Mobile Phones & Service Providers

There is a bewildering choice of phones, packages and deals available when buying a new mobile phone. It’s big business. It’s also top of the list when it comes to consumer complaints!

When choosing a new mobile, you are not only selecting the phone (or the handset), you are dealing with the retailer and choosing a package from a network provider. In effect there are three separate entities – and you need to know which one of the three to go back to if there is a problem with any aspect of your purchase or agreement.

Choosing the right phone

Phones these days come with an array of mind-boggling features – cameras are virtually standard now, as is the ability to surf the web and play MP3s and video clips. You can also use your phone to access your emails, download digital media, supply sat nav info, make mobile video calls, organize your life and so on. But how many of us use all the facilities on our phones on a regular basis? If you only want to make calls, text and send the odd picture message, then there is no point paying over the odds for one with loads of bells and whistles. Always best to check out the websites for the individual network providers such as O2, Orange or T-Mobile, or the high street retailers such as Phones4u or The Carphone Warehouse – and do this before you go in. Then you won’t get talked into anything you’re not familiar with!

Pay As You Go or Pay Monthly?

When you buy a phone you will have the choice of a ‘pay as you go’ or a ‘pay monthly’ phone. Pay As You Go or Prepaid plans tend to be more expensive per minute than the monthly tariff, but they can be very useful for people who don’t use their mobile phone much, have limited budgets, or want greater control over their children’s mobile use. The Monthly plans are cheaper and offer a wider range of bells and whistles phones, but you will have to sign a minimum term contract with a network provider and pay a fixed fee each month – although you will probably receive an allowance of free minutes or texts within this fee.

Choosing the right network

The network provider you end up with depends on the type of phone you choose and where you go to buy it. If you opt for a Pay Monthly phone, you will be entering into a contract with this network provider so check the terms of the contracts carefully and ask the sales consultant to explain carefully what your obligations and liabilities are – this is their job, and not to do so or to gloss over such detail when requested is mis-selling. Pay particular attention to the length of time you are ‘tied in’ to the contract. If you simply change your mind, you will not be able to switch to an alternative network provider and may not be able to change tariff. Also remember that by committing to a particular network provider you also commit to their coverage area and fees. So you may find that your friend who is ‘on’ Orange can get reception while you can’t. Not much you can do about this.

Choosing the right deal

Again – there is a huge choice of packages to chosse from. If you agree on a minimum payment each month, you will receive a free number of minutes or texts, although these only may be off-peak, or to certain numbers, so don’t be mislead. So have a think about when you use your phone – during the day, evenings weekends? Choose a tariff that gives you a better deal based on when you make most of your calls. Remember also to bear in mind the cost of the following as they may well not be included in your ‘free minutes’

  • Peak time calls
  • Calls to those on another network
  • Calls to voicemail
  • International or premium rate numbers
  • Directory enquiry services
  • Downloading data from the web
  • Sending picture messages or video clips

When it all goes wrong…

You have certain statutory rights for the purchase of a product as provided for in the Sale of Goods Act. These rights refer to standards of quality you should expect and what you can do if it fails to meet these standards.If there is an obvious fault with the phone at any time within the first 6 months and it has not been caused by wear and tear or misuse, your first port of call must be the shop you bought it from. They have the responsibility to put the matter right, and should not evade this responsibility by referring you to the manufacturer in the context of a guarantee or warranty.

In the first instance the seller must offer to at least repair the phone. They must do this within reasonable time, at no additional cost to you and without causing any significant inconvenience. For this reason you should be given a replacement phone on a like for like basis (and not simply the cheapest and most basic model). Many consumer complaints relate to the length of time the phone is away being repaired – and although you must allow reasonable time for repair, the law does not say what ‘reasonable time’ is. Taking into account the nature and size of the product however, we would define this time as no more than two weeks.

If the repair is taking an unacceptable length of time to fix, if it can’t be fixed or if it develops the fault again, you are then within your rights to request a replacement. Again, this must be done within reasonable time, at no additional cost to you and without causing any significant inconvenience.

If the repair / replace remedies have been unsuccessful, you then have two further options. Firstly, you can then request they reduce the purchase price to an appropriate amount (although this does not affect your ability to take return the item if something else goes wrong). Secondly, and only after the repair/replace remedies have been attempted, you can request a refund. You should be aware however that if you have had the phone for several months, the refund given may well take account of any use you have had of the phone since you bought it.

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82 comments… add one

  • Catriona 28 August, 9:30 pm

    Karol – the shop must be your first and only port of call, you should never be referred to the manufacturer or anyone else, although if you do complain to them they may well take action. The shop assistant probably has no idea of your rights so ask to escalate the problem to somebody more senior who does. The shop are correct to insist on a repair in the first instance, but are in breach of s.48 if they refuse to offer you a like for like replacement (see coments above about inconvenience). Unless of course the repair will only take a few hours – which is unlikely.

