back to article Reg reader bombarded by 3 sales calls

Sales calls from operators are common enough, but 3UK seems to be overdoing it slightly after calling one El Reg reader ten times within a couple of hours on Monday evening. Our chap's contract with 3 expires on Sunday, so a call or two asking him to renew should be expected. But having received a few calls from the "exclusive …


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  1. Rob

    Yeah but...

    "....but increased hassle from people trying to sell us stuff might be the price we have to pay for cheaper calling."

    At what point can we shout harrasement, sometimes these sales people take the proper proverbeal, only last night I was tracking down the phone number I have for BT's High Level Complaints department to have a go at the attitude my preganant wife got from one of their sales people, all because she wouldn't commit to some deal we already have on our phone service which is in my name anyway.

  2. thebear

    45 minutes of hard sell just to get a PAC code

    One of 3's guys talked at me for 45 minutes before they would issue me with a PAC code so that I could change operators. Some of the stuff they came out with was the most uninformed cobblers I had heard for years

    Mines the one with a mobile not on the 3 network in my pocket

  3. Neur0mancer

    Well I guess I must be the only one

    My contract recently expired but before that I called up (no one called me!) Orange and asked for a cheeky deal. They said I couldnt. Retentions also said I couldn't, and offered me my pac code without prompting. I took it and am now with 02 having spent the last 10 years of my life with Orange.

    Oh well.

  4. Colin MacLean

    Sounds familiar

    I had a similar pattern of calls last year when I requested the convertion of my 3UK monthly contract to PAYG.

    Mumbai obviously went into panic mode.

  5. Planeten Paultje


    Reminds me of this evergreen:

  6. Stuart Castle


    Phoning someone up to apologise for phoning them too much..

    "We spoke to 3 who, to be fair, reacted with suitable outrage and immediately rang our chap with an apology"


  7. Gerard Krupa

    Selling to friends and family

    "Vodafone has even been ringing round customers to offer special deals to friends and family, treating customers as just another sales channel."

    3 are doing similar things too. Since I gave them notice on my contract I've had numerous calls to try and urge me back with cheaper deals and each time I refuse they then try to get me to transfer my account to a friend or family member who might be interested in exchange for getting final cancellation without waiting for the one month notice period.

  8. Tom 15


    Who puts their kids to bed at 7PM?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lucky you

    We have a block of 700 , a block of 200 and a block of 100 number and pricks from sales offices don't listen when we say they are wasting their time calling them (gotta love auto dialers) and we listen to phone after phone in the office ringing.

  10. Gary 23
    Thumb Up

    Had something similar myself.

    We used to get constant calls from SafeStyle UK. We got 10 calls from them one night trying to sell us double glazing even though we already had it!

    In the end we accepted SafeStyles offer to send a salesman to our house. When he turned up he was confused "I don't understand -- you already have double glazing!"

    We got such a laugh as the poor sales man rang his bosses to complain about us wasting HIS time. We havn't had a call from them since though!

  11. john loader

    Won't worry me

    I'm a 3 customer with an expiring contract coming up but they won't pester me - they have such lousy coverage here that I have to be standing at the bottom of the garden to use the mobile or 12 miles away to use the 3g internet dongle. oddly nobody's mobile works in our pub.

    Almost worth having them pester me to get coverage I suppose.

  12. NogginTheNog
    Thumb Up

    Preventing churn

    My current contract with Three will expire in the next month or two, so I look forward to this, and also to seeing what I can extract from them this time! :-)

    Last year I was actually happily going to renew ('cos I'm on a good deal after going on 4 years with them, and am happy enough with the service). I turned down the offer of a free handset upgrade as I have my own unlocked SE P1i, and Three don't offer any decent smartphone type handsets, but the sales rep was insistent, and basically twisted my arm to take it as they had it already budgeted for, and put it on eBay! I did, and got 70 quid, which almost paid for my years line rental!

    Market forces rule!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Three: they just don't listen....

    I also had a big problem with Three. They were calling many times a day for over two weeks - the thing is though I’m a night worker. No matter how many times I told them to stop calling - they just ignored me. Eventually, I contacted the media department in frustration (search the website – it’s there if you need to contact them). Told them: if they don't stop calling me - be prepared for some negative press because I shall go to the media.

    I got a call from head office in the afternoon to say that the problem had been sorted and that I would never get another call. What a joke... that lasted two days, then it started again. I am so glad that my contract with Three has finished. They just do not respect their customer’s wishes. If there was the slightest chance of me taking up another contract with them - the last four weeks killed it stone dead.

