LATEST: Significant amount of traffic from Newbury. Hello to Vodafone. Schadenfreude? Surely not… That said, cantankerous is always interested in new challenges and opportunities, so if you’re in the market for a 720 GMAT MBA, with commercial background, starred first class degree, sense of humour and a proven track record in costing a major competitor millions of dollars, why not send an email?
MORE NEWS: I’ve been asked about taking part in, and helping to organise, a seminar/workshop looking at the lessons to be learned from #tmobileukFAIL, most likely in London in a couple of weeks. Get in touch if you’re interested in attending.
UPDATE: Of course, as you probably know, we won. T-Mobile capitulated in the face of the a concerted onslaught on twitter (#tmobileukFAIL) and in the technology and mainstream media across the globe. Downloads of the cancellation letter below were increasing exponentially, and had reached more than 600 per hour when T-Mobile threw in the towel. Interestingly, of the nearly 3,000 visitors this blog recorded on 12th January 2011, the visitor that stayed the longest was T-Mobile Deutschland gmbh. One can only imagine the conversations between angry parent and naughty child. cantankerous would like to thank all those who twittered this story into the mainstream media and shamed T-Mobile into obeying the law and OFCOM into enforcing it – you know who you are.
If you want to read about what happened I recommend Rupert Goodwins at ZDNet, who caught the mood perfectly, as did Richard Plant at ComputerWorld. Charles Arthur at the Guardian has a nice follow-up story on the skewering of T-Mobile UK by consumers, the press, T-Mobile Deutschland and OFCOM. cantankerous would also like to thank Ed Richards, CEO at OFCOM, and his office, for delivering the coup de grâce, however belatedly. This campaign wasn’t just about twitter and the media, it was also about understanding the regulatory legal framework and working behind the scenes to help all stakeholders do the right thing.
Here’s the original post…
Below is a standard template cancellation to send to T-Mobile. Just insert your address, today’s date, telephone number and account number. Here’s a photo of the cheque for £430 T-Mobile sent last time they tried this and I took them to court. What is OFCOM doing? There are only four operators now. How hard is it to ensure they obey the law?
Hatfield Business Park
[Insert today's date]
Ref: Tel [Insert telephone number], Account number [Insert account number]
Yesterday, I learnt that T-Mobile has decided unilaterally to reduce the monthly data allowance under my contract with you to 500MB. I have received no notice of this change, despite my consumer contract with you clearly stating that you need to give notice of thirty days in writing. Thirty days notice in writing is also a requirement of Condition 9.3 of Ofcom’s General Conditions by which T-Mobile is bound. If these changes are to be implemented on 1st February, notice in the future is clearly insufficient. I hereby give notice to reject the proposed changes and to exercise my right to leave TMobile without penalty immediately.
I contacted your call centre, and was informed that I had no right to cancel, despite that the detriment to me is clear and that I stated I wished to exercise my rights under contract law, the specific terms of my contract with you, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and specifically clause 9.3 of Ofcom’s General Conditions which give T-Mobile the right to operate in the UK and gives consumers the right to be informed of changes likely to be detrimental at least thirty days prior to implementation and to leave the telecommunications provider without penalty if they so choose.
Your staff said they were unwilling to waive the early termination fee, making the payment of a penalty fee a condition of receiving a PAC code, despite the fact that demanding such payment is clearly illegal under the legislation above and contrary to the terms of my contract with you. Please ensure that I am not required to pay this fee. Claims differentiating between ‘Services’ and ‘Additional Services’ are clearly bogus, given that the contract you wrote defines ‘Additional Services’ as ‘Services’ and, further, consumer and contract law and Condition 9.3 makes no such differentiation. I note call centre staff consistently claimed I had no right to cancel, which is untrue and misleading. There appears to be no cancellation process for detriment and call centre staff outlined no appeal process.
I am, of course, happy to pay for what I have used. Please confirm that I will not be charged the early termination fee, and send me a final bill for usage until the point at which I use my PAC. If I do not have a satisfactory response from you prior the date at which my direct debit with you is due, I will cancel the authority for the direct debit, to ensure I do not pay any fees which are not due under the terms of the contract. In this case, you will need to send me a final bill which I will pay by cheque or card.
In addition, I intend to make a formal complaint to Ofcom about T-Mobile’s behaviour and flagrant breaching of its licence and consumer protection legislation.
Please can you tell me for my complaint to Ofcom:
1. Why I was not informed of these changes to the terms and conditions of my contract with T-Mobile which are clearly to my detriment?
2. Why was I not informed of my right to cancel, as the Ofcom regulations stipulate?
3. Why call centre staff claimed I did not have the right to cancel, which appears to be T-Mobile policy and training?
I look forward to hearing from you. In relation to the first part of this letter regarding financial matters, I am happy to communicate in writing or by text or telephone. As regards the three questions regarding my complaint to Ofcom, I require a written response by either letter or email. Please note that failure or refusal to respond to these questions will be pursued by me through Ofcom and my MP.
I also require £30 compensation for the costs I have incurred thus far due to your failure to observe the terms of our contract and consumer protection legislation (including writing this letter, calling your call centre staff, stationery costs and time spent visiting the Post Office to obtain the ‘required’ proof of postage). This charge represents only a conservative estimate of my costs incurred.
I think your behaviour in this matter has been nothing short of disgraceful.
In the absence of a satisfactory resolution before 30th January 2011 I will initiate action in the County Court.