back to article Ofcom slaps down Phones4U

UK regulator Ofcom has completed an investigation into miss-selling at Phones4U, and concluded that the high street retailer had concocted terms and conditions that were illegal, as well as giving potential customers bad advice. The investigation was opened in May in response to complaints from the public and in conjunction …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought Phones4u was the regulator...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Phones4u mis-selling...

    ...and in other news, it was reported that the sky was blue.

    I made the mistake of going to one of their stores about eight years ago. When I returned the device in question because it didn't do what it should, the sales rep tried every conceivable tactic available to avoid cancelling the contract and it was only sheer bloody-minded determination on my part that made them eventually concede.

    A couple years later, I happened to be away on business and was staying in a hotel which had a conference facility that was training new phones4u recruits into sales. Talking to a couple of them one evening, it was apparent the senior management treated them like expendable scum, giving them completely unreasonable sales targets. It was therefore no surprise whatsoever that you see them lurking at the front of their stores, pushing their wares harder than those lovely scientology people.

    I haven't been to their stores since my mistake eight years ago and will be quite happy to see their chain wiped from the face of the earth, along with PC World, who exist to prey upon the uninformed and gullible into buying a whole pile of stuff they never realised they needed - and probably didn't.

    Anonymous for the obvious scientology reference...

  3. Anonymous Coward


    So Phones4U have broken at least three laws, swindled thousands of customers out of large amounts of cash via their chequeback scheme, and the only punishment is to be told to rectify their T&C.

    That'll tell them - they won't be repeating that little scam will they?!

    Pirates, because... well its obvious isn't it

  4. Andy ORourke

    Just had dealings

    with Dial-A-Phone, the online arm of this shower of shite. The wife went for the Samsung TOCCO on Orange with the offer:

    "99p Line rental for the 1st six months *"

    See that “ * “ up above, that’s important that is, I looked at the bottom of the page and saw the words "By Redemption" OK, it is entirely my own fault, I really should have clicked the link and read the terms carefully but, instead, I "assumed" it meant I would get a code or voucher or something and Orange would then only charge me 99p line rental for the first 6 months right? NOOOOOO

    Basically after 6 months you send Dial-A-Phone your 1st orange bill showing your line rental and they will issue a cheque for 30 odd quid, then after another 3 months you do the same, then every 3 months throughout the 18 month contract you can claim a bit of cash back.

    All of the above pissing about means that, technically, over the length of your contract you will have received some money back which, when put into context means that 6 months of your line rental would have worked out to 99p. Oh, don’t forget that to qualify your bill has to reach them within a specified window and if you miss one of these windows then you can kiss goodbye to all subsequent cash back claims!

    If had checked out the T&C's properly (I know, my fault entirely, I admit it) I wouldn’t have gone for this deal, I'd have chosen the free XBox or PS3

    As for Dial-a-Phone, they can rest assured that I will not be doing business with them again since the phone number they supplied me with bore no resemblance to the actual phone number I ended up with and the online customer service is absolutely crap. It is guarded by a AI system called Rachel which actually makes amanfromMars look like a Nobel prize winner for literature!

  5. Andy Barber
    Thumb Down


    What is so bonkers with UK customers! Contact phones cost more than PAYG, unless you need to sit on the back seat of the bus & keep chatting.

  6. Kenny Swan
    Thumb Down


    Phones4U say others are to blame? They say they promise they'll never rip people off again? I smell shite...

  7. Rob Clive

    About Time...

    ..this shower got some retribution. My son's phone display cracked after less than 2 months (and no he hadn't dropped it). The local branch which had been more than pleased to sell it to me didn't want to know (unless I'd bought their overpriced insurance.) Despite mentioning the Sale of Goods Act it was entirely the manufacturer's problem. They'd send it off if I liked to be looked at but if they (the manufacturer) decided it was my fault it'd be £17 to get it back, or £22 if I wanted it to my home address unrepaired. In the event the manufacturer must have decided it was their c**p design because it came back fixed. None of this was due to P4U who washed their hands of the whole affair. Time they accepted some responsibility.

  8. Steven

    @ PAYG

    "What is so bonkers with UK customers! Contact phones cost more than PAYG, unless you need to sit on the back seat of the bus & keep chatting."

    WTF??? How did you work that blinder out? I pay 35quid a month on contract with a free phone. Previously I had a pay as you go which I spend about a 100 a month in credit on plus 150 for the phone in the first place??? Someone needs to think before they speak me thinks.

  9. gothicform

    Not So Expensive

    Not so sure contract phones are more expensive. Mine is £15 a month for 300 texts and 75 minutes of voice calls. Do any PAYG places give you a free phone every 18 months you'd have to pay 200 quid for, 5p texts and that amount of voice calls? They don't. What *is* expensive is if you use more than your allowance because then it becomes poor value.

    What else adds to the expense is misselling of phone packages which stop the consumer getting a good deal, make millions illegally for the misseller and help cement the views people like Andy have that PAYG is more expensive.

  10. Miguel
    Thumb Up

    Can work to your advantage

    If you know their tactics then it can work in your favour. I've had a couple of amazing deals from Phones4U after (intentionally) trying to return a handset and contract within 14 days. After explaining to the store rep that there was no way I would take the phone no matter how much he persisted he finally agrees to cancel the contract. However, they were required to call their own retentions department first.....and these are the people that can give you the sweet deals. I managed to get the handset for free, on a 12 month contract as opposed to the now normal 18 month with 6 months free (by cheque which was received within 3 or 4 weeks) and the promise to buy the contract back after 9 months of a 12 month contract. A friend of mine has done much the same on a couple of occasions.

    It makes it all the more enjoyable when you know what tossers they are ;)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    They get their moneys worth from the staff as well...

    As a Cheshire-based IT guy I've interviewed with/for them a couple of times. First time I accidentally accused the interviewer of being gay (long story) and the second time the recruitment consultant told me that:

    "They don't pay for overtime, but they do expect it to be done"

    I didnt explain that as a contractor I'm a business, not a charity, and that OT does NOT get done unless its paid for (or Im feeling generous). They seem to have a fairly rapid turnover from what I've seen.

    AC, just in case I need to go there....

  12. Ben Mathews

    I found them fairly good...

    Last time I got a phone they tried to offer one of these cashback services...

    I said, "why not give me £50 now then?"

    To my surprise I walked out with a shiny new N95 and £50 in cash.

    They musta been on the happy pills that morning I guess.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phones4fools - Try a more reputable retailer like, umm, DSG?

    Anyone who chooses to buy a phone from them after those adverts deserves everything they get. In fact, Ofcom should find against the consumer on the grounds of them being a div.

    Yeahhhh. Yeahhhhhhhh.

  14. Mark


    Also have a nasty reputation for setting the "bloke with a radio" on you should you happen to include their clip joints in a photo. Weird people.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Barber re. PAYG v. contract

    What you obviously haven't factored in is that, unlike you, the rest of us know people who'll talk to us.

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