Carrier Terrible customer service from UK network "Three"


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Apr 2, 2007
This will be a long post and I apologize for that but I felt it necessary to warn people about this network. I've been a customer with them on and off since 2003 when they launched. The longest stretch with them as a customer has been the past 3 years.

So like many of you I wanted the new iPhone 6 but Apple in the UK had sold out around 6 AM on pre order day so I was left with few options to get the phone and I didn't feel like queuing up outside an Apple Store. So I went to my networks website instead. This is where the saga begins.

12th of September:
Three's website says they will be opening pre-orders that afternoon (The time is about 9:00 AM when I check their site) they use the hashtag #worththewait

I check back at the site at 12:00 and then 1:00 PM fully expecting the pre-orders to be open by now, but still nothing. The pre-orders don't actually begin until 5:50 PM in the evening. By this time all the other phone companies (EE, Vodafone, O2 etc) have sold through on their pre order allotments, so you can no longer get a 19th of September delivery (launch day) according to their websites.

Anyway pre-orders open, the prices are insanely high. Higher than the other networks which makes me disappointed but regardless I decide to make an order as they were guaranteeing a 19th of Sep delivery date. Now keep in mind I got my order completed within 120 seconds of Threes pre-ordering starting. I know this for a fact as I refreshed the page just before the pre-ordering began and then I refreshed it again maybe 12 seconds later and it was up.

18th of September:
I get a phone call at around 10:00 PM at night. This is a day before I was supposed to receive my iPhone 6 Plus 64GB from Three. I was already in bed asleep so I missed this call, in the morning I attempt to call the number back and I get nothing, it rings and some automated system answers and all I can hear is clicking sounds. I have no idea this number is from Three because it is just a random number.

19th of September:
Phone doesn't arrive. I figure nevermind it'll probably come tomorrow, Saturday. One day, no big deal.

20th of September:
No phone. I call them and ask where my iPhone is, they say they tried to call me on the 18th to let me know my iPhone wouldn't be coming on the 19th. Yes that phone call I got at 10:00 PM was from Three to tell me they wouldn't be able to meet their delivery date. So he assures me it'll arrive on Monday.

22nd of September:
It is now Monday, I get a call from Three, this time at a reasonable hour of the day. The person informs me that actually my iPhone isn't coming today and that it has been delayed to between the 4th of October and the 10th (!) of October.

Remember I ordered this on the 12th of September within 2 minute of pre-orders opening and the entire time their website told me it would be coming on the 19th.

So I say to the guy, okay then, cancel the phone and the new contract. I'll just buy the phone from Apple. He says to me, okay, I'll transfer you to customer concerns or something like that. But instead he cuts me off. Yes he puts the phone down on me.

So I call back I speak to someone else I tell him what just happened and he is very apologetic and cancels my iPhone 6 Plus and the new contract. He also agreed to transfer my current contract to a much more reasonably priced plan with a 12 month contract.

26th of September:
I receive a text message from Three telling me that the iPhone 6 Plus 64GB I ordered will be delivered to me on the 29th of September. So just to be clear, the iPhone and Contract I cancelled on the 22nd of September is now coming on the 29th of September.

I call Three again, I speak to yet another customer service rep. I tell him I cancelled this iPhone 6 Plus so why am I now getting a text message saying it's coming? He informs me that yes I did indeed cancel the phone and the contract but the phone may still arrive.

He tells me I should refuse delivery and then once they receive the phone back the contract will be gone from their system and my new sim only monthly plan will begin.

I think okay, these things happen I'll just do like he says and refuse delivery.

27th of September:
I get another text message from Three explaining that they tried to withdraw £156 from my bank account but were unable to do so.

I use a specific account for paying direct debit bills as I've had multiple companies overcharge and perform multiple charges on my account previously so I have both the overdraft turned off and only have enough money in there for the bills I know are coming out.

Three attempted to bill me £99 for a phone I don't have and have already cancelled. £49 for a contract I already cancelled and a delivery charge for a phone they've not even delivered to me yet.

And this is where the story is so far. Three are the most incompetent company I've ever dealt with, even British Gas who managed to charge me 9 times for a single quarters energy bill were easier to deal with than these clowns.

So to recap. I was lied to over and over again, put the phone down on me when I tried to assert my right to cancel my order and then charged for services they have not given and to which I already refused.

My advice, stay away from this company they don't know their ass from their face.


macrumors 65816
Sep 17, 2013
United Kingdom
Sorry to hear of your bad luck, not nice to experience. However I've not had any such issues with Three, and their sim only plans cannot be bettered. That said, maybe that's the way to go with three, sim only and buy the phone outright.

Did you manage to get your phone from Apple?


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Apr 2, 2007
I did order it from Apple and my current delivery estimate is Tuesday, 1 day longer than Three. I probably would have had it by now had I ordered with Apple originally!


macrumors regular
Mar 2, 2014
I gave up with Three, I registered interest with Three when the phone was announced.

Sometime in the afternoon of pre order day their website allowed me to order. (No email from me registering interest though)

I went through the whole ordering process (delivery was marked at 19 Sep) to have it fail at the last moment. I received an automated message telling there had been a technical problem and the order would be there for me to complete.

Then another email later asking me to order again, note that they refused to admit they lost my order. Was told I would receive a phone call.

Then came the email for people that had pre registered an interest, you can now order. Three or more hours after the website ordering went live. So much for pre registering eh?

Received a call three days later, did I still want a phone. Of course now all sold out and on long wait lists.

You can guess my reply.


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Apr 2, 2007
They are useless. I saw in the UK iPhone thread a few other posters with the same situation as me and you. Pre-orders not being fulfilled.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2007
Hertfordshire, UK
I had trouble cancelling with Three, told them why I wanted to cancel - they took to long launching pre-orders and the prices weren't competitive for the iPhone 6/6+.

The person on the phone then argued with me about it for 10 mins, offering me a deal that was worse that the one I got with O2 (she thought it was better due to the lower upfront cost but it cost around £200 more over the life of the contract). By this point they were out of stock of 6 Pluses too so that was another reason, but she tried to tell me O2 wouldn't have any stock either (I got my phone from them on Launch day).


macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2010
The problem was they started to take phone preorders a lot earlier on preorder day than the website allowed. I know because I ordered one over the phone at 3pm approx. luckily I went for the 16gb plus which weren't that popular so got it on the 19th.


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Apr 2, 2007
I received a call from Three this evening confirming that they have activated my new contract and that the iPhone 6 Plus that was going to arrive on Monday has been cancelled so I won't need to worry about that.

They also confirmed that the charge they tried to do against my bank account was in error and will be removed from my Three balance and any money they do take will get refunded.

So looks like everything is being set right but we'll see what happens :p
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