20/12/2007

Mobile Phone Cashback Deals Criticised

Many mobile phone cashback deals are rip-offs which should be banned, consumer group Which? has claimed.

The deals, where customers pay upfront for a handset and contract and then claim some or all of their money back over a period, sound great, Which? says, but in reality they warn they can be "highly dubious".

Which? says that they have received thousands of calls from customers complaining that they are unable to claim their cashback.

Reasons for this include that the terms of the deal make it complicated to claim or that the firm goes bust.

In July, five phone networks - O2, Vodafone, 3, Orange and T-Mobile - pledged to keep a watch over these offers when they signed up to a voluntary code of practice, which was endorsed by industry regulator Ofcom and was introduced to reduce the number of people missing out on their cashback.

However, Which? said that it checked 10 mobile phone dealers' websites in October and found offers on six of them, which breached the code.

Which? Online editor Malcolm Cole said: "We think mobile phone cashback deals that make customers jump through hoops to get their money should be banned. If cashback is offered, it should be automatic.

"Thousands of people have already lost money through these dodgy deals, so don't touch them with a bargepole. Ring in the New Year with a cheap mobile phone deal that doesn't include cashback."

(KMcA)


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