  • Lesley 11 November, 12:15 am

    I took out a contract with the carphonewarehouse about 6 weeks ago. My phone broke 2 weeks ago (2 days after the 28 day exchange policy!). Just switched itself off one day, wasnt accidental damage or anything, manufacturer fault. Anyway, I havent received a replacement phone. I had a call on thursday last week to say the phone was ready for collection. Went down to the shop (had to pay £5 of petrol and also parking costs) to be told that actually it wasnt ready for collection. Same thing happened on Friday. Same thing happened on Saturday. I phoned them again today to be told it has been fixed but hasn’t arrived back in store yet.
    Due to the inconvenience of going down there 3 times and spending a small fortune in the meantime I emailed a complaint.
    The reply I got was basically its showing on the systems its ready to collect, I hoep you find this satisfactory!
    Well actaully it isnt ready to collect, Im still paying for my contract for which Im not using because I dont even have a replacement phone!
    I dont know where I stand here and obviously Im getting more and more annoyed at how very good they are at wasting my time and money going to the shop when its not actaully ready yet!
    It will be 14 days tomorrow that the phone has been in for repair without a replacement and I was told on the phone today that it wont be ready to collect tomorrow as they have had their delivery for today. They also said they will phone me back once they have spoken to the technical team to see why the phone hasnt arrived in store yet by 5.30pm this evening, and guess what – no phone call!

  • Sam 11 November, 7:11 pm

    I got my sons mobile in August and it broke September and because it was out of the 28 day policy they sent it off to be repaired. I got it back after two weeks (16th October), now it has the same problem again, What can i do?

  • Catriona 12 November, 11:10 pm

    Sam – this is a very common problem. If the same problem keeps reoccurring you could argue that the manufacturer’s attempts to fix it have not worked and you would like an exchange. However most suppliers do not regard 2 attempts as excessive. Make it clear to the retailer that this is the last time and any if further problems occur you will be looking for an alternative remedy (as per your rights under Sale of Goods)

  • Catriona 12 November, 11:45 pm

    Lesley, the law says you should not suffer significant inconvenience if an item is faulty. For this reason most mobile retailers offer a replacement phone while yours is away. You should now request one (they may charge you a returnable deposit). The law also says you should not be put to any additional costs – clearly you have, and if you have kept receipt for parking etc you would be well placed to claim this money back also.

  • david 10 December, 10:38 pm

    i recently discovered that my network provider has changed the way my inclusive minutes are used, previously it had been done per second but now each time i make a call a minimum of 1 minute is used regardless of how long i have been on the phone my phone bill has jumped from £20 to £80 per month, the change took place in september and my network provider claim they sent me notification although im sure i didnt recieve the letter, ive sifted through the 30 pages of small print and there is a section which says they can do this provided they give a months notice i was wondering is this legal? can you legally put a clause in a contract which alows you to change the orignall agreed pricing? it just seems ridiculous surely a contract has to work both ways it has to bound them as much as bounds the consumer ?

  • Steve 14 December, 8:50 pm

    My son got a phone for his birthday from ‘Vodaphone’. It went wrong within 4 weeks but outside the 14 day money back promise. They claim that they have the right to try to fix it 4 times before they consider what action to take then! It is now in repair for the second time. Do I have the right to insist that 2 times is adequate and reasonable and that a replacement phone be issued now with all the same protections as if buying it new?

  • Michael 15 December, 10:07 pm

    Hello Catriona (Again!),

    I bought a phone online from a company and they offered a free TV with the product for which I still have the invoice.

    The television has since developed a fault where serious ghosting occurs, impairing the vision on the television making it very difficult to watch.

    It is within 6 months of owning the ‘free gift’, is my issue with the online provider of the phone contract as the free gift was an accompanient to the contract and purchased at the same time or is my problem with the manufacturer of the television.

    I have written an e-mail requesting the the provider of the phone contract sort this out to no avail.


  • Catriona 16 December, 12:16 am

    David, It may be an unfair term if they did not give you reasonable notice and the opportunity to cancel the agreement. For more info see:

  • Catriona 16 December, 12:54 am

    Steve, the law does not make mention of how many times an item should be repaired before they will offer a replacement, apart from avoiding ‘significant inconvenience’ to you . I would argue any more than two is unreasonable and I would let them know that if it happens again, you will be seeking a replacement under Sale of Goods. 4 times seems a little ridiculous, and I would say this is probably an unfair term. See:

    • traynor 10 September, 1:14 pm

      In terms of replacement phones, most providers will work on a like for like basis. Even if this is within warranty or if you have insurance. They do not HAVE to change the model of the phone, by law they are only responsible for providing you with a working phone. In certain circumstances you may be offered a different model. But it is not a statuary right that you are entitled to get one. Therefore you would be told in the event that you were having multiple issues, they may offer a different model. It is usually 3 or more same faults.
      The phone is not part of the contract with your provider therefore when it is outside of the first 6 months due to sales of good act (Stating that any retailer/seller of goods are responsible for within first 6 months) Or if you have insurance or even if the provider has their own warranty policy… outside of any of these… It falls back then on the manufacturers guarentee.

  • Catriona 16 December, 1:06 am

    Hello Michael, I’m afraid Sale of Goods doesn’t cover free gifts. the contract of sale you had was in regard to the phone and not the TV. In this case you would have to look to the new Consumer Protection Regs 2008. These cover mis-selling practices and info about them can be found here:

  • Michael 16 December, 3:50 pm

    So if the television has developed a fault, do I have any legs to stand on as I have no proof of purchase apart from my invoice from the online phone company.

    So if I want to complain to the manufacturer the best I can expect is a replacement?


