/ Shopping

Customer service 101: complaints aren’t ‘spam’

What’s the best way to deal with a Twitter complaint? You could solve it, you could ignore it, or – in the case of Three Mobile – you could label the customer a ‘spammer’ and have their means of complaint cut off.

Last week a few Which? Convo commenters alerted us to some very odd behaviour. They said that Three was reporting their tweets as ‘spam’ because they were sending repeated complaint messages about Three Mobile’s price rise.

When I first read his comment, I thought – wait, surely Three’s not reporting its customers as spammers? But apparently, it is.

Three Mobile reports legitimate tweets as spam

Here’s what a spokesperson from Three had to say (full response in the comments below):

‘We have flagged a handful of accounts as spammers when we receive a high volume of repetitive tweets in rapid succession and other Twitter users begin to complain about an account spamming. We don’t decide Twitter’s terms but take the general view that they are there for the benefit of all users. Like any other Twitter user we have to abide by them.’

On the surface that sounds reasonable but, for those of us familiar with Twitter, the idea of being reported as spam is terrifying. Someone might ‘block’ you if they don’t want to hear what you’ve got to say (useful for people who might send loads of messages that you don’t want to reply to).

Alternatively, someone might use a Twitter program to ‘mute’ you temporarily – I confess to using this sometimes if one of my followers sends repeated tweets about a football match I’m not interested in.

But only in extreme circumstances would I use the ‘report for spam’ button. If you block someone, you’re saying ‘I don’t want to hear what you’ve got to say’, but if you report someone for spam you are actively trying to get Twitter to remove their account.

The equivalent – I think – is not just a company hanging up when you call their customer services line, but actively trying to get your phone cut off.

Companies ‘can’t shut people down’

So what of the claim that other Twitter users were complaining about account spamming? Well, surely the only way other users would see these messages was if they were following the person sending them, or if they actively searched for these messages. It strikes me as exceptionally odd that anyone would actively seek out complaints from another user and then ask Three to report them as spam.

Luckily for these users they haven’t been banned from the site – meaning Twitter has looked at their accounts and judged that they aren’t spammers. But when I asked various digital experts for their opinions, they were quite horrified that it was happening.

Patrick Klerk, online strategist for the digital agency TamTam, said:

‘We’re heading towards an economy where customers are expecting, no, demanding online feedback and empathy from companies. If a company is foolish enough to report its fans for spam when they have a question or remark, then this company is well on its way to destroying its own customer base.’

Dr Andy Williamson, freelance digital consultant, added:

‘It’s a poor example of how to use social media and a pretty unrealistic view of the real world. I think the company is genuinely lost in how to deal with social media rather than being vindictive, but that doesn’t matter – businesses need to learn that they don’t control the dialogue anymore and can’t shut people down.’

So in my mind, there is no excuse for reporting your customers as ‘spammers’ on Twitter.

I appreciate there are some problems a company’s Twitter team won’t be able to resolve or respond to. And I know it can be incredibly frustrating when they receive lots of messages about an issue that they don’t have the power to resolve straight away. But calling your customers ‘spammers’ and trying to have them banned from Twitter is absolutely not the way to deal with this frustration.

In a world where more companies are getting online, and providing great customer service via social networks, it saddens me to see one getting it so wrong.


What sheer and utter nonsence it is that retailers are being allowed to use a rise in the “retail price index”, that they themselves create, as a gauge to further increase their prices to consumers.

This sittuation has little to do with ambiguous, or not,clauses in so called fixed term contracts but more the lack of action by the quango like bodies we pay for through the public purse to protect us against such abuses.

Small wonder it is then that the likes of politicians,media barons and bankers have such an easy ride with these so called toothless bodies that somehow stil manage to continually bite the hands that feed them and, i might add, have a jolly good old time of it in the process.

Keith Brooker

most of the time,some of the time,none of the time?

Hi Nikki/Patrick,

I have already sent you a number of emails indicating and supporting my statistical argument for the quite obvious control of the tweeting of certain “subject matter with links from specific accounts” that appears to be occurring in the Three public timelines, (i.e. links to TRAFFICSENSE, Advertising Standards Authority and Andrew Dyson’s paper… hardly innocuous given the disputed subject by Three customers like myself?).

