I’m 12 months into an 18 month contract with mobile operator 3 here in the UK, and until now, I’ve been very happy with the service that they have provided.

But there’s been a bit of a hiccup. Yesterday evening, I received a text message stating that I had reached my “allowance under the 3 Fair Use Policy” which for the Internet Max addon, is 1GB/month. 

3 reach fair use allowance

Since this arrived on the 20th November (and my billing cycle is the 14th), this means I’ve used 1GB in just 6 days on my phone. I don’t use it that much! So I checked the log on my E71:

E71 data use

So I used 84MB, in the last 30 days, according to my phone. This is a long way from 1GB. It appears then, that 3 have made a mistake. Or my data logger doesn’t work properly.

So today, I called 3 Customer Services via my handset. I spoke to a representative called Sarah, who explained to me that I had reached my allowance, and that I could not use the internet on my handset until 14th December. That’s a long way off! I explained, carefully and calmly, that the data logger on my phone showed that I had use a lot less, and that in fact, I hadn’t used data on the phone much since the last billing cycle. This got me nowhere. She confirmed my details, and checked to see what phone I was using on their system. They seemed to think I was still using my Skypephone, despite me updating my account via My3 to reflect that I now use a Nokia E71 back in September. She then put me on hold to confirm that the E71 did in fact have the capability to log data usage.

I explained roughly how much I had used, according to the phone, and the fact that these figures were for the last 30 days. She asked my how many “MB” were in a “GB” and I explained – 1024MB = 1GB. Less than 90MB was a long way from 1GB.

This also, got me nowhere. I requested that she check my exact data usage, and was told that they have no way of checking exact usage when using the Internet Max add-on. It was all automated, and if I got a text saying that I had reached my allowance, then it must be so. 

She offered to remove the Internet Max addon, and I could continue to access the internet on my phone by paying £2/MB. I carefully explained that this was not acceptable as it was very expensive, hence me paying for the add-on. Quite resilient to any form of complaint, I was essentially told I would have to wait until my bill arrived, mid-December, to find out the exact use, and there was nothing more that they can do.

I asked if there was anyone else I could talk to as I did not find it acceptable to be cut off from the Internet, when as far as I am concerned, 3 have made a mistake. I, the customer, should not be penalised for a mistake made by the company providing a service that I pay for. Of course, it was like talking to a brick wall, and all very frustrating.

Let’s hope I can find another way to get in touch with someone at 3 and resolve it – the 14th of December is a long way away!