  • Catriona 22 December, 11:16 pm

    Michael, It would reasonable to expect the TV to last. If it does not, you must allow the supplier to repair it in the first instance. If they cannot, they should provide a replacement within reasonable time.

  • Andy Harrison 15 January, 8:06 am

    I bought 2 contract phones for myself and my son, and a pay as you go for my youngest son.
    Unfortunetly mine was damaged some how and the screen is cracked obviously my fault however, having paid for the insurance I returned to the shop only to be told that my ID number on the phones didn’t match the insurance. I went away and sent of an email to the site to see why this was the case however, having checked my bill the ID for the phones is on there. They replied to the email in which they state I tried to get a new phone, where in actual fact I was trying to get my phone repaired on the insurance.
    On the next visit I produced a recent bill, only to be told that the insurance is for loss or theft, where as the previous visit they’d told me it could be repaired through the insurance.
    Now I’m sat here wondering do I just buy a new phone or do I pass this on further, as they refuse to answer my emails and I get no joy from the shop, it strikes me that mis-selling insurance policies is a key point.


  • Catriona 15 January, 1:04 pm

    Andy, I’m surprised accidental damage is not included in the policy. The question is how it was sold to you when you bought it. If accidental damage was mentioned by the retailer you can claim it was missold. You can then escalate the issue on this basis. But do double check your policy – it could be just what they are telling you.

  • Lynne 15 February, 1:02 am

    Hi, I bought a mobile phone from the orange shop which broke a the hinge after 8 months. I took it back to the shop who informed me that because it was bought over 6 months ago, it would cost £15 plus VAT for it to be sent away to be fixed although the sales assistant informed me that it might not be fixable and implied that I may have dropped it, which I hadn’t! When I stated that I wasn’t keen on paying money and then finding that they couldn’t fix it, she suggested contacting motorola direct to see if they would send a courier free of charge to uplift the phone! Surely the buck stops with Orange since I bought the mobile from them? Have I any consumer rights here?

  • Catriona 18 February, 2:07 pm

    Lynne, you shouldn’t have to pay anything if the item is genuinely faulty, although you may be asked to pay upfront for them manufacturer to confirm that this is the case. You are correct, the buck does stop with Orange, although they would only send it to Motorola anyway, so in reality, it’s often more efficient to contact the manufacturer directly and arrange a collection by them.

  • fi 7 March, 4:53 am

    hi can any one tell me is there a 14 day cooling off peirod . I have entered intered into an 18 month contract for a mobil phone with carphone warehouse 5 days ago and have changed my mind .? The contract was taken out in store . Can i cancle the contract

  • Catriona 9 March, 2:48 pm

    Fi, there may be a goodwill cooling off period on offer as per their Ts and Cs, but you don’t have a cooling off period by law if you signed up in store. See:

  • kim 10 March, 4:00 pm

    My mum took out a contract phone for me with orange through Phones 4U in December. My phone developed a speaker fault in January and I got a replacement on January 19th as it was outside the 28 days. I was told i would need to have the same fault 3 times before I could choose a different handset. Now the same thing has happened again with the new phone which I have only had for 7 weeks. I went into Phones 4 you this afternoon and I was told all they could offer was to send it for repair. this is the 2nd phone in 3 months. Can you please advise if I am entitled to get a replacement or will I have to send away for repair

  • Catriona 12 March, 12:05 am

    Kim, please refer to: for your answers to this. If a repair cannot be carried out satisfactorily you can get a replacement, but only in this case. There is no hard and fast rule about how may times something has to go wrong before it can be replaced, although 3 times seems to be the norm with a lot of mobile phone companies. It sounds like you would have a good claim for loss of faith in the product, in which case I would demand a replacement, with the threat that you will be seeking a refund if further faults develop. With regard to sending it back, the law states you should not encounter significant inconvenience, to avoid this and bearing in mind your circumstances, you would be within your rights to demand a like for like replacement.

  • kim 12 March, 1:30 am

    hi Catriona, the phone is a contract so was not purchased. Was into phones 4U again and they are still refusing to give me a replacement phone as it is out of the 28days exchange thingy. this is coming from their head office. They are being difficult! so really don’t know what to do now

  • Catriona 13 March, 1:18 pm

    Kim, as I said there is nothing specified in the law as to how often something needs to be repaired before you can request a replacement. retailers interpret this as they like. They shouldn’t be talking about the warranty, as this is irrelevant. If I were you I would forget about P4U and go to the manufacturer. Explain the problem and request a replacement phone from them, be confident, get their name and don’t get off the phone until they do. It’s worked for me in the past.

  • Kris 8 March, 4:34 pm

    I bought a phone on contract with 3mobile in November 2009, since then my phone has become faulty. Like signal suddenly dissapearing, phone calls suddenly disconnecting (which is bad considering i spend most of my working day on phone to clients and such) which are network faults. And then theres the ACTUAL faults on the phone, which include slowness of general function and the phone actually freezing as well as turning itself off.

    I went into 3 to tell them, they said to upgrade the phones software. Which i did, and then i had the same old faults so went back in to complain. They said they can send it off for repair, and if it comes back still faulty to repeat the progress up to 3 times before they will consider swapping the phone. In the meantime i would have to pay a £30 deposit on a pay as you go phone whilst my contract phone was in repair. I assume that i have to pay for credit for this loaned phone, which means paying for how long they take to repair. I can’t afford the deposit let alone paying for credit ontop of my contract. Is there anything else that i can do?


