Consistently poor mobile signal

If the problem relates to a loss in service, your remedy will depend on whether you have no mobile signal in your area or just at home.

If there’s no mobile signal in your whole area and you’re constantly losing service, you may be able to terminate the contract for non-performance.

Under the Consumer Rights Act, a service provider must provide the contracted service with reasonable care and skill.

Breach of agreement

If your provider doesn't provide the service with what is deemed to be reasonable care and skill, then you’re entitled to terminate your mobile contract for breach of that agreement with no financial penalty. 

However, you must check the contract first as some terms and conditions make allowances for the loss of service.  

If the phone simply doesn’t work in your house but works outside, then the problem could be something within your home causing a poor mobile signal.

Alternatively, it could be that the signal isn’t sufficiently strong enough, so you should ask your provider to carry out a signal strength check.

Short losses of mobile service

Even if the provider’s contract says it’s not responsible for short losses of service, if the service losses themselves are constant you might still be able to terminate the contract.  

Make sure you record when and for how long you’ve sustained these losses and present these to the provider to support your case. 

It's worth bearing in mind though, that cases such as these are not straightforward so you may need to be persistent. 

In summary

  • Check your phone contract as some terms and conditions make allowances for loss of service
  • If you’re cancelling a contract due to poor mobile signal, you must be clear about this when speaking to your provider to avoid a termination fee
  • If your complaint is not resolved within eight weeks, you can request a ‘deadlock’ letter to take your complaint to one of the following Ombudsman Services – either Communications or Cisas

Beware contract termination fees

Also, you need to be careful when demanding a cancellation of your mobile contract due to loss of service.

We’ve heard of cases where customers have called a provider to request a loss of service cancellation, only to be told they must pay a termination fee.  

This is not the case if you’re terminating the contract due receiving a poor signal. 

So, the key point here is that you must be clear to say you’re terminating the contract due to a sustained and prolonged lack of service.

Resolving a dispute with your provider

If you’re not happy with the way in which your complaint has been handled, you can take it to one of two dispute resolution schemes – Ombudsman Services: Communications or Cisas.

These are independent complaints schemes that will consider a complaint about a mobile phone service provider if you haven’t been able to resolve your problem directly.

But you must give your mobile provider a chance to resolve your complaint first. 

If it’s not resolved within eight weeks you should request a ‘deadlock’ letter, or you can use this letter template to send a letter of deadlock to your mobile phone provider.

You will then be able to take your mobile complaint to the Ombudsman Services: Communications or Cisas (whichever one your mobile service provider belongs to). 

The Ombudsman Services: Communications and Cisas deal only with complaints about mobile service providers (the company you pay for your mobile service) and not about other mobile phone retailers that ‘resell’ mobile contracts but don’t operate their own service (for example, Carphone Warehouse).

If you want to take your complaint to the Ombudsman Services: Communications, our step-by-step guide can help.

The power of dispute resolution

Both schemes can make your mobile phone service provider:

  • apologise and/or explain its actions;
  • give you a product or service;
  • pay you up to £5,000 compensation for any loss you can prove you have suffered.

These dispute resolution services can also recommend a mobile service provider changes its policies or procedures.

You can also contact Ofcom, the telecoms regulator. It cannot help with your individual problem but it’s good to let it know if you have a major problem with a company.

Ofcom monitors all consumer issues and can investigate a company if it finds serious ongoing problems with a particular provider.

Find a mobile network you can rely on

Discover which network has the best phone signal where you live by using our mobile phone network coverage checker - based on millions of actual readings from real customers.

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