3 is the Shittest Number.

So, you remember how I was looking for a new mobile phone?

After wading through all the crap that is the mobile phone industry and analysing ‘cap’ plans and coverage and free phones and pre/post paid options, I was decided on the $49 Cap Plan with Three Mobile that was offering the Nokia N95 8Gb phone for free. $310 worth of calls and all that stuff.

The Nokia N95 has the equivalent features of an iPhone without the hype, touch-screen or wankiness.

I even got a deal through a cricket mailing list I was on that offered $50 credit if I bought if online or over the phone and unlimited ‘Sportscap’, which was Sports updates and scores and stuff.

It didn’t take long to do. I called them up, went through all the legal mumbo jumbo and was told my phone would arrive 2 days later.

It did! I unwrapped it, charged it up and was off.

Problem was….the documentation that came with the phone indicated I was on the $29 cap.

My impression was, that I had been given the phone ‘free’ on the $29 cap, but when I logged into the Three site, it indicated I was paying $18 monthly installments on the $29 cap. This comes to $47 a month but with only $150 worth of ‘capped’ calls compare to the $310 worth on the $49 cap plan with the phone free.

Obviously I was not happy with this scenario so I called up Three to ask them to switch me to the $49 Cap Plan as requested.

What has followed has been a continuing battle with Three’s ‘Customer Care’ centre that obviously resides in India. Frustrations have reached such a point that I have threatened to go to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. Like they seem to give a shit..

Check out this letter that I sent to Three on Monday and copied to the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman)


I would like to express my dismay and frustration at problems since joining Three Mobile.

The details of my complaint start when originally signing up with Three Mobile on the 23rd of July.
I was sent an advertisement for a Three deal via the Australia Cricket Family mailing list. It advertised the Nokia N95 8Gb on a $49 Cap Plan (and SportsCap) with $50 free credit.

I was keen to change plans and have always been interested in using Three as my service provider so I decided to take up the deal.
I original went to my local Three store, but they advised that to take advantage of the code in the email and get the $50 credit, I would need to apply over the phone or online.

So, I went about calling the Three Sales Team on the phone that afternoon (23/07/08). (probably around 3pm)

I spoke with a lovely girl from the Sales team and discussed the $49 Cap Plan with the Nokia N95 and we went through all of the application process smoothly. All discussion on the phone with the girl were regarding the $49 plan with the phone being free on this plan (no monthly installments). She also indicated I would get the $50 credit and gave me 2 months of free web browsing on my account to try it out (100Mb a month plan)

As promised the phone arrived on the Friday and I opened to packaging to find that the paperwork indicated I was on the $29 Cap Plan.

As I was going away that weekend I did not have time to call until the following week (Thursday 31st of July) when I rang the 133 320 Customer Care Number.

I spoke to the operator and explained the situation as I have written above, but was told that everything on the account indicated that I was on the $29 Plan (with $18 handset installments) and not the $49 (with no monthly installments) as requested. I told him that there must have been a mistake as I at no stage asked for the $29 Plan. I was told that the legal declaration was for the $29 Plan. After some discussions in which the operator could offer no reasonable resolution, I requested to speak to the supervisor. The operator told me that I would not get a different answer from them, but I insisted. The supervisor then told me the same things, saying that the declaration was for the $29 Plan. I again told him that I had never discussed the $29 with the sales lady at any stage, so a mistake has been made on their end.

The supervisor finally agreed to follow the situation up the with the Sales Support team and told me he would get back to me once he got a reply from them. He told me he would call on Friday.

On Friday the 1st of August, I called 133 320 again to follow it up, and got a woman on the Customer Care line. I wanted another opinion on whether I could be switched to the $49 Plan simply. She indicated the same as the previous call and told me that the supervisor was following it up from the day before. I agreed to wait for contact from him.

The supervisor called back that afternoon (01/08/08 ) and told me he would call on Monday with an answer from the Support team.

By Thursday the week after (07/08/08 ) I had not had a callback from Three so I again called the Customer Care line. I spoke to another operator for almost 30 minutes explaining my situation. He once again insisted that all indications on the account were for the $29 Plan. I told him a mistake had been made and it should be changed to the $49 Plan, but he said that he could not do that. I was getting very frustrated now and told him that I expect this to be resolved and asked when a callback from him will be forthcoming. He told me he would call the next day with an update.

The next day I received no call and as of 10:20am on Monday the 11th of August, I have had no response from Three Mobile.

This whole process has been frustrating, stressful and extremely annoying. I cannot believe that I am repeatedly being told that even though I was not the one to make a mistake, I could not get the plan change to the one that I asked for. There is not even any logical reason why I would ask for the $29 Plan with $18 installments as it comes to the same price as the $49. I would even be paying $2 more for the $49 Cap Plan.

The communication with Three has been nothing short of inadequate. I have waited on the phone for long periods of time with no positive feedback and I am told the same things over and over again. It’s like the operator expects me to just back down and admit that I have made a mistake, which I have not.

I am not going to back down from this as the customer service has been appalling.

I expect the Plan to be altered to the $49 plan I asked for with no monthly installments and as discussed with the Sales lady, I would get the $50 credit and also the 2 months of complimentary Internet access (this access worked for the first few days, but has not worked since)

I have contacted the ACCC regarding this issue and they have indicated that this issue may contravene Section 52 of the Trade Practices ACT relating to misleading or deceptive conduct.

I expect a response and resolution within 7 days, and I have cc’d this email to the Telecommunication Ombudsman so they can act on my behalf if required.



This was sent on Monday. The Telecommunication Ombudsman called me on Wednesday and told me they would follow this up if I got no responses from Three Mobile.

It’s Friday, and so far….nothing.

I am pretty pissed off that a company can try and get away with this sort of crap and not give their customer any decent level of customer service.

Why would I ever recommend Three to anyone after this sort of support, or lack of.

It totally shits me off when companies can offer no sort of reasonable resolution to what appears to be a cut and dried case.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted. If they don’t reply by Monday arvo, I’ll ask the Ombudsman to represent me. Then hopefully they’ll kick their arse!

Plus I want something free for the stress they have put me through.

Look at me. Stressed. ๐Ÿ™‚

UPDATE – They called me up and told me they couldn’t stop the $18 installments coming out, but they would credit me $18 a month and up me to the $49 plan. I was sick of messing around so I accepted it, but I never got my 2 month of free Net access. Oh well…


About Mick

I've been around a while. I like to wrap myself around the warm security of the interwebs which have consumed me since 1993. I whinge, I rant, I crap on. Enjoy. View all posts by Mick

5 responses to “3 is the Shittest Number.

  • Epskee

    Wow. So 3 obviously haven’t changed their tune. I went through all that (and more) when I was with them, both to join, and to leave. Took just over 4 mths to get it sorted when I joined, and now 2 years later there is still issues about me leaving them. Good luck mate, you sure as hell are gunna need it.

    (btw, enjoy being on hold with that 3 song. its enough to turn you into a serial killer)

  • Melly Mel

    Request a copy of the voice recording contract. That is basically their equivalent of a written contract (you know the thing where you go through all the “this is what you’ve agreed to please say yes” crap). If they’ve said that it’s for the $49 cap in there you will (eventually) be set. Will take you a while to get it but sooner you request it the sooner u’ll get it.

  • The Crab

    I’d ask them to cancel your contract and go through someone else. Fuck going through all that and STILL giving them your $49 (or more) a month.

  • Roger

    I signed up for the N95 8gb for $49 with three. I have had no such problems and it has worked a treat.

    Three is just brilliant value.

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