  • Mark 20 March, 8:52 pm

    I have had an 18 month contract with the carphone warehouse whisch is due to end in august. However i have made a mulitude of issues with the mobile phone i am currently on phone number 4.

    the first phone continuely frooze this was replaced in store.
    the second phone turned my phone off when it charged after 2 visits i got my third phone.
    this afta a few days developed a fault whereby it wouldn’t lock, so from my pocket i managed a few text messages and a phone call or 3.
    I returned the phone and it was sent away for repairs. I recieved a letter saying that the phone could not be repaired due to “water damage”. I returned to the store and lifted my phone on switching it on i found that the touch screen was unresponsive. so i then had to buy a mobile phone to see me through the weekend. nd then returned to the store where i was informed i would have to pay the insurance excess of £29.50 which i paid. i eventually got my new phone.

    I have since contacted the Carephone warehouse’s complaints department.

    Their reply nothing but apologies.
    what i can’t understand is how a working mobile suddenly stopped working only after being returned for repairs.

    Is there any breach of the sale of goods act? and if so what advice would you offer?

  • Cameron 1 April, 1:47 am

    I have had my contract mobile phone since january and all has been going well until an accident to my touch screen developed a small spider web like crack however it has produced cracks through the screen, do i have any legal rights to get this fixed through my contract with virgin mobile/media??

    With thanks

  • Bri 15 April, 2:32 am

    I have an 18 month contract with 3mobile which started over six months ago, the screen started to go wierd and could not see any display at all, to my knowledge i hadnt banged it and definately didnt drop it and there were no cracks on the outside of the screen but tiny lines underneath, 3 have said because they believe its been damaged i have to pay £74.99 for it to be fixed because the warranty doesnt cover for a cracked screen, how do i stand with regards to my rights please ? they also said there just the network provider and nothing to do with the phone !

  • Matt Benfield 17 April, 4:44 pm

    My phone was 2 months old and the screen stopped working, I took it to the shop who sent it off, it came back saying it was water damaged. The phone has not been near water, so I feel it must have been water damaged before or while it was away, they said it could be moisture in the air, I feel if a 2 month old phone can get water damage from moisture in the air, it is not fit for purpose, is there anything I can do.

  • gillian 7 May, 1:02 pm

    i got a contract phone in december its beem back for repaire twice do i have a replacement like for like phone or can i get a diffrent phone

  • Nathan 18 May, 4:14 pm


    My girlfriend is having an issue with O2. She brought a samsung phone in an 18 month contract. She has a year left to go and the phone has gone wrong. It overheats and the battery lasts about 20 mins even without being used. O2 have since repaired the phone and the problem returned. Yesterday they replaced the phone with the same make and model, this phone promptly lasted a total of 12 hours and developed the exact same fault. O2 have said that all they can do is send it off for repair. All my girlfriend wants is to have a different phone in replacement as this is obviously a fault with that make and model. She does not want to upgrade to anything flash, just wants a phone that works of the same standard. Is there anything she can do or say do get them to replace with a different model. At the moment all I can see is that she will be sending her phone off to O2 for repair or replacement for the next 12 months of the contract.

  • david 14 June, 7:04 pm

    hi i have a nokia n97 mini on contract , i got this from the internet . my phone had to go for repair and ive got it back it has started with the same faults , the last time it was in for repair it took 3 1/2 weeks and i was never offered a phone to use while mine was getting repaired. im taking my phone in asgain for repair do they have to give me a phone to use while mine is in for repair.many thanks

  • Adam 17 June, 1:12 pm

    Just wondered if you could clarify where consumer rights come in. I usually pay for insurance from th emoment i upgrade my phone.

    I am due an upgrade now. However, i have been looking around on the net, and before committing to any insurance policy this time, i wondered what the manufacturers standard warranty should be?

    Whilst i understand that paying insurance will cover theft, loss and damage such as ‘water damage’, or a cracked screen from dropping the handset for instance, which will not be covered any other way….

    What should a standard manufacturers warranty cover, and for how long? The point i am getting to is that is it generally pointless to pay extra insurance for a mobile phone, if anything that goes wrong with it, which is deemed to be no fault of the buyer, should be covered legally in any case (Sale Of Goods act for instance)?

    I usually get my upgrades from Orange direct, so if i am reasonably covered for faults which haven’t occured due to damage, is there any need to take out insurance (unless it is for theft etc)?

    If not, i will tell Orange that i won’t take out insurance this time, or at least until the standard legal warranty period has passed.


    • Adam 17 June, 1:44 pm

      I have just thouugh with regards to my previous post, that as i am buying direct from Orange it would probably be covered under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982

  • PJ 24 July, 1:58 pm

    I recently upgraded my phone, the company sent me (their mistake) 2 phones, I have let them know twice by phone that the phone is waiting for collection. When does this phone become mine. I have read that if something is posted to you without asking, it maybe treated as a gift, is this correct? How long legally do they have, or can I use the phone now?

  • cilla 23 August, 7:58 pm

    got a phone in april, anyway to cut a long story short, it wont charge, took it back to the shop, they sent it away. in a few days had aphone call to say that the connector to the battery had disconnected and it wont charge up. they said it was wear and tear. any help please.