It has also been repeatedly suggested that accounts would only be suspended by Twitter should the user be found of the most aggressive kind of behaviour on Twitter possible, which I assure you I am not, and that only Twitter would have the ability to remove tweets from a timeline.

However, after literally days of inactivity by myself on twitter due to yet another bout of illness, I have returned today to find my account “dudtwo” suspended!

Given that I was using this account, together with my friend Paddy using his for test case purposes, to build up a statistical picture of how many of those kinds of tweets simply FAILED to go through to those timelines from accounts that Three might view as not being well disposed to them, it really doesn’t surprise me, but it does fly in the face of what is being suggested regarding this procedure!

However I can assure you it is not merited by the content of my tweets, and it only confirms and supports our view that there is more to this “dumbing down” behaviour by this brand/network on Twitter than meets the eye!

We have not extended our analysis to other forms of Social Media yet due to time constraints.

Their other tactics of flooding the timelines with tweets regarding cheap give-away phone competitions, or tweets from clearly paid sycophants boasting of Three’s “awards” (cough!) I can handle, and despite their obvious “flavour” I cannot, nor would not dispute them, indeed I would expect them in response.

But the clearly clandestine removal of tweets of an opposing nature on the Three public timelines that is happening to Paddy’s messages even today as we speak (let’s say, about all the recent magazine and web site reports – with links to the relevant articles, so all totally true – detailing the poor reflections of OFCOM on the performance of Three and their Customer Services), is so highly visible and I am sorry but I feel we HAVE no choice but to continue to dispute and highlight these activities.

Given our monitoring of their timelines for a whole week now, which I am sure most users of Twitter would never do and so would not become aware of (certainly I wasn’t before embarking on this activity), I cannot in any way accept that Three do not have any direct influence over what does and does not show in their public timelines, and indeed who those tweets may be from.

Can I add that I am also now approaching Twitter about the suspension of my account and the suggested reasons for it.

It will prove an interesting read I am sure!

Will says:
3 July 2012

I’ve noticed a severe drop in the number of negaive tweets, retweets and links to here and other articles etc during @ThreeUK and @ThreeUKSupport’s working hours. Could just be a coincidence…

I found out on Friday that @ThreeUKSupport had blocked me on Twitter thereby cutting me off from support on my three different contracted services with them. I called them out on this via @ThreeUK and I became miraculously unblocked …but no comuunication about this from the support team. It does appear that I am having some dificulty getting them to respond to any of my tweeted questions and I am still waiting for a post on their log to be published but I guess it’s their right to ignore (over)paying customers if they want.

I’ve also noticed a flurry of negative voting on the posts here. Generaly five new negative votes per post …coincidentally the same number of Three mods online 😉

Hi Will,

My own twitter account is still suspended, although I am currently pursuing the matter with Twitter, as to exactly what the reasoning is behind this action. I had already been blocked by @Threeuk and @ThreeUKSupport, clearly for having a dissenting voice and expressing so with proper use of frequency and language on Twitter and respecting their guidelines, which, just like yourself, cut me off from support on my two different contracted services with them. Now I can have no dissenting voice in their public facing timelines until my account is re-instated, although there is absolutely no way it should have been taken away in the first place. Equally I continue to have no access to support on there either.

Some of Three’s other customers tweeting there can be pretty colourful in their use of language to say the least, and insistently and frequently so. But it’s not apparent to me that their accounta are being suspended or objected to by Three?

But start tweeting with support for a cogent argument on those timelines and you soon find yourself blocked, reported as a spammer, or your account suspended.

Equally the magical ability for certain tweets from those same accounts that do come under the scrutinous gaze of Three, to start disappearing should they prove too, articulate, insightful or rebellious in their tone and subject matter, especially when they include links to supporting material, also raises its head more frequently than logic would permit, despite continual denials.from Three and other quarters that they have “no ability to affect what is appearing in their timelines”, a “fact” I would and do now continue to dispute wholeheartedly.

As for the negative voting on comments within this thread, I hadn’t noticed it myself until you mentioned it, but it doesn’t surprise me, equally because all of my own comments appear to have harvested quite a fair few of such votes, during the process.

I have noticed that from the “tone” of their tweets, there are a number of sycophants and afficionados of Three within their channels, clearly masquerading as “helpful customers”, who are more than prepared to begin “promoting” Three and singing their praises whenever voices to the contrary are raised by myself and others in their timelines.

