/ Home & Energy, Technology

Brief cases: faulty mobile phone

iphone 6

What are you rights when your mobile phone handset develops a fault while it’s still under warranty and you’re on a contract?

Which? Legal member Clare Bromell bought an iPhone 6 with a two-year O2 contract from Carphone Warehouse for her daughter in November 2015. She paid £60 upfront and then £38.88 monthly onwards.

In February 2017, the phone stopped working and Apple provided a report confirming it wouldn’t switch on. Mrs Bromell spoke to Carphone Warehouse and it said it would send the phone for ‘repair’ for £270. She gave the store the handset but said she didn’t intend to pay.

She then wrote to Carphone Warehouse’s chief executive, saying the phone should be repaired under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, but she was ignored.

The repairers returned the phone to the store in late February and confirmed Apple’s report. Carphone Warehouse said it could help no further, so Mrs Bromell turned to Which? Legal.

Our advice

We advised Mrs Bromell that O2 was liable under the contract taken out.

O2 said that she’d signed a joint contract and it was only responsible for the Sim and Carphone Warehouse for the handset.

She put in a formal complaint to O2, and the next day was called by its serious complaints department.  She was initially offered a one-month contract reduction, but eventually a replacement refurbished handset.

The law

With mobile phone contracts you’re buying both goods and services. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the goods should be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and match their description. If they are not, you have the right to reject the item within 30 days.

If that period has passed, you can get a repair or replacement, which must be done within a reasonable time at the trader’s cost.

In buying a mobile phone, different parties are often involved. Here, Apple was the manufacturer, Carphone Warehouse was the agent delivering the phone and O2 was the service provider.

If, like Mrs Bromell, you buy a service contract with a handset from a service provider, and pay a small fee then monthly payments, you should claim against the service provider.

If the firm won’t budge, you can reject the phone or request a price reduction, although the company can make a deduction reflecting the use that you’ve had.

You can escalate your complaint to the operator’s dispute resolution service, either the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS) or Ombudsman Services Communications.

This article by the Which? Legal team originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of Which? magazine

Has your phone ever developed a faulty while you’re still tied into a contract? Did you  provider replace or repair it?


It might be useful to bookmark this Convo for future reference, in case they are in the same situation or could help others. There must be many people with a broken phone who are still making monthly payments. One point that should really be in this article is that companies are not responsible for faults caused by abuse, and phones are often get dropped.

bishbut says:
27 September 2017

All companies will refuse to pay out anything say it is not their responsibility if they believe they can avoid doing so It’s money that adds to the excessive profits so they do not want pay out unnecessary


The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba-the Consumer Amendment Protection Act (Cell Phone Contracts ) –how its done there : https://web2.govmb.ca/bills/39-5/bo35e.ophp


That contract was a ripoff from the start- i got an iphone 6 in february 2015 on a 2 year contract for £25 a month,no money upfront

Rosie says:
8 February 2018

hi vidafone are advertising a deal on line to me for £14.45 8gb, unlimited calls and texts but when I tried to confirm through their on line chat room they are telling me this is a website glitch and it should be £17 per month just wondering how they can say one thing and then not honour it?


Rosie-Unless they are like a shop window where you look into it and it mistakenly says -genuine Rolex – £50 and when you go into buy -sorry we forgot to add two zeros . It is looked on as an “offer to buy ” and is not contractually legally binding .

Rosie says:
8 February 2018

all sorted they have honoured their website price


Well done. 🙂

jason says:
11 February 2018

ID MOBILE or to be ashamed for the way I have been treated from picking up the phone in carphone warehouse Doncaster. A catalogue of errors all the way from taking 11 days to port my number, they promised within 48 hours. I have tried several attempts to resololve the matter with ID Mobile but to no avail.
Please avoid this provider.
Trading Standards next and the Ombusman.


ID Mobile gets a bad write up on Trustpilot Jason and a number of other websites . CK Hutchinson Holdings own it. Guess what Jason you will be lucky to get anywhere with them they are a NOW -Chinese owned headquartered in Hong Kong big shareholder business in the -guess where registered – thats right the Cayman Islands its got ties to Alibaba who Donald has sanctioned . Massive company . I dont fancy your chances best of luck!


What is a reasonable time for a warranty repair? I requested a warranty repair on a LG Nexus phone registered with LG two weeks ago. It has taken till today to get return instructions. I have bought a cheap Nokia phone to tide my wife and I over till the LG gets repaired. I confess to being very unimpressed with LG’s service. In the past I have had Nokia phones repaired under warranty, they collect them within a day or two.