  • Amy 20 September, 2:03 pm

    I have recently 2 months ago taken out a contract with t-mobile on a nokia x6 the phone keeps freezing and deletes my txts when i am half way through writing them. I have so far had 2 exchanges and a repair and it came back with the same problem. I have rang t-mobile and they will not give me a different handset and it costs to much for me to cancel my bill. has anyone got any advice for me to get a different handset out of t-mobile

  • Anna-Marie Smith 22 November, 5:25 pm

    Hi I am with Orange. I have a contract with them for unlimited text messages and 400 minutes as well as free emails. since February i have been charged at least £200 a month instead of the agreed £18.00 a month. The reason for this was because they had made a mistake with the contract and charged me for every text and only allowed me to have 200 minutes. I have a contract to prove that the unlimited texts and 400 minutes were agreed and signed. The shop assistant has taken a copy of this and as far as i know have faxed this on to get it sorted and to arrange to have my money back. The other problem as a result of this is that this had pushed me over my overdraft and i had incured overdraft fees. at one point i was charged £117 in overdraft fees. What are my rights? am i entitled to compensation? Please help. Thank you

    • Liam 11 September, 10:16 pm

      I assume you pay by Direct Debit as otherwise I doubt you would have paid £200 when you dispute the amount. In that case I think you are covered by the Direct Debit guarantee, which I think basically says that if there is an error you can get refunds on bank charges. You should approach your bank immediately about this as the gaurentee only covers a certain amount of time after the charges occur, maybe 10 days??? If the bank are unable to refund the bank charges for one reason or another, supply proofs to the mobile phone company of the error bills causing the bank charges, and they should refund them.

      Compensation over the amount of the bank charges is a hard thing to claim, but if you have been inconvenienced by the charges then you can ask for compensation. But there is no guidance/precedence for how much compensation you are entitled to. You may just get £10 or something.

  • amit 26 November, 11:14 pm

    i bought two mobile monthly contract from mobile connection shop for orange natwork. This shop person offer me 100% cash back gaurantee in installment of 6th month, 12th month and 18th month. but one this shopman is run away without paying me any cashback before 3 year ago. so i also stop to pay bill of orange. now debt collection agency of orange calling me for repayment. What should i have to do? please advise me about it.

    • Liam 11 September, 10:08 pm

      You really shouldn’t have stopped paying as that brings you into conflict with Orange when your problem was with the shop that sold you the phone. If the shop that sold you the phone refuses to deal with your complaint go higher (manager, owner, ofcom). You can also approach Orange as they are supposed to ensure standards with regards to their third party dealers. But NEVER just stop paying bills to your Service Provider without first logging an official complaint, because if you do not give your Service Provider a chance to resolve your problem then you are fully responsible for any consequences from not paying your bills, which can include Credit File issues. In a situation like this where the issue is not with the Service Provider, but with a Third Party dealer, the Service Provider may act on your behalf to resolve the issue or may give you some really good advice on how to deal with the situation.

  • Tom 23 December, 10:57 am

    Hi there i am in a 24 month contract with O2 on a 3gs iphone i am also out of my warranty period. there is a fault with my phone as it keeps losing signal. i can be sat next to someone with the same phone & provider, they will have full signal & i will have none at most times!!! Do i have any rights to act on!!!


    • Liam 11 September, 10:00 pm

      Unfortunately this is one of those life lessons where if you choose to risk not taking insurance and something happens, you have to live the consequences of your choice. You could always approach the manufacturer (Apple) and do some groveling, but with no insurance or warranty they are not really obliged to do anything.

  • kady 18 January, 4:51 pm

    i have got a contract out from orange, in September, it then went on to have a fault, i received a replacement phone and again it developed a fault. this ha happened 5 times now!!! when i phoned orange care they said i was allowed a 6th replacement phone! again of the same phone and manufacture! no doubt will this fault reacure! what are my rights?

    • Liam 11 September, 9:57 pm

      In this circumstance they are only obliged to offer an replacement (though it isn’t great customer service). Unless you keep having the same fault and can prove with evidence that it is an inherent fault with the model of the phone. In this case you can claim the phone is not fit for purpose which is covered in Sales of Goods Act, and you would be able to return it. But it can be hard thing to prove unless you get a statement out of the manufacturer.

  • mark 8 February, 7:17 pm

    bought pay and go from orange. started playing up after two days. took back said they couldnt swap unless they witnessed it themselves not working.. is this true? has now stopped working again and wont tern on. taking it back again today to see what they say but no doubt they will come up with another reason! stay away from orange!!!

    • Liam 11 September, 9:54 pm

      It is true. They have to witness the fault. Overwise, everyone could just lie and say their phones are faulty to get a return/refund/whatever.