So I wouldn’t be suprised if the same characters aren’t following some of the links to this thread and others that we have been posting within our tweets for the last week or more, to attempt to reek a little havoc over here too, as trolls.

All told, this is proving “quite” an eye opening experience for me regarding Three and the lengths to which they are prepared to go to in order to silence, or drown out, any opposition to their “business strategies” within the public eye whilst denying individual customer’s legal rights, including those of contract cancellation through detriment (and equally breach regarding the complete lack of notification of the implementation of the TRAFFICSENSE trials even on AYCE plans, which no-one appears to be highlighting), in private.

What a wonderfully ethical company they are NOT!

I am once more this morning, observing the flurry of tweets for yet another “free phone competition”, that appear to form one of Three’s few strategies to drown out voices of opposition on Twitter, i.e. “let’s flood the @ThreeUK timelines with what appear to be hungry individuals clamouring after said device”.

Each of those many (?) “individuals” (?) would appear to be tweeting EXACTLY the same message, with EXACTLY the same link favouring the competition, repeatedly into Three’s timelines, entries appearing throughout the day, and often their frequency increases magically JUST when the voices of unhappy customers, who are complaining about Three’s quality of customer service, or the lack of signal, or indeed the issues of TRAFFICSENSE or RPI, are being raised and trying to be heard.

Here, is a fine example of one such current tweeted competition entry:

“suej1601 7:01am via Twitter for Android
#Win RT Awesome Competition time – Win an HTC One V free on Talk3G bit.ly/LPWvaK @ThreeUK #htc”

Twitter individual “suej1601” would “appear” to be desperate to win such a device, and over the many days I have been monitoring Three’s timelines, I have lost count of the number of times she, and certain other fine examples of these suggested “individual” twitterers, have repeatedly sent EXACTLY the same formatted tweet into those same timelines, and remarkably as I have said, often at a point when my friends have been sending their own tweets into those same timelines, reflecting their views on said issues above.

Despite all of this, do I see these users accounts being suspended due to an alleged high frequency of tweets within a given timeframe and possibly breaking Twitters rules of service?


Do I see their accounts being flagged as spammers?


Do I see their IDENTICALLY WORDED AND REPEATED tweets disappearing from the timelines because of personal action and review by Twitter personnel?


Do I see their IDENTICALLY WORDED AND REPEATED tweets disappearing from the timelines because of possible intervention (“accidental” or otherwise) by Twitter’s automated systems because they are viewed as possible spam content, given their high frequency and identical content with embedded link?


And yet all of these reasons have been the same suggestions as to why certain of my own tweets would be magically DISAPPEARING from Three’s timelines during the same period, even though they clearly did NOT breach Twitters rules of service, and indeed the same reasons why my own account is STILL suspended, days later, pending review and re-instatement beyond appeal.

I can only imagine that somehow, suej1601, and the other similarly more frequent tweeters on these same identical subjects, must be blessed by “the Gods of Twitter and Three” from on high then, and their lives permanently and irrevocably graced with their favour from the day they were born?

Or indeed could it possibly be that Three would appear to have a fairy grandmother watching over their beloved and clearly favoured subjects and their timeline tweets to make SURE that “only the good survive”.

I know which I believe,

And it would appear that, should she be so disposed, both you AND your tweets can and will be banished from the kingdom of the Three public-facing timelines forever, never to return!

Given my ongoing poor health condition, I promise you that you would find me a remarkably cheerful character in person should we ever meet, as my sense of humour has only expanded greatly due to my difficulties.

But I find it very difficult to stomach this kind of what is clearly clandestine censorship, and I refuse utterly to accept any of the poor suggestions that have been put forward to attempt to explain away these anomalous findings.

It does for me call seriously into question the relationship that big business may have with Twitter in this regard, and as a lone individual with an analytical and enquiring mind, I can only “guess” at what “may” be the truth.

David says:
5 July 2012

Sean completely agree Three are gods and have the power to remove things like no other company can and nikki and patrick are completely wrong saying they can see your tweets. Hopefully you can detect the sarcasm in that sentence?? You appear to be jumping on the bandwagon without doing a bit of research on whats possible on twitter. no other person or company can remove public tweets but you’re probably right by saying Three do. Again sarcasm. I dont necessarily agree with the price increases but you need to understand when you’re on to a loosing battle and need to move on.


