Misleading or omitting information
If your mobile phone provider leaves out or provides false or misleading information - about tariffs, savings or promises an offer that doesn’t materialise, for instance - then it could face a complaint of mis-selling.
Also, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations your provider must not apply unacceptable pressure to get you to sign a contract.
For example, sales staff must not use intimidating behaviour to get you to sign a new contract. If this was a factor in you signing a new contract, you could be due financial redress.
As of 1st October 2014 consumers have new rights to redress if they have entered into a contract due to misleading practices or aggressive selling.
These include the right to undo a contract and receive a refund, the right to a discount and an entitlement to seek damages.
But it is important to note that misleading omissions are not covered by the new rights.
Find out how to complain about your mobile phone provider in our step-by-step guide.
The right information
By law, your mobile phone service provider must make sure you get all the information you need to know before you sign up to or change a contract.
The information should include:
- the minimum contract charges and any early termination charges (if any)
- payment terms
- the start date of the service
- termination rights (if any)
- any minimum period of contract
If the contract is made over the phone, then you must be sent a copy of this information by letter or e-mail, in good time following the call.
Ofcom (the telecoms regulator) has strict rules that ban all forms of misselling, and companies that break these rules can be fined up to 10% of their turnover.
If you relied on verbal statements made to you at the time of entering into the contract relating to tariffs, savings or any offers, and those statements turn out to be untrue, then you can bring a claim under the Misrepresentation Act to either cancel the contract, or to claim damages.
If the statements were made to you over the phone, then under the Data Protection Act 1998 you can request a copy of any recorded telephone conversation, which would help to show any evidence of mis-selling.
You can also report the matter to Ofcom.
Every mobile phone provider must belong to one of two telecoms dispute resolution schemes, Cisas or Ombudsman Services: Communications.
So if you have exhausted your provider's internal complaints procedure you can escalate your complaint to the ombudsman.
Note that the Ombudsman Service and Cisas only deal with complaints about mobile service providers (the company you pay for your service), and not about other mobile phone retailers that 'resell' mobile contracts but don't operate their own service (for example, Carphone Warehouse).