  • Dave lowe 28 February, 2:05 pm

    Hi I purchase an iPhone 3GS aprox 10 months ago from Tesco on a 12 month contract. A few days ago the back light started to go off all the time I told Tesco who sent out a parcel to be repaired. Three days later they contacted me and said ther refuse to repair it because of the damage. The only damage to te phone was the screen not working when I sent it. They said it had internal damage and a crack to the outer case. I told them this must have happened in transit as it was ok when I sent it. Now they have sent it back to me and it doesn’t even work any more and there telling me it’s my responsibility to claim off royal mail although Tesco supplied the packaging and postage are they correct. Dave

  • samantha harding 11 March, 3:56 pm

    i had contacted virgin due to constant errors with my phone then i was informed i am able to try for two contract. this was only way i could get a good working mobile so i said i would like to take one out. got mob 18th feb 2011 after 8days used my 100min but was never told that 0800 numbers wouldnt be covered by free mins. so now virgin are trying to get 97.78 for four days of using mob for 5-10 mins a time. pls help 07847119294

  • mrs mm 7 June, 12:46 am

    02 are very very bad at customer service,when my daughters phone has not worked since she bought it 7 months ago, they blamed her after we took it to an 02 shop nearer to where we live not knowing it is a franchise!!it has been 2 weeks and now they are demanding £100 to repair a phone which is not her fault, a replacment phone we were told would cost £25.00 to borrow, i will be going to sort this problem out as my daughter does not know her rights!!!!they were so sweet to her when they wanted her money, she is in uni, and she cannot afford the hassle, truly disgusting behaviour from 02,

    • Liam 11 September, 9:50 pm

      That sounds bad, but to balance it out, if the phone hadn’t been working since the beginning it would have been best to go back to the shop within 28 days as you have a lot of rights within the first 28 days. Then within the first 6 months you have a lot of rights. After 6 months, it can be hard to get a Service Provider to do anything as the law is one their side. Waiting until the 7th month to get this sorted was a bad move.

  • steph hackett 8 July, 11:42 am

    hello, my mum brought me a blackberry curve 8520 for a early christmas present , well its been sent for repair 4 times, first time was error messages which they claimed to have fixed and sent the phone back to me , well then the 2nd time the camera would freeze then i would need to re set the phone , i did the same took to the shop sent for repair but they sent a new one, well then the trackpad stopped working , same thing to the shop sent for repair got a new one, then i got error messages again so same old same old got a new one, im not on the 3rd blackberry 2 replacments

    each time its within warrenty

    what do i do ?

  • DWB 9 July, 7:39 pm

    I took out an xperia x10 on contract in May 2010, I took out the insurance at an extra cost of £13.99 per month. In my first month I had issues with phone and was straight away given an exchange, new phone worked ok, then several months later the phone was not recieving texts or calls whilst in a full signal area, after several visits back and forth to carphone warehouse I was eventually given a new phone. Fast forward to May 2011, my phone gets water damage, take into store yes we can replace that with insurance, ok I say handing over phone, that will be £60 excess, reluctantly pay excess new phone, now 6 weeks after new phone (number 3) phone wont charge again back to store, oh its charger problem, buy new charger no joy, oh its battery buy new battery no joy so today i take phone back extremely annoyed and say it will be 3 weeks for an engineer to look at. I gues what I want to know is can I cancel contract still with 12 months to go as I am less than happy with the phone, or can I demand a new phone that is not xperia x10? have to say the carphone warehouse staff were so unbelievably unhelpful.

    • Liam 11 September, 9:45 pm

      That 3 week wait may be a problem. Law says if the phone is faulty, repairs have to be done in a reasonable time. But that is with warranties. I don’t know if the same applies to insurance. You may want to check the terms and conditions of your insurance to see if there is a “reasonable repair time” part. You are not entitled to a different model replacement under law. As far as canceling your contract, I don’t think so unless they have broken any of the terms and conditions of your insurance.

  • Steve B 22 July, 12:16 am

    Hi, how r u ?. My sister brought a second hand phone from a shop, it was faulty so they replaced it with another and vouchers with the monet diffrence, but the new phone seems to be faulty aswel. They are saying its not, they wont proberly check it or give any form of refund, What can my sister do, thanks

  • Jerry 19 August, 1:47 am

    I bought a Samsung Galaxy Apollo from 4 months ago. The first one didnt hold it’s charge and was replaced. The second one now demonstrated problem whereby the home button wont work anymore!

    What are my rights? If they offer to repair can I say no and demand to exchange and pay the difference for another phone as I have low confidence with this phone?


    • Liam 11 September, 9:37 pm

      To Jerry,

      I think they are only obliged to replace it for another Galaxy Apollo by law at that age into your contract. If you have a few replacements they may have an unofficial policy that they will allow you to change for another model, but the law doesn’t say that service providers have to offer a different model.

  • Liam 11 September, 9:32 pm

    If they refuse to accept it, escalate to the store manager. If they refuse, ask to keep escalating until they replace it or they say there is nowhere higher you can go. If they say you cannot go higher, ask to be referred to their independent ombudsman with a deadlock letter. If they do not have an independent ombudsman go to Ofcom.

  • Andrea 21 September, 3:58 pm

    Hi I purchased a phone from carphone warehouse 3 months ago and today it stopped working. I took it back and they have sent it off for repair saying it’s under warranty so it’s going back to samsung. When I enquirer about a replacement phone for the time my phone is away on a like for like basis I was told they don’t do that. So now I’m without a phone for a few weeks. And since I work and my children go to childminders and school these people have no way of contacting me in an emergency. Is what the car phone warehouse say right? And if not what can I say to make them give me a temp phone? Thanks

  • Andy 1 October, 6:23 am

    I bought a contract-free smartphone online from Amazon. Amazon recommend customers contact the manufacturer of a device directly if they have problems.
    It has failed after 18 months of ownership.
    The phone has not had a hard life. I cannot see a single scratch. It has been kept in a quality case with screen protection. It cost nearly £600 but has a warranty of just one year. What are my rights in this situation? I expected this phone to last longer.
    Incidentally, searching the Web suggests that the way my phone sticks on the first startup screen, and there being no hint of trouble before complete failure, is commonplace. Of course, this is just a symptom, not a diagnosis. To have the phone examined would cost well over £100, and there is no guarantee that this will discover the reason why it no longer works.

