I have had a mobile phone contract with a major British mobile phone company that is also the largest mobile telecommunications network company in the world since the mid 199o’s. Although I could get an up grade mobile phone every year and just sign a contract for a further twelve months, I have actually only done this a few times. These phones get more and more complicated and as soon as you have got used to one and are happy with it, I don’t particularly want to familiarize myself with a later model.
Last autumn I decided to change my phone on the upgrade system. As normal I went to the local store and as normal they want you in and out as quickly as possible because there is a queue behind you. I was given the contract to sign, (normal procedure) and left with the new phone.
I noticed on the monthly account the words “3 months Free insurance £6.49 – Credit 3 months free insurance”.
This occurred again the next month and in January I saw that I had been charged £6.95 insurance. I looked back on the previous months and saw I was charged £7.41 in December. I phoned the accounts department and they told me that this had been included at the time of the “upgrade”. This was never actually pointed out and as on previous visit got given the contract that is in very small print and asked “to sign here” etc.
They agreed to cancel it. On the next bill it occurred again. I phoned them again and they said, it continues for another 30 days after cancellation and billing came into that time again. I hit the roof and said they had sneaked this in, it was busy in their two person store and I was not happy. They agreed to credit the payment back.
I have a couple of phones on that account and when the other one is due to be changed will be very much on my guard. The annual insurance premium will well and truly pay for another phone so with generous insurance commissions, although they don’t make money on the phones, this with calls and downloads will keep that phone company well in profit.
Do take care you don’t sign up for a policy without knowing about it, particularly if it is covered on your household insurance as well.
Philip Suter is a Director of jml Property Services; http://www.jmlproperty.co.uk a UK based company offering Insurance products on line at http://www.jml-property-insurance.co.uk and a holiday home advertising service http://www.jmlvillas.com and management training within the uk. He a travel writer and is a very experienced property consultant with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business in the UK and served on the National Council of ARLA. He is a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)