Three_Pay_As_You_Go - Faulty device
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If you bought the handset yourself from a retailer (e.g. Carphone Warehouse), then it is the retailer who is responsible for fixing or replacing your phone (not Three or the phone's manufacturer).
Under the Consumer Rights Act, any product you buy must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If your phone develops a fault you may be entitled to a refund or replacement, but it depends on what caused the fault and how old it is. If the phone becomes faulty within six months of buying it, the law assumes the fault was pre-existing and the responsibility is the retailer’s. However, once six months have passed you may be required to prove you did not cause the fault, by dropping it down the toilet for example.
You should know
- You have a 30-day time period to return faulty goods and receive a full refund
- If you decide that you no longer want an item that you bought from a high-street retailer, you are not automatically entitled to a refund
- Even if the product is covered by a manufacturer's warranty, your contract is with the retailer rather than the manufacturer; it is therefore their responsibility to resolve your issue
- If the trader pointed out a defect at the time of the purchase, you are not entitled to a refund
- If you paid by credit card and the amount was more than £100 and less than £30,000, the credit card company may be partly responsible for compensating you
I received a huge phone bill after a holiday abroad
As of June 2017, data roaming charges within the EU have been dropped. The new rules mean network providers will charge the same rates for calls, texts, and data in the EU as they would in the UK.
However, UK network providers differ in the number of countries they will be applying the new rules to. Variations will also occur depending on whether customers are on pay-as-you-go or on contracts. Exceeding text, minute and data allowances will still be chargeable.
We advise travellers to double check the rules with their network providers before using their phone abroad.
What if I no longer want the item?
If you have decided that you no longer want the goods, and you bought them from a high-street retailer or shop, you are not automatically entitled to a refund. The retailer may offer you a credit note so that you can purchase other goods, but they are not obliged to do this.
If you made your purchase online or over the phone then you have a 14 day cooling off period in line with the Consumer Contracts regulations. If, within 14 days of receiving your purchase, you decide you want to return or exchange a Device or Accessory you should contact Three to let them know.
What if the goods are on sale?
Regardless of whether the goods are on sale, they should be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. If there is an issue, you have the same rights as if you bought new or at full retail price, unless the fault was pointed out to you at the time of purchase. If the trader pointed out a defect at the time of the purchase, you are not entitled to a refund.
How long is the guarantee?
Your retailer will have a time-limited guarantee on the product, but even if it is outside of that time you may be able to claim. The law is ambiguous on what a guarantee is and what is deemed reasonable. Six months can be expected as a reasonable minimum, but you need to take into account a reasonable lifespan for the product, how much was paid for it and its overall quality.
Under the law, you have six years to take a claim to court for faulty goods, but after six months there is a shift of responsibility from the retailer to the consumer to prove responsibility of the issue. At this point, you may need to prove the problem existed when you purchased the goods and it has taken time for the issue to become apparent. You might also need to provide a report from an expert to support your claim.
If the retailer says the product is outside of its guarantee but there is a manufacturer warranty, it might ask you to contact the manufacturer directly. However, your contract is with the retailer and not the manufacturer: it is therefore the retailer's responsibility to resolve and rectify the issue.
If you paid by credit card
If you paid by credit card, and the amount was more than £100 and less than £30,000 (including VAT), you should contact your credit card company to see whether you are covered by ‘equal liability’ (sometimes called Section 75). This is very often the case, and simply means that your credit card provider is jointly responsible with the trader for compensating you when things go wrong.
The rights described here are the statutory minimum and some retailers may offer enhanced terms and conditions.
All devices purchased directly from Three after 1st January 2014 are unlocked. This means that it will be possible to use them on other networks. If you purchased your phone/device before that then you should contact Three who will be able to detail how to get the phone unlocked.
Can I send my case to an ombudsman?
The main ombudsman for the retail sector is provided by Ombudsman Services.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Certified third-party mediators, called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers, are available to all businesses to help when a dispute cannot be settled directly with the consumer. The system offers a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than going via the courts. Once the internal complaint process is exhausted, businesses must give the consumer details of a certified ADR provider and tell the consumer if it is willing to use them. However, businesses do not have to use ADR unless they operate in a sector where existing legislation makes it mandatory, such as in financial services.
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