  • Latasha 22 October, 11:34 am

    At the start of August 2011 i bought a phone contract from Tmobile
    Within a month the phone had broken and would not turn on through no fault of my own!
    On the first of September i took the phone in and it was take away for repair
    It has now been 22 days and i havent recieved my phone yet..i have a loan phone but it is a basic Nokia with none of the features of my broken phone and does no accomodate my unlimited internet package. The online repair tracker states it took 6 days to get to the repair center and they have been waiting for parts for 10 days.

    It says on the repair form that it should take 14 calendar days to be returned but it could ‘vary’

    What should i do about this? Surely this is not an acceptable time to wait.


  • Denis 14 November, 10:06 am


    I bought a 2 yr contract with Orange from carphone warehouse with a free phone. I didn’t take out the extra insurance. The phone suddenly stopped working so took it into the shop for advice. They sent it off for repair and now the website says it cannot be repaired and is not covered by the manufacturers warranty.

    Surely carphone warehouse should give me a free of charge replacement as its less than 6 months since the original purchase plus as part of my contract I didn’t pay for the phone anyway. Am waiting for a call from the shop to say that they have received it.

    What legal protection do I have?


  • Rod 30 November, 1:59 pm

    I think these phone companies make far too much money, provide a crap service and need total regulation over the issue of supply of faulty handsets, sending something away for weeks on end, is not acceptable, but you have to choose one of phone mob company, why dont they de reg the networks like they forced BT to do then we will have more choice.

  • James 22 December, 7:08 pm


    I’m 2 months into my contract with which turns out to be a partner of Carphone Warehouse and my phone has broken. Will not turn on or charge due to overheating (common problem with the Evo 3D it seems). Mobiles told me to go to Carphone Warehouse. On Carphone website they advise go straight to HTC as it would be faster than them sending it to them, which I did. Got the phone back in 3 days, but still broken. HTC said they could collect it again for repair but refused to replace until it needs fixing for the fourth time. My intention is to say that this is the last time I will accept a repair. Should I go back to HTC or try Carphone Warehouse? If I go through Carphone will I have to start from repair zero again because Carphone where not involved in the first fix?


  • Peter Johnson 26 December, 9:23 pm

    Hi Denis, I have had the same problem with a contract for a free mobile phone that I have with Vodafone that I got at Carphone Warehouse in Feb 2011. Will be very interested in any feedback on your issus/problem


  • Estelle 22 January, 8:23 pm


    I am on a 2 year contract with Vodafone with 12 months remaining and have noticed the coverage has been getting less and less. I am unable to use my phone at my home address which is where I would use my phone the son has an O2 contract and has full signal at my address Is there any way I can get out of my contract?

  • mohammed 21 February, 9:08 pm

    my iphone stop working after warranty there is power coming on and even when it is on charge for a hour. i phoned apple they said they will fix the fault if they cant i have pay £120 to replace it. 07971316743

  • Nikita 12 April, 10:29 pm


    My mum purchased a b.berry curve frm vigin 3 weeks ago and they didnt ask whether she wanted to take out mobile insurance with them. i then called them a few days later and they arent willing to sell it to me now as the only time you can purchase it, is at the point of sale.

    Do i have any rights?

  • Rachel Capstick 24 June, 7:27 pm

    I signed up to a 2 year contract at Carphone Warehouse 6 weeks ago and got a Samsung Note phone. The loudspeaker developed a fault and now the phone doesn’t ring, work on speakerphone, sat nav etc.
    I took out the very expensive insurance when I bought the phone and contract.
    Went into store today and was told as it was more than 28 days they would not replace it – it had to go off to Samsung (surely under sale of goods act it should be their responsibility not directed to Samsung). They said it wasn’t covered by insurance as was under manufacturers warranty so nothing they could do other than send for repair which would take 14 days.
    I asked for a replacement phone in the meantime and the only thing they would give me was a very very basic phone which only can be used for calls / texts. No email, no bluetooth, no internet. This seems ridiculous. It is putting me to MASSIVE inconvenience. Have I been fobbed off???

  • Denise 20 July, 10:44 pm

    Took out contract with carphone warehouse for 24 month o2 iphone. My sim has not been activated, got it wednesday. I rang them on wednesday night and again yesterday. They said they didnt put the contract throught to 02 but they did it again. Still no service, i have contacted o2, they said i should keep the phone and buy a pay as you go sim. Anyone else had this happen and what happened. Surely they are in breach of contract for not providing the service so if they come back to me what are my rights? Any help appreciated.

  • Marc 17 October, 10:21 pm

    hi I’m 14v months into a 2 year contract with orange in feb I had a replacement phone as the original one kept shutting down and not restarting. The replacement was like for like, however last week this has devoloped a fault I.E. certain letters not working on the keypad and now today the roller has stopped working(its a blackberry). I did not take insurance out do I have any rights in regards to this? Many thanks Marc.