Just read your response to Johno1066 over on the other forum thread prior to reading your entry here, and can I say how good it is to know that such a worthy individual like yourself is on-side and in full support of our cause (did you detect the sarcasm in THAT sentence?).

I find your perceptive awareness of the complexity and extent of my research skills, without even being personally acquainted, absolutely and utterly astounding! Truly, you must rank highly amongst the Gods of Twitter and Three (more sarcasm clearly).

It’s always good to make the acquaintance of yet another hired sycophant/employee of Three (yet more sarcasm), and anytime you feel you want to drop into a forum thread near you, in which you clearly have little or no interest whatsoever except to cause as much attempted chaos and insult as you possibly can, in the hope of getting a meagre pay rise from your, and our (yet more sarcasm) favourite mobile network employers, please don’t hesitate to call me (maybe a little too much sarcasm now perhaps?).

My very best regards (more sarcasm but what the hell you have clearly shown you deserve it), your dearest and most popular tweeter,


David says:
5 July 2012

forgot to say have you looked at the competition? it’s not even run by three. its being run by talk3g not three. If it was endorsed by three then surely theyd have it on their page and details on their website? no?

Hmmm David.. now let me see… oh yes, there it is…

Quote: “The very nice people at Three have donated an HTC One V to us to give away to one of our lucky members. As a bonus the device will also come with a PAYG SIM, which will include an all-in-one 15 add-on (a month of AYCE data, 300 minutes and 3,000 txts).”

So David, it would appear that, as a formidable God of Twitter and Three, your reading and comprehension skills are about as developed as your remote telepathic abilities, as I do believe that “donation by Three” (for competition purposes) very easily translates to “endorsement by Three” in most intelligent people’s understanding, especially when accompanied by a SIM that clearly is provided by yours truly, yep, the Three network itself.

But thank you for drawing my attention to the Talk3G web site link (where the competition details can be found), as it does beg the question as to exactly WHY so many “individuals” (?) appear to be tweeting a link to this very same “endorsed” competition repeatedly into the @ThreeUK timelines (particularly as I have already noted when dissenting voices are trying to be heard), when those very same competition entry requirements appear in no way to actually necessitate it!!??

So David, I think inadvertently that you may have provided the very answer to defeat your own original assertions, whilst at the same time providing even further evidence of the deeply suspect nature of the activity being found in the Three public timelines, even though that may not quite have been your original intention.

But I want you to know that I do appreciate your help and continued interest, and would like to sincerely thank you for confirming to all here, just what an accomplished individual you really are. Although frankly somehow, I think we all suspected as much anyway. (and yes, you guessed it David, that was indeed… more sarcasm).

DerekW says:
6 July 2012

Sean whilst I don’t necessary agree with the RPI price increase that Three are intending to bring in; I for one had seen this in my terms and condiotions after seeing the Orange hike. I understand that it is partly my fault for not reading these when I was making the purchase. However I will be remaining loyal to Three due to overall service I’ve received and also mainly due to the fact you simply cannot get better deals elsewhere for the majority of their phones. I think it is about time that we all put the matter to rest and accept that you and your small army are not going to be able to influence a huge turnaround on Three’s decision. Ofcom are not even siding with you from what I can tell. I guess because I’m accepting, forgiving, toloerating and remaining loyal to Three will now class me as either staff or hired sycophant in your eyes. I guess I better invoice Three for the past three years I’ve apparantly been working for them.

DerekW, (can I call you that?)

Let me answer you as clearly as I possibly can, as you appear to be unnaturally and deeply troubled by the efforts of myself and others here.

And despite being faced with the concise details of our many, many individual cases and experiences in this matter, and the cohesion and strength of our collective arguments and resolve, it seems you feel oddly compelled not only to completely fail to answer them yourself with any kind of coherent or cogent argument whatsoever, but also to then simply embark on a marketing campaign on Three’s behalf by endlessly singing their praises in the style of, “their fine deals, quality of service” etc. etc.

