Ever since we arrived in the UK, I have always used prepaid mobile services or 'pay-as-you-go' as it's known here in the UK. I started with O2 and then moved on to Vodafone, followed by Tesco mobile and finally 3. So far, I have been very happy with the service provided by 3.
However, of late I have discovered that I have been reloading quite often and was shocked to discover that we sometimes spent more than £30 a month. This is despite the fact that most of my calls are to my wife who was also on 3 pay-as-you-go service. My wife went ahead and bought a Sony Ericsson K660i from the 3 site. The phone was delivered within a few days and she also received a voucher worth £20 to buy accessories from their website.
I too decided to get a phone for myself and I was still undecided on the phone. One of my friends told me that the stores had some greats refurbished phone which I might be able to get at a discount. So on Monday, I drove over to Coventry city centre and went to the 3 Store there. Unfortunately, according to the salesgirl, they didn't have any refurbished phones. So I went around and had a look at the various phone they had on display. I really want the Nokia N96 but it was way beyond my budget (cheapest deal was £30 per month). I finally went for the Sony Ericsson W595 for a 18 month contract for £17 per month. 3 has this promotion going on where existing members could recommend a friend (or family and both would receive a £30 credit. However, I discovered that I couldn't put my wife as a recommender because she had been with 3 for less than a month. Plus I didn't receive any vouchers.
I was really angry when later on back home, I discovered that I couldn't use Skype with the phone even though it was advertised as Skype compatible. Anyway, I went back to the store next day and the sales people were surprised as well, when they learnt that the phone was not Skype compatible. They were not very happy when I told them that I wanted to change the phone.
I was shocked to learn that unlike buying phones from their website, you were not allowed to return phones bought from their actual stores. However, in my case they were willing to make an exception as they realised that it was their mistake. The main reason I bought the phone was because it was Skype compatible (or so they said).
Gags (the guy who served me) was quite friendly but he seemed to be poorly trained. He told me that I could choose another phone but I won't be able to reduce the amount that I paid per month. The only phone there for £17 per month was the Sony Ericsson K700i. I should have taken only a couple of minutes to complete the whole process but the managers was busy or something. There was no way I was going to come back again and decided to wait until I got mad, raised my voice a bit and told them that I wanted out. The sales guy told me I couldn't and this went on for a while until their manager finally came out.
I finally got the new phone but was dissatisfied with the whole process. It took almost an hour for me to get the phone changed and that shouldn't happen. I am still loyal to 3 but my advice for anybody who want to sign up with 3 - buy it from the online 3 Store.
1. It's fast
2. You can return the phone if you don't like it
3. You get some nice surprises - like a £20 voucher.