  • fatimat fataidere 8 January, 5:15 pm

    I expected the deliver of phones for my upgrade a new line for my daughter, T-mobile said the parcel has been delivered to somebody called Hammed according to uk-mail(courier) whom I know not. O live alone with my two under aged girls. My line was suspended by T-mobile,I could not get my phone and T-mobile said I have to pay for the phones I did not collect.
    What are my right please save me out!

  • marie 7 February, 6:56 pm

    i am on a monthly contract with t-mobile but renewed my contract through phones 4 u my phone became faulty after only 6 month of having it ,it broke down late monday evening unable to return it to the phones 4u shop as i was working .my day off i took it in to store.they took it of me to send away for repair .i asked for a replacment but they said they dont give out replacement,i explained it was important for me to have access to a mobile through work and home but got nowhere ,i left that store feeling very angry

  • ben 22 May, 2:12 pm

    I got the new htc pne at phones for u and qithin 7 days the speaker broke and i couldnt here people on the other end of the line so i took it back and as i took out ther insurance policy which is that if the phone breaks i bring it to the shop and if they cant fix it i get a replacement ther and then wich i got. Problem is 2weeks later ive got the same problem….wer do i stand on getting a different phone from them?

  • nicola 10 October, 4:11 pm

    i have an iphone 4 which suddenly decided to turn off on ringing orange they told me to ring apple to get it repaired as still under warranly did this but they wanted £429 as a charge on a card incase i had damaged it, not! so i arranged for them to pick it up as id heard nothing i rang apple and the adviser stated that they are sending out a repalcement and should it be my fault they would auto charge me for £129. My comment was no way as i have insurance through orange. So i have 2 options either send it back in post and wait for weeks or take it to the apple shop. not one near me. so i rang orange, they state this is our terms with apple. I stated they just replace the phone under my insurance and they stated they then want £50 excess fee um no way am i paying as it seems like a software fault. what are my rights???? i believe i took the contract out with orange so they are to deal with it. Anyone elses thoughts

  • rachael 26 October, 6:18 am

    I am going to get a replacement phone from the shop today. I originally had a blackberry, but was wondering if it would be possible for them to give me an iphone if my contract was increased to a higher price? Please reply quickly!

  • dylan 27 October, 11:24 am

    Hi I was just wondering, I bought an iPhone described as in good working order and that there is nothing wrong with it. Guy came to the house, I put sim card in turned it on, handed over the money, off he went. As I was setting my phone up I realised it wasn’t picking my wifi up. Long story short I got in touch with Apple and they have told me the phone has a hardware issue and will not work properly. I know the guys name and I know roughly where he lives so I contacted the police who told me it is not a police matter. They advised me to go to Citeznes Advice when they are open on Tuesday. SO just wondering has anybody else had something similar happen? What rights do I have? And can anybody advise? Thanks in advance.

  • Allison Woolley 5 November, 6:53 pm

    Is an iphone 4si cover by consumer right for 2years as my wifi won’t switch on an it’s 12 months old

  • Alex 8 November, 7:01 pm

    Under the revised SOG act from 2002 if a product such as a phone develops a fault within the first 6 months it is deemed to have been sold faulted and not of merchantable quality when it was sold. This allows the consumer to demand a full refund, accept a new replacement or allow a repair. It is up to the consumer to choose which is the best option for them not the retailer. The exception, is the retailer can decline a repair on the product if it costs more to repair the item than replace. All products from TV’s kettles phones and so on are now subject to a 2 year warranty from the retailer (6 years fromm the manufacture). Ever wonder why 12 months cover disappeared from UK stores some years back, to display terms that contravene the SOG is in itself a criminal offence! European law which is now adopted into the SOG act (All full mumber starts had do have this ratified in law by 2002) is that in the second year you must demonstrate to the retailer that the fault is not through misuse, just attach a £30 engineers report to confirm this, then the product must be replaced or repaired by the retailer. Many retailers will push you to a manufacturer, the fact is your contract is solely with the retailer for the first 2 years and only after this period should you contact the manufacturer.

  • Ron_Keenan 23 February, 12:21 pm

    I bought a new phone from phones for u with a two year contract I stipulated that I wanted it to be able to be compatible with sky go ,they said it was .I took it home and downloaded the sky go app only to discover the phone wasn’t compatible with the app, can I cancel the contract?

  • Terri 11 August, 9:48 am

    Got a new phone off vodafone 13 days ago and it is not working right. It is freezing and switching off and somethimes the sound isnt working. am i in my rights to get a new phone off them?

  • sandra 11 October, 10:30 am

    We have 2contract phones with virgin media that in June this year both with insurance 1 of the phones wont charge up and after speaking to their technical. Support team they send me a new battery and charger in the. Beginning. Of September to see if that would solve the problem however after waiting a few weeks I rang them and was told that they couldnt get a battery or charger or didn’t know when any would matters beyond their control they credited my account for 10.00 and said to purchase my own after 3 or more Phonecalls to them they are sticking to the same.thing I have to purchase My own battery and charger should they not change the phone if they can’t obtain a battery and charger would be gratefull For any help and advise with this please