You then follow it with a spot of what can only be viewed as public “self-flagellation” (which I have to say I find quite distressing to witness in what I can only imagine is a mature “individual” like yourself), and then round off your speech by lamely attempting to blandly discourage any kind of sustained opposition to be continued against Three, without any real justification except the faint mention of OFCOM’s current stance, a piece of information that we are all here, already in possession of, and indeed have been for some considerable time?

And all of this aimed at an audience that quite clearly has already shown itself to have no remaining interest in their phones, supposed deals and quality of service, whatsoever, and equally has no intention of submitting meekly to their “requirements” when the legal basis and the wording of their contracts is so transparently and utterly questionable and demands to be answered.

But Derek, I am sure your reasons are your own, and far be it from me to reflect too harshly upon the vagiaries of your opinions, or indeed the details of your employ.

Let me assure you that there is not the faintest whiff of paranoia here, what I am claiming is happening in the Three timelines is an accurate, intelligent and logical reflection of the observations I have been able to make, as a result of being in the (un?)fortunate position due to illness, of having the time to monitor those same timelines closely, and over quite a number of days.

And there is no “army” David despite your assertions, only a small group of friends who agreed to help me out from time to time with the exercise I had planned, nothing more sinister than that I am afraid, so forgive me if I rush to reject your implications on all counts.

I am glad you, as a mature “individual”, find yourself presently in the comfortable financial and philosophical position to be able to accept the RPI based price increases that are being implemented by Three, with a clear sense of impunity, and I applaud your honesty when you state that this is probably due to the fact that you were already aware of such implied terms in the contract due to your earlier exposure to the Orange “hike” and the similar public outcry and controversy that must have followed it.

I equally applaud your significant capacity for self-reproach (although again it does make for more uncomfortable reading, and seriously makes me question if Three do not in fact have an operational cult induction centre located somewhere in the UK), when you take the blame wholly upon yourself for your lack of awareness due to your having failed to read the T&Cs upon purchase.

However you do fail to indicate if you were actually SUPPLIED with a copy of those same T&Cs for review at point of sale, as indeed many were intentionally not. And equally you fail to indicate whether your “fixed price contract” was indeed SOLD to you as such, WITH NO MENTION whatsoever by the sales staff that in fact it was not a “fixed price” contract after all but a “variable” one, a situation which has sadly been the experience of so many here, in clear contravention of the law in these matters.

Given my obvious passion regarding the Three situation and my apparent dogged resolve in attempting to address it, with a view to having some real impact on those responsible, you may be under the illusion that I should have been previously and similarly aware as yourself, due to a possible earlier exposure to news of the RPI based price increases already attempted by most of the other networks, and equally you may be under the impression that I have nothing better to do with my time than to study such matters as regularly as, apparently, you yourself do.

But I can assure you that usually I have many, many other avenues of far more interest and indeed more fruitful pursuit, than constantly monitoring what I now can only view as the greedy and rather grubby activities and questionable “publicity exercises”, together with the legally and rather morally dubious pricing strategies, of the Three Network.

As a result, let me assure you that my agile mind is more than actively engaged to my satisfaction elsewhere most of the time, and as a direct consequence, I was not formerly made aware of this series of events, until that fine spring morning when Three’s email landed softly in my inbox.

On further investigation, it quickly became clear that, not only was I myself personally affected, but far too many others were themselves deeply unhappy about it, and the wider financial and legal implications for the industry and the general consumer were certainly more far reaching than first glance would suggest.

For all of these reasons (and many more, that I have only become aware of since as I have already written about), I am still as resolute as ever to continue dealing with this matter in whatever way I see necessary, and I could never be swayed by the poor and frankly insultingly transparent attempts at disuasion, that you, and it appears others like you who visit this forum, seek to achieve (and on whose behalf Derek, as you say yourself, I can but only “guess”).

So Derek, I wish you well on your ship of dreams with Three, their “fine phones” and their “wonderful customer service”, for given the opinions and experiences of the many here (and also of the many other “genuine customers” whose testimonies of complaint you can more than witness for yourself in abundance if you were to actually visit those same Three Twitter timelines of which I speak), you do indeed actually appear to be dreaming!

And if that isn’t enough Derek, why don’t you try reviewing the many recent online news articles detailing the published results of OFCOM’s complaints report findings for Q1 of this year, where you will discover Three to be found most definitely wanting, despite your insistence on viewing them to the contrary and then trying to convince others it is so!

