Mobile phone problems Complaining about mobile phone problems

Mobile phone problems can take a variety of guises. Perhaps the handset is faulty, or it doesn't carry one of the features advertised. Or maybe your tariff isn't precisely what the shop assistant said it was, or your operator is still billing you after cancellation.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to complain to mobile phone retailers, operators and manufacturers. If you can't find the information you're looking for here, try our guide to your mobile phone rights. 

Mobile phone refunds

If your mobile phone is within the guarantee period, contact the manufacturer.

To get a repair or replacement for a faulty mobile handset

Step 1 - complain to the mobile retailer or manufacturer

Depending on how long you've had your mobile handset, do one of the following:

  • Contact the retailer you bought the mobile handset from. Describe the fault and ask for the retailer to supply a replacement, or arrange to have your phone repaired. Ultimately, the retailer can choose whether it wants to repair or replace the handset (normally depending on which is cheapest) but it doesn't hurt to ask for whichever you'd prefer.
  • If the mobile phone is within its guarantee period, contact the manufacturer, explain the problem and ask for a repair or replacement.

Step 2 - put your complaint in writing

If the retailer or manufacturer won't help, write to the retailer (not the manufacturer) saying that under the Sale of Goods Act, the mobile phone is not of 'satisfactory quality' and you are exercising your right to have it repaired or replaced. Tell the retailer that if it doesn’t arrange to do either of these within a reasonable time, you will start proceedings in the small claims court.

Dealing with mobile phone problems

Mobile phone insurance is often limited in what it covers.

Step 3 - make a claim to your credit card company

If you paid for the mobile phone with a credit card and you spent more than £100, you can take your claim to the card company. See the Which? guide to claiming on your credit card if something goes wrong,  for more on your rights when buying a mobile on your credit card.

Step 4 - initiate small claims court proceedings

As a last resort, you could take your claim to court under the small claims procedure. However, this is a last resort and you will need to weigh up the risks, as if you lose you will be liable to pay a fee. 

If a mobile service provider continues to bill you after you've cancelled

Don't forget that most mobile service providers require 30 days' notice of cancellation, so they're allowed to bill you for this outstanding period. But if you're confident your provider is billing you in error, complain. 

Step 1 - contact your mobile service provider

Ask it to stop billing you and to refund any contract payments it has taken in error.

Your mobile service provider's details will be on its website or on your mobile phone bill. If you phone to tell the company, it's probably worth following up with a letter confirming what you said and what the company agreed to in the conversation.

Step 2 - let your bank know about the problem. 

Contact your bank or credit card company and ask it to stop making payments to the mobile service provider.

Step 3 - put a formal complaint in writing

If the mobile phone company refuses to refund money it owes you, write again. Restate your case regarding your complaint, saying that if the company still refuses to refund your money, you would like a 'deadlock' letter, so that you can take your complaint up with either Cisas or the Communication Ombudsman Services (whichever one your mobile service provider belongs to).

Step 4 - contact your mobile operator's dispute resolution service

If you receive a deadlock letter from your mobile provider, you can take your complaint to adjudicator Cisas or the Communication Ombudsman Services. If you don't receive a deadlock letter, you must wait eight weeks from the time you first complained about the mobile billing before taking the matter to your adjudicator. Check the adjudicators' websites for more information about their complaint procedures.

Read our advice guide on the best mobile networks to see which received the highest ratings for customer satisfaction.