You can catch up on parts 1-6 here:

Yesterday morning I received another call from Three’s Scottish Executive.  It was the same woman that I’d dealt with the day before, Lorna.

She’s investigated my complaint.

The short version is she’d spoken to the girl in the Three shop in the St Nicholas Centre, Aberdeen who’d sold me the contract and she’d also spoken to the manager of the shop. The salesperson denied selling me the contract / handset on the basis of the process to change numbers to my new phone. The manager was backing her up. [I omitted to mention that the manager had played no part in our discussions and more importantly the final part of the conversation between the saleswoman and myself was witnessed by my wife and heard her go over the steps I needed to follow.]

However the woman at the Scottish Executive believed my version of events. I had by my account far too much information on the process which I could only have learned from someone in the shop.

She agreed that I’d been mis-sold the contract.

I suggested that there were two options

  • cancel the contract as mis-sold, or
  • sort out getting my new handset working with my old number.

She agreed and was happy to follow either path.

I chose the latter. Cancelling the contract would have meant me looking around for another contract with another network and trying to get my existing number transferred to that. At this stage (almost a month after I took delivery of the Samsung Galaxy S2 and set it up to my satisfaction, I couldn’t face that).

So I opted to stay with them, not through any loyalty – which has evaporated – but through a fear of further frustrating process. She assured me that while there is no process at Three for transferring numbers in the way described to me (as the process was designed to move or ‘port’ numbers between networks) she would get it fixed that day.

I suggested that given the problems I’d faced (and the fact that the shop, with which I’ve dealt with for three years, were now calling me a liar) it would be a nice goodwill gesture for them to write off any outstanding balance on the old contract. She accepted that without question – so at least I don’t have to pay the £36 or so that remained there.

A call back from Three some three hours later confirmed that my number had been transferred, and the outstanding balance of the old contract wiped.

She mentioned that the staff at the store will be dealt with under Three’s internal management processes.

While I am grateful to Lorna for sorting this out to my satisfaction I think it worth reflecting on a few lessons.

  • The saleswoman at the Three store in St Nicholas Centre, Aberdeen behaved appallingly – selling me a new contract based on a process which did not exist and in so doing mis-sold the contract. [My wife speculated that the salesperson had a target to meet for the month and so got me to sign up on 30th July to help their sales figures – I’ve no evidence of this.] She compounded her wrong doings by them calling me a liar to her Customer Service team. I know that in my own organisation this would be investigated and dealt with.
  • The manager at the same Three store behaved as badly by believing his employee’s account while not having witnessed the mis-selling. He also failed to return a call after my requesting one when I went back to the shop on 14th August and left a clear message for him.
  • I was left struggling badly to sort this out as the Mumbai-based customer service centre were unable to sort out issues such as this.
  • The Social Media Team at three were great at contacting me when these matters came to light on Twitter but there was no follow up from the Customer Service people to deal with my complaint for well over a week. This added to the frustration I felt.
  • The Scottish Executive team at Three (in the guise of Lorna) were able to sort it out quickly once they’d taken on board what I said – but despite my whole account being posted on this blog they hadn’t read it and I had to repeat the whole story for the umpteenth time. The internal flow of communication between teams could be much better.
  • Writing these blog posts and pushing them to Twitter did get my problem noticed and ultimately dealt with. If I hadn’t done that how long would it taken to resolve and how might I have had to do it? As my wife added, how would someone without a blog and Twitter account get their problems sorted out?
  • Lastly, Three does not (I’ve been told emphatically) have a process for a customer to buy themselves early out of a contract, take on a new handset and transfer the former number to it. To me that seems crazy and a wasted business opportunity – I know several people in similar positions in my workplace who would love to do exactly that.

So, how do I fill my evenings now……?


The Three phone problem saga part 7 – the end!
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