  14. Andy Hards
    Thumb Down

    It's the banks that Pz me off

    There are 3 branches of the Ll bank near me and every few months they all call me trying to get me in for one of their little chats where they try and get me to take out a loan, upgrade my account, insurance etc etc etc. The last time my wife went in they upgraded her account without her knowledge, there were charges involved too. They then decided that we both needed to pay £9 a month for them to photocopy all out important docs in case of fire or flood. I called and complained that it had all been done without our knowledge and after two calls they downgraded the account again but left the charges on. I complained again at the beginning of the month and they have now repayed the charges but no apology has been forthcoming. And if I go 1p overdrawn they charge me £15 a day?? SCUM the lot of em. It's their fault this country's in the state it's in etc etc blah blah

  15. Lee Prescott
    Thumb Up

    Similar here

    My uncle was bombarded with sales calls from a conservatory company so in the end he let them book an appointment with him. The sales guy was furious when he turned up and found out that my Uncle lived on the 11th Floor of a tower block.

  16. flez1966

    3 are a set of tw"ts

    I left vodafone when 3 gave me a cheaper rate, I wanted sim only but they offered a free handset so I took a simple k610i and gave it my daughter, I had the sim in my w900i for 17 months, and the got a call from 3, I said I did not want to upgrade, I loved my phone, and I was willing to sign another contract if they wished but was happy as I was and was intending to stay with them.

    One day later sim update occured, phone said no service, i phoned them from another phone, guess what, my phone had gone off due to becoming incompatible with their system, I thought that's odd....

    when I got home I put the wifes sim in, it worked fine, my sim worked fine in her phone, but my sim would not work in my phone, it was a like they had paired the sim and handset but in reverse...

    I tried for a week to get this undone and in the end did not renew my contract, cancelled my 3 broadband contract, cancelled my wife's contract, and my 2 sons cancelled their phone and broadband contracts.

    Now were paying more elsewhere - note to three, dont F' off your customers..

  17. Adam Salisbury
    Thumb Down

    As a 3 customer...

    ...of many years, All i can to this chap is GET OUT!! get out while you still can! They're great until you've renewed and if you're as unlucky as me about a week into your new contract you findyou've gotta attempt a call at least 3 times (conincidence!?!) before you get through. I'm now counting down the months until I can get out!

  18. faragher

    They also use some...

    ... interesting tactics. I recently cancelled my contract and was told that the handset I was choosing with another network was "a bit feminine". That was the point at which I stopped trying to be polite.

  19. Natalie Gritpants


    If ours has been good and made a good jobs of mucking out the stable we let her go to bed at 6:30pm.

  20. Andy Bloice

    3 and conservatories...

    Bless 'em, I'd had enough of 3 last year and also asked to take both mine and the boss's off contract and onto payg - guess what? They cancelled both lines instead the useless gets.

    Plus we'd get these beauties week in, week out:

    "Hello, we're calling on behalf of 3 and we notice you're due an upgrade soon!"

    Really, can I have such and such a phone then?

    "Of course, but that will mean starting a new contract"

    That's ok

    "Great, can we get some details?"

    Aye, fire away....useless detail gathering exercise...

    "What number can you be reached on?" rang me?!!!

    "Hello, we're calling on behalf of 3 and we notice you're due an upgrade soon!"

    Really, can I have such and such a phone then?

    "Of course, but that will mean starting a new contract"

    That's ok

    "Great, can we get some details?"

    Aye, fire away....useless detail gathering exercise...

    Oh, will you settle up the existing contract?

    "Of course"

    Great, so that's 17 months and 3 weeks you'll sort for me then?


    On the conservatory front, we used to get hassled loads, which always amazed me as the boss insisted we had ex-directory telephone line (this is pre-mobile).

    We went through a 6 week patch where we had 4 reps come round after we expressed an interest in their cold calling.

    Only one got really upset when he arrived to find we were a first floor maisonette?

  21. Jamie 19

    I am currently with Orange

    Was with O2, changed to Orange and will change back to O2 when the contract is up. The worst bit of service I have ever had is recently with Orange.

    But on to telemarketing, had one call my mobile regarding mobile broadband and laptop deals they have. Funny thing is that when he called I was online looking for a deal on a laptop, mentioned this to him, the line went dead, and I have not heard back since. hehehehe

  22. Lloyd
    Thumb Up


    Same here, 10 years with Orange and they couldn't have given less of a shit, presumably they're making so much money they don't care.