If it’s a struggle for you to find such reports on the web and in print, as indeed I suspect it may be, let me help you by directing you and everyone else reading this (which I am sure Three will be VERY pleased about), to some fine examples of the genre:


MOBILE NEWS: http://www.mobilenewscwp.co.uk/2012/06/three-the-most-complained-about-operator-in-q1-2012/

QUOTE: “Three the most complained about operator in Q1 2012”


WHAT MOBILE: http://www.whatmobile.net/2012/06/27/three-receives-most-complaints-in-q1-2012/

QUOTE: “According to recent statistics from Ofcom, Three was the UK’s most complained-about network operator in the first quarter of 2012”


COMPUTER WEEKLY: http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240158750/TalkTalk-and-3-top-Ofcom-complaints-league

QUOTE: “Regulator Ofcom says mobile operator Three received more complaints than any of their rivals in the first quarter of 2012”


BBC NEWS TECHNOLOGY: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18602278

QUOTE: “And Three’s customers were the most likely to highlight a grievance in the mobile market, Ofcom said.”


ITPROPORTAL: http://www.itproportal.com/2012/06/29/ofcom-data-names-and-shames-three-mobile-talktalk-broadband-as-uks-worst-services/

QUOTE: “Ofcom data names and shames Three mobile as UK’s worst service”


BBC NEWS: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16266531

QUOTE: “Over the past 6 months, Ofcom found Three was the most complained about mobile operator, driven by disputed charges and customer service issues.”


COMPLAIN TO THREE (HUTCHISON 3G): http://www.threecomplaints.com/2012/04/ofcom-releases-latest-mobile-complaints.html

QUOTE: “As you can see from the chart provided by Ofcom, although Three only came second to Orange in more recent months, their overall performance is still worse than other mobile networks with O2 having the best performance”


And trust me Derek, there are many, many more reports such as these for you and other interested parties to feast their eyes upon!

But, who am I to wake you from your sleep.

And if after reading this you feel in any way that I may have offended you, may I remind you once more of your “accepting, tolerating, and forgiving nature”, and direct you to it, together with all the many, many questionable “blessings” that Three can bestow (and doubtless intend to repeatedly in the future, upon those customers who are foolish enough to stay with them, now that they have set an “annual price rise” precedent).

My custom and loyalties however, will by then, assuredly be placed firmly “elsewhere”.

And hopefully, with the continued interest and support of my friends and others in disseminating our evidence to as many of Three’s existing customer base as possible, so will those of many, many, many more.

Thank you very much indeed for your input Derek.

Oh, and erm… the very best of luck with that invoice… 😉

Rich says:
6 July 2012

Hi Derek,

Where have you read this? I’ve asked Three several times over the last 5 weeks to show me this, but they haven’t.

Would appreciate a pointer to it in their T&C.


If you have a Twitter account, feel free to join those of us who are active in the @ThreeUK @ThreeUKSupport #ThreeUK Twitter streams/timelines, to add your objections about their business practices, so that as many existing Three customers can share your story and understand that not everybody is happy about the methods that they adopt to sell “fixed contracts” and force people to pay inflated prices by:

1. FAILING to point out clearly their true VARIABLE nature but attempting to hide it within the T&Cs, and even when asked repeatedly by new customers if the price is indeed fixed for the duration of the contract, still insisting that YES it is… in contravention of those same T&Cs and the law!

2. FAILING to provide an actual COPY of the T&Cs at point of sale anyway, but instead slyly referring people to their web site, where THREE can then apparently switch and change the details and dates of those same T&Cs as many times as they wish to their hearts content with impunity, whilst all the time alleging that no matter the date that you took out your contract, these same T&Cs still apply!

3. FAILING to word those T&Cs properly and then failing to admit that they had done so!

4. FORCING only individual/personal customers who they feel are already “trapped” in extended “fixed” contracts, to bear the burden of the price increase (completely in defeat of their own arguments as to why they are actually requiring the extra finance), whilst at the same time not applying said “much needed” increase to their BUSINESS CUSTOMERS, PAYG CUSTOMERS, ROLLING CONTRACT CUSTOMERS, or most importantly their NEW CUSTOMERS!

