didn’t.

I tried to leave my contract, not getting what I’m paying for every month, and Vodafone refused but offered me a signal booster (which runs, as far as I can tell, from your home wifi, query why I bother paying for a phone contract). They said this would be free due to the ongoing problems but when an additional £75 come out of my bank account despite my checking on two occasions that this wouldn’t happen I was less than happy. I requested a refund and raised acomplaint when they refused to a) send this by faster payment or b) let me speak to a manager.

The complaint was escalated when I sent it to the exec’s office only for me to end up speaking to a rude advisor who confirmed that the refund would be 5 to 10 working days from that date (4 days after I’d been told the refund would take 5 days maximum). To avoid you having to do the maths this means that Vodafone will have 75 of my hard earned engligh pounds for nearly three entire weeks. Not exactly ideal. Especially when they shouldn’t have taken this in the first place.

When I challenged this I was spoken to rudely, without respect and told that I should be grateful to have the signal booster at all (we didn’t get into the hassle I’d faced having it delivered). I did point out that the only reason I needed a signal booster at all was Vodafone’s poor service.

 

Or not, as the case may be.
 
Meanwhile, Mrs Lipstickatweekends (my wife) has a contract with O2. Excellent signal, excellent perks (hit up O2 priority for deals) and when she wanted to upgrade the assistant in the White Rose branch was so helpful and efficient that we ended up contacting O2 to commend her. I certainly know which I’d recommend!

This post may seem negative but when you’re stuck in a contract with a company that appear not only not value their customers but also don’t deliver the service that’s being paid for 24 months is a long, long time.

I’d urge anyone who reads this post to think carefully when choosing a phone contract because not all the giant players are as good as the next. Roll on the date I can leave this network!

If you’re having similar problems to me, the Ombudsman website is useful as is making the problems known to the network. 

Have you had similar troubles? What networks would you recommend?

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