  23. W

    @ NogginTheNog

    "Three don't offer any decent smartphone type handsets"

    Yeah, the Nokia E71 is just appaling.


    Ok, you like your P1. Good for you. But get over yourself and stop talking pish.

  24. MrTivo

    Some tips for a fast exit....

    If you want a quick exit when talking to the call centre in India, then do not engage them in any conversation while they 'process' your request. Keep it limited to, 'can i have my PAC/cancel the account'. You may wish to add that you are recording the call, regardless of whether you are or not. The other option is to say you're leaving the country and will be getting a local contract.

    If you are unlucky and don't get someone who helps, hang up and try again. As you are leaving the network they generally have the shortest queue wait time.

    I requested my PAC and played the waiting game and was offered a £22 off a £30 pcm tariff and a new phone, a week before I was due to end the contract period. ebay the phone to make it cheaper still. They can't be making money on these deals.

  25. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    not really relevant but...

    Yesteday someone from Virgin phoned me to confirm that I did not want to be contacted by phone. It was one of the more surreal telephone conversations of the week.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    "Who puts their kids to bed at 7PM?"

    Parents or nanny I presume.

    A certain level of intelligence is assumed of Reg readers and that's not a difficult question to answer....

  27. Schultz
    Jobs Halo


    The mobe companies surely educate theit salespeople in the arabic art of haggling. Don't want to buy? How about I cut ten percent off the price and give you this beautiful gourd with it?

    I changed contract after they wouldn't offer me a certain rate for contract extension. A week later they offered exactly that contract plus a bonus but I had already gone elsewhere. Oooh well, always gotta wait for the 10th call!

    Steve knows how to get a good price!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tom 15

    "Who puts their kids to bed at 7PM?"

    Someone with a < 12-month-old. They sleep 14 hours a day, you know. *I* don't, but *he* does. Lucky little bastard... :)

  29. Mike Richards


    And the prize for the most hideous new word goes to...

    '... upsell...'

  30. Hollerith 1

    3 got £10 off me for nothing

    I got a mobile broadband dongle and £10 voucher for my first pay-as-you-go top-up, as i wanted to try it out, with the thought of signing up with them on a monthly deal if happy. I got home, read the small print, and decided I didn't want it. I had been told I had three days to bring it back for a full refund. I did so, and got the money back for the dongle, but 'unfortunately' they could not refund me for the £10 voucher, which I had not activated.

    There was no point asking the lowly sales clerk why, but their head of customer service now has a nice letter asking them why, and also why they think they would ever see me again, as they have £10 off me for sod all.

    The fun thing is that I was also attracted to their Skype deal, and me and the missus were talking about getting a Skype Blackberry each. So for the sake of £10, they have lost two customers forever. Spend it wisely, £UK.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    3 == Muppets

    I took out a new contract with 3 last june, 2 months later find out I'm using way way more minutes than I had planned for, so phone them up to upgrade my plan to the next one be told that "we discontinued your price plan series so the only other option is £45 a month", what about your other plans? I ask, "oh no you cannot change to other price plans"

    Needless to say I spat the dummy, hung up, phoned their I want to leave line and was told my contract goes up in November, so I'm cancelling and either going to O2 sim only or Voda.

    I liked 3, now they have just went back to being shit again. Plus I hate their call centre, most of them can barely speak english and those that can are arrogant little sods with an attitude problem.

    Even Sky seem to have made an effort to improve their customer service, they still suck though

  32. Dave 8

    Got my call

    Last night they offered to reduce my contract by 25% and give me a free handset. I don't know why the put down the phone when I wanted to take up the offer. I just wanted to know how they'd reduce my Orange bill! I must admit that she started getting touchy when I use false and advertising at the same time.


  33. A B 3

    If you wondered why...

    people thought the telephone was the work of the devil. Now you know why.

  34. Geoff Ballinger

    I am lucky - only 3 calls so far ...

    Have PAC code and heading down to be thoroughly fleeced by O2 for a new iPhone tomorrow morning. Cheers,


  35. Straus
    Thumb Down

    Been there...

    I laughed and mocked my wife for the duration of a 45 minute call it took to cancel her contract with 3 and get a PAC code off them, then told her to watch me deal with the same situation when I cancelled my contract with them the following month.

    And it took me 45 freakin' minutes too. They started with the usual offers, insisted their coverage in my area was 100% which it most certainly wasn't, then they lied and spouted utter garbage about a rival network and handset. Once the guy finally accepted he was going to get a renewal out of me, it took a further 15 minutes to get my PAC code.