5. INSULTING or hanging up on customers who phone their Customer Services or Executive Offices to complain and assert their legal rights!

6. STONEWALLING or simply not replying to customers (by whatever means they can) who are pursuing any avenues of complaint, until the legal 30 days notice period has expired, and then insisting that they have no further right to pursue the matter any further!

7. REFUSING to accept that hidden within those same T&Cs, according to Section 10.1(d), any customer who wishes to leave their contract without penalty has every right to do so under law!

8. FORCING customers as a result to pursue the financially, emotionally and psychologically burdensome avenue of pursuing their case through court procedure, not only in order to be heard, but to gain the justice that they so richly deserve!

And all of this while STILL escaping ANY real scrutiny or punitive action by the official bodies that are supposed to police their industry such as the ASA, OFCOM, Consumer Ombudsman, etc.

And equally all of this WITHOUT even mentioning their secret trialling of their data management product called TRAFFICSENSE on their allegedly unlimited AYCE plans, without ONCE informing any customer that they were doing so, in contravention of their contracts, the law AND even their OWN ADVERTISING of said AYCE plan products!

As such, this too forms the basis of yet another “breach of contract” dispute in its own right!

I have even discovered a further issue whilst monitoring the Three timelines on Twitter, relating to Three’s sneaky ways of operating their business.

It seems that in order to delay the legitimate cancellation of ANY contracts, and here I am referring even to those of customers whose contracts have naturally reached the end of their legal term, those same customers are being FORCED to hold on the phone for prolonged periods of time, and then often experiencing the dropping of their call by Three Customer Service personnel, consequently forcing the customer to ring back repeatedly and continually in order to attempt to cancel until frequently they simply give up!

Given all of the evidence above, Three clearly do NOT merit ANY further business whatsoever until they admit their many shortcomings and duplicitous business practices, and clean up their act!

We were informed by @ThreeUK on Twitter yesterday that “Just to clarify tethering and file sharing policies are live, HUP isn’t…”

“HUP” apparently is the “Heavy User” policy.


The “File Sharing” policy states this on the Trafficsense section of the Three website:

“File sharing at peak hours can take up more than its fair allocation of the network, to the point where it affects others. To prevent this, between 3pm and 12am, TrafficSense™ manages:

peer-to-peer download services like BitTorrent or Napster.
downloading and sharing files using certain sites specifically set up to share files.
File sharing speeds are only slower between 3pm and 12am, so any file sharing outside of these peak hours will be a better experience.”

SO… you have payed for AYCE, even as part of The One Plan, and yet this policy WILL ACTIVELY affect your usage ability of the service by “rationing” your bandwidth.

Then we go over to another section of the Three web site where it says this in promotion of all of their price plans:


“Goodbye data limits. Hello Three.
Forget rationing your megathingys. Forget the stress of data limits. Our plans with all-you-can-eat data simply don’t have them. Which means you can enjoy all the internet you need on your smartphone, without worrying about out-of-bundle charges or unexpected bills…”

Now forgive me, but what was that again?

“Forget rationing your megathingys… Our plans with all-you-can-eat data simply don’t have them.”

Given the details of the “file sharing” policy, I think in most peoples understanding when they read this, Three most certainly DO ration their “megathingys”.

Another example of false advertising? Would Which? like to comment?

Or maybe the Advertising Standards Authority perhaps would like to comment?

I would tweet the ASA’s web site address link into the Three Twitter timelines so that anyone who might think this could contact them directly…

But alas, for some strange reason my friends and I don’t seem to be able to… hmmm?

And yet those same repeated competition tweets just keep on a coming…

Odd really that isn’t it… as the competition ended over 24 hours ago.

But hey, it’s all probably just my imagination…

David says:
8 July 2012

Hi Nikki

Glad to see that finally someone is talking sense in this post. Finding it hard to understand why this message is not getting through to all commentators on this page. Hopefully one day they will realise that no company has the power to block certain tweets. Looking at the search timeline their tweets are there ready to be read. Perhaps its just me and you that are able to read them 🙂

Sean if Twitter still have not responded to the reinstatement of your account have you not started to question why? Perhaps they have acknowledged the fact that your mission to try and bring down three is completely underhanded and in fact does constitute spam? Just a thought.


