Phones4u Frustration!

After finally finding a job that pays a me a good wage on a regular basis, I decided a treat or two was in order, and on the top of the wishlist was a new mobile phone, resigning the Nokia E71 to the bedroom drawer, where it will no doubt sit for years to come. From experience, I knew that the best (and probably cheapest) way to get a half-decent phone these days was to sign up for a contract. With 12 month contracts few and far between, new customers are now having to settle for 18 or 24 month plans.

I seem to have spent most of my time recently looking at every available phone on the market, and, as somebody who loves phones with endless features and phones that are so big that you struggle to hold them in two hands, I decided on the new HTC Desire HD, which retails for around £500. This Android-powered device is the closest thing [apparently] to an iPhone, which isn’t manufactured by Apple, and as a ‘Phone of the Year’ winner, it was definitely worth a go.

Anyway, keen to save up some of my earnings, I didn’t want to spend as much as my previous contract with T-Mobile – £35 a month! I shopped around online and came across an alternative T-Mobile package, which would cost £25.53 a month for 900 minutes of talk-time, 500 text messages and the usual ‘unlimited’ (but actually limited) internet. And best of all, the pricey handset on this 24-month contract was thrown in for free.

But like a big kid, I knew that if I ordered this contract online, I would have to wait several days for delivery. But I didn’t want to wait several days – I wanted it straight away – so I ventured in Reading, and, armed with my internet deal printed on a piece of paper, I entered just about every phone shop that Reading had to offer.

We all know that those working in mobile phone shops are just sales-people, who happen to know a thing or two about mobile phones, and they are prepared to do anything to get new customers to sign on the dotted line. Although I eventually purchased from Phones4u (over the phone), Phones4u wins the award for the most dishonest and ignorant sales staff out there.

On entering the store, I quickly saw my humongous future phone on the display stand and walked towards it, but before I could get there, I had already been pounced upon by a salesman. I know that these people are keen to get my custom, but can I not be allowed to browse for at least a minute before I am hassled? “What can I do for you?” he asked me. “I want that phone on a contract, but I don’t want to pay for the handset”, I replied. The deals offered were far from brilliant so I decided to cut to the chase and I handed over my print-out. “This is what I have found. Can you beat it?” The salesman looked surprised that at least one customer that day had done some research before visiting the store. How on earth was he going to keep me in the store and get me to sign up for a deal?

The answer to that question was simple. He was going to lie to me. The salesman assured me the deal was not as good as it appeared because the phone would be “refurbished”. When asked if Phones4u were allowed – by law – to provide me with a second hand phone without clearly stating it, he confidently said yes. Not wanting to lose my business, he invited me to take a seat with a colleague of his and together we were to run through the contract options available to me. But it took a good 10 minutes to actually make any progress, as the worker was more focused on getting my contact details; telephone numbers and address, no doubt to bombard me with nuisance calls and letters when I leave the store, having not made a purchase! And before we even got to choosing a contract, I was already being talked into pay £9.99 a month for insurance on a phone that I didn’t even have. Incidentally, when buying online or over the phone, the cost is slashed to just £6.99 a month and the insurance is exactly the same.

With the whole ‘refurbished phone’ thing still playing on my mind, a £30 contract that was offered seemed reasonable. After all, as the salesperson put it, I would get a brand new phone in-store, all for just £5 a month more than I wanted to spend. I loved how it was “only £5 more”. Yes, £5 a month was easily manageable, but that worked out to a very significant £120 over the two years.

Hating the service and the obvious mis-selling tactics and the untruthful claims made by staff, it was time to leave the store and move on to the next one. For the sake of a £5 bonus in his next paycheck, the staff member was happy for me to part – unnecessarily – with so much more money than I wanted to in contract fees and around £36 extra (over two years) in insurance charges. These ignorant people had only one thing on their mind and it certainly wasn’t me [the customer] and my requirements.

The day looking in phone shops was a bit of a failure and I returned home without a phone, despite having looked in the Carphone Warehouse, Virgin Media, O2 and even 3 (the tiny section in the Superdrug store on Broad Street), where the worker seemed more interested in two eastern European girls who seemed to hover around the displays. He was so interested that he abandoned our chat to go and speak to them. Perhaps I should have told him that these girls were way out of his league.

For anybody considering a new mobile contract, steer clear of the high street shops altogether. You will be dealt with by a bunch of dishonest clowns, who only care about how much commission they will be taking home at the end of the month. If you like to be lied to, ignored and cheated out of hard-earned cash, then by all means visit the shops – Phones4u, in particular.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    Hi Michael,

    I went into a Phones4U store yesterday in search of an HTC Sensation (I’m a gadget freak as well). The website offers it on contract for as little as £20/month (although you pay £100 for the handset). In store the best they offered was £35 or they’d drop it to £30 if I paid £199.99 for the handset!

    When I produced the print-out from the website I was told that “the phones they sell online are damaged, faulty, returned or used” and they could never match the price. The website makes no mention of this, and I find it hard to believe a major company would be passing off used stock as new. So, one way or the other trading standards are getting involved (either lying shop staff or a lying website).