    "No sir, you can call back to get the PAC code, it will be more convenient for you this way."

    Yea, right, call back and repeat this entire process because you haven't actually cancelled my contract. In the end I was just repeating "Give me the PAC code." over and over until he relented.

    Utter scum armed with a torrent of lies and misinformation bordering on criminal deception.

    Then, a month later on my new network, I get a barrage of calls from 3 to renew my contract.

    I still regularly get calls from 3 customer service to my current O2 handset with the same number and I've repeatedly pointed out I'm no longer a 3 customer and they're calling an O2 handset.

  36. Pyrlyc

    3 strikes and they're out?


    "Three don't offer any decent smartphone type handsets"

    I have to agree with 'W' that The E71 is a brilliant smartphone that is offered by 3 on a fantastic deal at the moment.

    Now, there is a lot of bad press about 3, but you rarely get people bothering to post positive comments on the internet anyway - so I decided to take the plunge on their current £20/month contract with the E71; perfect for me, unlimited texts, a small amount of minutes and a new phone (that it was my preference of the E71 and came with unlimited data [up to 1GB] was simply a bonus). This was after a lot of research of their 2G network being 'leased' from Orange and the sharing of their 3G network with T-Mobile; I had been with Orange before with a good signal, so I knew it should be fine. Things such as these are what people need to research before taking contracts with any mobile operator - coverage varies from network to network quite dramatically, and this is [I believe] a common failing of a public who are often far too quick to blame others.

    I'm not going to excuse 3's ills - it's clear that they've done wrong here and in many other instances, but I have found myself with good service and just ignored them when they've tried to phone me (probably to ask what I think of the service, but I really don't have the time or inclination - if I'm not complaining, it's a good thing). Here's hoping that they'll keep on providing me with good service - for all of your who have been shafted by them, I'm sorry!

    Are 3's prices often too good to pass up even for this irritation... possibly, unless you've been with another operator for a long, long time. It's a balance issue and each to their own.

  37. Zariel
    Thumb Down

    Not surprised

    I can only laugh at that really, the "exclusive benefits" team (ROFL), like everthing else, is outsourced to a tiny little company who's ethos seems to be "sell your arse off, or your out the door"

    I pity that man for having to deal with them, my heart goes out to him.

  38. The Vociferous Time Waster

    O2 are scum

    I am currently logging all my contact with O2 because every single time I ring them I get a different answer and they promise to do things but then don't. I look after the corp contract for 27 lines and I rang up to get some international bars removed and they told me it was done but I found out when I rang back three days later that the bars were still there.

    Our facilities manager is currently abroad with no working blackberry because they didn't remove the bars despite me asking twice. Now she is abroad they say they can't remove it.

    We will be moving to a different provider in September but first I shall be detailing every failure since the beginning of the year to them when they ask about renewals.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    3 arrghh

    Ah! i hate 3 they customer service was terrible.

    They would never do anyting, they refused to escalae calls to supervisiors!

    The most bizzare was that if you wanted to complian formally, they would insist you WRITE to to them! Yet, they are happy to push for you to interact with them electronically.

    as for the exit process, i never could work out after treating you the customer like ***** and with uter contempt, once you requested a PAC code their benefits team used to ring you with "exclusive" or "special" deals.....

    often, you could go to the high street and see better ones advertised in the window of the 3 shop!

    They could never undersand why you were leaving hem on the basis of customer service, and would even pay more at another telco if reqd. They thought it was all about price and minutes.

    oh, and dont get me started on the 3G dongles..... such a sorry saga, thye didnt seem to grasp the fact that as it wouldnt work on my laptop running XP it was useless to me and there response to follow up with the huwei, or wait for the (never forthcoming) patch just got painful!

    ALthough I found it interesting for the laucnch period the technical support whent to a lovely and helpful call centre in Ireland, it soon went to a unhelpful script driven agents of the devil in a far off land!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The changed their T's and C's by charging for itemised billing. I backed down

    They changed them again with the Europe rate being cancelled. I argued for 45 minutes and got my PAC code 9 months early.

    I get to keep the HTC Kaiser too.

    I alomost felt sorry for those Indian call centre girls, until I realised that their whole job was to make life difficult for you. Bollocks to em

  41. Stef 2

    Not at any price

    Lousy coverage, lousy customer 'service' - low price? Not low enough, you'd have to pay me to go with 3.

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