I think I have already more than amply and eloquently answered those questions many times over.

And despite the fact that you have been warned about “sticking to the commenting guidelines, to avoid trying to provoke people or get too personal”, you still seem hell bent on doing so.

And in doing so David, can I add, the only person who is shown to be aggressively provoking and wishing to be personal here, is your good self.

I am more than capable of upping the game on that score anytime you feel it is necessary, as indeed I am sure I have already clearly and successfully demonstrated.

So this evening David, I will leave the vitriolic diatribe to you and you alone… equally so, as we are indeed expressing currently within the limited parameters and permissions of a social environment kindly provided by “Which?”, whose advice and authority on these matters I am more than happy to observe.

I would however, request you be given a second warning regarding your ongoing behaviour in this forum thread, as it would appear that the first one has completely escaped your attention.

Enjoy your evening.

David says:
8 July 2012

I believe I am sticking to the guidelines.

“Please keep comments relevant to the topic at hand”. This page is about Three reporting people for spam. You have gone on to suggest Three have the power to remove comments. My post reiterates Nikki’s message that this is not possible (keeping to topic in hand). You go on to to mention your Twitter profile has not been reviewed. Again my post sticks to this topic in suggesting there may be a valid reason for this.

You’ve said “to avoid trying to provoke people or get too personal”. Please let me know in what way my recent post has provoked or got too personal. My post has only suggested that you think about the reasons why your Twitter account has not been unlocked. Perhaps i’m missing what is provoking or too personal in that message.

Perhaps you should revisit the comments rules yourself. For example:

” Also, avoid writing in capitals, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING.”

You say “INSULTING or hanging up on customers who phone their Customer Services or Executive Offices to complain and assert their legal rights!” Some may say this would fall against Which’s comment policy “or we consider to be defamatory” Do you have evidence of your claims?

“Please keep comments relevant to the topic at hand” since when did “Customer service 101: complaints aren’t ‘spam” turn into a discussion on Three’s competitions.

“You can post text or links from an outside source if it does not infringe the rights of any third party and is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement describing the work and crediting its author.” Have you credited your authors above, or just the website you’ve found them on? Has Andrew Dyson given you permission to post his work at your will?

Please excuse my ignorance if I have been given a warning. I must have missed this somewhere as cannot see any comments directed to myself about this.


My clearly outlined and supported arguments appear to be somewhat undermining your normally quiet disposition and tolerant and forgiving nature,

Given the already apparent and clearly disclosed nature of your loyalties, please forgive me if I therefore continue to find some exquisitely deep satisfaction in the effectiveness of my approach toward Three, when witnessing the excessive, unnecessary and personally targetted aggression exhibited in your responses here as their advocate.

However, I still request at the least a second warning, as it is only your good self that is continuing to insist on exhibiting such behaviour.

Enjoy your remaining evening.

Sean and David, you have both broken our commenting guidelines. Don’t talk about each other, talk about the issue at hand. And certainly don’t make it personal. Everyone has a right to their opinion and can see the same issue with very different eyes – on Which? Conversation they should be allowed to express that opinion without being personal criticised. What can be criticised is the point they are making, but make sure you’re doing it in as nice a way as possible. Thanks.

Mere protest is never enough, sadly, to successfully defeat this kind of behaviour on the part of money hungry businesses and large corporations, UNLESS it attracts sufficient negative media attention to threaten a significant loss of business as a result.

“Significant negative media attention is a Public Relations Team’s worst nightmare.”

So, while all other “appointed bodies” stand silent and inactive, either through choice or the burden of legislation or bureaucracy, there is absolutely no reason for all of those affected members of the public to be reduced to the same stance.

We all have a voice here, do what you can to find as effective an avenue of approach as possible to tackle this matter in as public a manner as you possibly can, and use that voice.

We are not all powerless… not just yet anyway… unless we allow ourselves to be conditioned into thinking so.

And I certainly, despite my condition, refuse that mandate.

So… I would ask of everyone here… just ask yourself… what is within your power.. what can you actively DO!?

Those considering potential further public action against Three in order to highlight even further the many recent revelations of their business practices, including those demonstrated by their methodologies surrounding the RPI price increase debacle and the unannounced Trafficsense implementation, might be interested in the links to these protest organisations, for further consultation and advice: