Not sure how it would be legal to charge me for phone calls made on a stolen handset, or change my tariff mid-contract without getting my approval, anyway.
Sure, we can argue. We'll argue it in court, eh? Where it's tantamount to charging me for, say, someone using my bank card if it's stolen, or for coasting along London doinking my Oyster card.
I get that you don't want to pay for tons of stuff only for people to say it was stolen, but there's a limit to what you can do, you know. If I didn't authorise those transactions, and I reported my phone as stolen and asked you to block it, just try and charge me for them.
A lot of this is basically saying "What's always been illegal but you had to fight for justice on, is now automatically uncontested" rather than anything else.
P.S. Had Three try to charge me for a contract for a new phone that went missing in the post. They'd send it second-class parcel with no tracking. They tried to charge me for it. They tried to hold me to the contract (the contract that was IN THE PARCEL). They took payments off Direct Debit for it for two months. They told *ME* to chase the Post Office to find out where the parcel had gone. I cancelled the Direct Debit, had it marked as a payment for an unfulfilled service, the bank refunded all my money within seconds. Three then threatened to sue me for breach of contract.
I wrote back a snotty letter, and ignored their harassing phone calls (literally every ten minutes until I threatened legal action if they should ever ring me again - "We can't do that, sir, it's an automated system". Well, your automated system is going to see you in court. I'd advise that you don't hang up until you've got the guy in charge of your automated system to stop it ringing me, because I'll take you to court on that as well... funnily never got another call).
A month later, they "decided" to refund all my money, "allow" me to keep the Direct Debit money and graciously "waive" the contract termination fees.
Considering they were trying to hold me on a contract I hadn't signed, after *I'd* phoned up to report the phone + contract missing, after I'd *DEMANDED* they block the IMEI immediately (didn't know what it was, didn't have the damn phone!), on hardware and service that never reached my door and I was never able to use, after they already had my money, you could quite well believe by listening to them that they had a case. Strange how they caved, then, isn't it? And you can be damn sure I wouldn't have paid for ANYTHING that phone had done in the meantime.
There's what the law says, and there's what a company will TELL you is their interpretation of the law. As someone who just got an out-of-court settlement from my car insurance firm for them cancelling my insurance unlawfully, you can be damn sure that knowing that the law trumps what they think can mean the difference between £1000 bills and debt collectors threatening me, and THEM sending me a settlement cheque to make it all go away before I take them to court for twice that.
Stuff what a company tells you. If the charge is fraudulent on a piece of stolen hardware, don't pay the damn thing until a court tells you that you are liable for it.