    The main question I want to ask though: When you finally got your Desire HD from their central stock (online/over the phone) was it actually new? Were you happy with it? So far I’ve only had problems with the shop staff – the head office staff seem more trustworthy and less pressurising. Would you recommend I get my next phone from their website, or steer clear?

    • Michael says:

      Hi Rob,

      Personally, I would steer clear of the high street altogether and shop around for online-only deals, even if it is from Phones4U. As much as I hated the store experience, the service on the phone was top notch and the people I dealt with put my mind at ease, even telling me that the whole “refurbished handset” statement was simply a stunt pulled by store workers to get customers to sign up there and then. The phone was and still is going strong and I am still really pleased with it.

      I did unfortunately have to send the first handset back because it had two faults – a chunk of plastic around the speaker had snapped off and the battery compartment and sim card cover would not budge, even with excessive force – but I had a perfect handset delivered to me within a week or so. In both cases though, the boxes were factory sealed and all of the accessories and the phone itself were properly packed.

  2. J says:

    Ok im not saying any of you are wrong but.

    1. you where not pounced on, p4u staff give you 40 secs to look at the phones, statistically you know what you want within 40 secs then you are asked “are you ok, do you need any help” if not you are left alone untill a buying signal is given.

    2. rob? the more you pay up front for the phone the less the banding on the phone is, which means the less commission the sales person gets from what you explained the sales person offered you an E- deal which means 20 GP for the company and no commission for the sales person, now if he had said the best deal was at £46 a month for a free handset he would be trying to get you on an ultra band contract which is the highest you can get, earning the sales person £6 commission and with insurance £10

    3. insurance must be talked about, like it or not, once a handset is picked you must be told about insurance, two reasons, the customer must be given all the details of all services that p4u can offer, you might want it, you might not, second, if you are not spoken to about the insurance and your phone breaks, p4u is liable
    because you where not told about it, the contract was mis-sold

    4. p4u will do everything they can to get you the best service possible, after 30 days of purchasing the phone you will receive texts from there head office asking how the service was, would you recommend a friend, and if you have any more comments, and mid way through the month they get a report called an m.p.s report unless the ratio of 100% texts and 0% texts are above 70% the whole store do not get paid there commission for the entire month.

    i could go on and on all night about what you guys have commented but whats the point, they say if you have good service on average you tell one person, if you have bad service you tell 9, I guess im just that one.
    (that one with all the facts and not just full blown ignorant bull ****)

    • Are you a happy Phones4U customer, keen to express his love for the company, or a bitter employee who hates to read about the shoddy service that the company offers potential customers? I am guessing the latter! How you can claim to know the facts about my situation, I will never know. You were not there and you can only quote from whatever handbooks the company has given you as an employee. What the company expects from its employees and what it gets are two very different things.

      1. Wrong. I was pounced on. I could not even get to the display stand before staff hassled me. It was obviously a quiet day and the staff were desperate for a sale. Not even 10 of the 40 seconds had passed and I had a pushy sales person in my face. To any normal shopper, that is a real put-off. Was this somebody offering genuine help or somebody who wanted me to spend my money there and then?

      2. I am not sure what you are talking about. Whichever way I took out the contract, there was no charge for the handset – it was ‘free’. The only difference was the monthly line rental (£10.00 more expensive in-store than online). By buying in-store, I was not only paying more but also getting fewer minutes for my money. At the end of the day, I found a contract online, which I assumed would also be available on the high street – and I was wrong. Dishonest staff went to great lengths to convince me to sign up with them, even insisting that the phone sent from a call centre would be a refurbished model. Is it fair that a worker lied to me in order to get a sale? No.

      3. I am all up for insurance, and, sure enough, when I started my contract, I used the Phones4U cover for approximately 3 months. But I want value for money. When the Phones4U call centre offers insurance at £6.99 a month and then a high street branch of the same company tries to get £9.99 out of me (for exactly the same policy), it further infuriates me. It confirms that there are no incentives to setting up a contract in the branch.

      4. I was contacted by text message, which I was happy to reply to. But that survey related to my experience with the Phones4U call centre and not the visit to the branch in question. Buying over the phone was great; the worker did not put pressure on me to buy, he answered my questions with ease, he was efficient and, most importantly, honest!

      I am not criticising Phones4U as a whole. As explained, I was extremely happy with the company when it came to signing me for a contract (good service and a good price), but the quality of service in the branch left a lot to be desired. Agree or disagree, I couldn’t care less, but don’t be telling me that I am wrong just because you think you know the employee handbook inside out!

  3. steve says:

    shut up rob, stop feeling the need to come on here and cry, be a man and suck it up, you ended up with what you wanted and just because you felt you received bad service does not mean it will be the same for everyone else, maybe it was you and your attitude that was the problem

  4. nc says:

    Dumb staff at Phones 4U. I had the same thing happen to me today when I went In to the Barkingside Store. I told the salesman about a web deal and he told me the phone would be refurbished if I ordered it over the phone or online. Luckily his manager was standing next to him and told him that was not the case. Stupid idiot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *