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Elderly mother mis-sold phone contract

  Bailey08787 21:01 07 Jul 2009

Hi there

My elderly mother has been on an Orange tariff that is way beyond her needs and is costing her £45 a month.

She has less than 3 months left to run on this 18 month contract and so in her innocence went in to an Orange shop for some advice.

She was cajoled into signing up for another 18 month contract which again is much more than she needs, coming in at £40 a month.

I recognise that it was naive of her to think a salesperson was acting in her best interests, but is there any way she can get out of this contract?

She signed up to it about 3-4 weeks ago, but as her current contract hasn't ended yet I was hoping there was a way she could get out of it.

She contacted Orange and told her views, but was told tough luck and to sell the handset on ebay if she wanted to make some money back - though the handset is pretty bog standard

Any advice welcome - I know she could get a much better deal, and based on the amount of texting/calling she does, could get away with a £10-£15 a month tariff

  OTT_Buzzard 21:09 07 Jul 2009

Orange customer services are usually very sympathetic. It's well worth sending them a letter explaining the situation and asking them to put her on a different contract.
If her phone usage history doesn't suit the contract she's on then there's a fair chance they'll make a good will gesture and swap her onto a different contract.

I'd avoid going in to the shop to deal with it though.

  spuds 23:09 07 Jul 2009

This might be a case of seeking help from CAB, Consumer Legal Advice Centre or your local trading standards as an emergency, especially if the new agreement is not in force yet. They deal with this type of selling and 'misunderstandings' on a regular basis.

  pavvi 07:15 08 Jul 2009

The trouble in circumstances like this is that in the case of an upgrade, there is no 'cooling off' period. Fewer mobile phone companies are giving any 14 day return and cancel policies now, except where covered by distance selling. I found this out on visiting someome I used to manage in Cardiff who is now manager for another store I used to manage.

Orange have no legal duty at all to amend or cancel the contract. This should not, however put your mother off from sending a letter to Orange explaining what happened with a few photocopies of bills to demonstrate her normal useage.

If you and your mother feel that she was missold the upgrade - and by that I mean deliberately misled, then Orange will investigate and can (and do on occasion) blacklist the dealer.

Whatever happens, the sooner you act the better. I would deal with Orange direct initially as you are going to be reliant on their goodwill on this one, as they won't legally have to cancel or amend the contract.

hope this helps

  pavvi 07:28 08 Jul 2009

Also worth remembering is that all networks atre now allowing you to upgrade early. Usually up to 3 months Early. There is a snag though. your contract will end at the normal ending date, PLUS the term of the extended contract.

E.G.: Your contract is due to end 30th September 2009, you take out a renewal of the contract on an 18 month term on July 31st 2009, your contract will expire on 29th March 2011.

Phone shops will sometimes try and 'buy' you out of a contract early by giving you a sum of money to treat you into taking a new contract. I have heard of some saying that they will send the letter of cancellation for you. Personally I in this circumstances would if I wanted to take the offer, send it myself by registered post as otherwise you can find that it hasn't been cancelled. You will need to give 30 days notice (usually in writing on the month before the contract is due to expire. if you have posted it by registered post you will have evidence of this and any mistakes will be rectified in your favour.

Lastly, watch out for dealers (usually over the phone) who offer you a deal to 'upgrade'. Often what they are selling you is a new contract with a new number, not a upgrade of the old one. So often a misled customer will put their old sim in the new phone and throw the new sim away. they then get billed for two phones. If you have any doubt about whether an upgrade offer is genuine, especially over the phone, call the network to check it. I had to deal with situations quite often where someone had been called by 'orange' when they were actually a 3rd party dealer who subsequently missold.

  pavvi 03:19 09 Jul 2009

If my memory serves me right. Orange no longer allow downgrading of the contract, until at least 9 months through an 18 month contract. They may make a special case for you if you explain the circumstances.

Was it an actual Orange shop (ie they don't sell anything else and are owned by Orange) or was it a dealer that sells Orange. This can make a difference.

  pavvi 03:31 09 Jul 2009

I think you should try and get the upgrade reversed. They will ask for the phone back if they allow this. if they don't allow the reversal of the upgrade then you can ask as a goodwill gesture for them to allow you to take the monthly amount down.

If this fails, go back to the store with your mum and speak with the manager and see if yu can work out a way to get a contirbution from the store towards the extra cost. This is assuming that the sales-person was at fault. His manager may not see it that way.

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