Broadband and mobile: getting connected for the Black Friday deal

3 min read
November 26, 2020

Black Friday deals are most closely associated with shopping but it’s become clear that broadband and mobile providers are increasingly advertising cut-price offers of their own to coincide with one of the biggest events in the bargain hunter’s calendar. 

From cheaper contracts, free ‘extras’ and the offer of cashback, there are many offers that will tempt people to make the switch, or sign up to a new deal.

But as with everything, it doesn’t always go right, and it can often not be until later that you discover you didn’t get what you were promised, or in some cases your deal didn’t go through in the first place.

More than 1,100 complaints have been made to Resolver in the past three years concerning telecoms – specifically relating to Black Friday deals. 

Compared to the 6,000 plus we have seen for shopping-related complaints, it’s a lower number, but these complaints are growing year on year. And like those we saw for shopping complaints there were higher volumes in the months after that crucial November period itself every year since 2017.

Resolver saw:

  • Complaints between December 2019 and April 2020 more than doubled compared to November 2019;
  • The highest monthly number of complaints was in January 2020;
  • What was also interesting is that complaints between November 2017 and April 2018 total less than 250, but in the same period two years later (2019-2020) they were 75% up, indicating that issues are growing in the sector around Black Friday sign-ups.

What were the complaints?

A raft of issues were among our complaints, relating to orders being cancelled without the customer’s say so before the Black Friday saving could be honoured, meaning that when they found out the deal had expired. There were also issues around upgrades that had not occurred, increased charges partway through the annual contract, undisclosed charges to be switched to a new deal noticed later on monthly payments and items such as higher-grade phone handsets not being delivered. 

Commonly during the November period, there were issues around trying to access deals in the first place only for customers to find they couldn’t access company websites, perhaps owing to demand, to get the deal in time. And frustratingly for users, some tried to take advantage of deals only to be told they applied to new customers only and because of the timing of their current contract they would not be eligible. 

What you can do

Your basic rights on broadband and mobile contracts do not change – specifically around getting what you have been advertised. If for example, you are not getting the broadband speed promised in your contract, you can cancel it. If your billing isn’t accurate every month, and you have your stated monthly payment in writing, you will be able to ask back for the difference.

It’s incredibly frustrating to sign up to a new contract only to find you could have got it cheaper only days later. If this happens to you and you are within the 14-day cooling off period, you are within your rights to cancel your contract. This may be particularly pertinent if you discover the Black Friday deal before your broadband installation takes place or your mobile phone contract has not yet started.

Equally disappointing is if the Black Friday deal you are looking at turns out only to be for new customers. In this situation, the company is under no obligation to switch you to a cheaper deal, but it’s worth trying to see if they will honour the cheaper price under goodwill, particularly if you’ve been a long time customer.

If your Black Friday broadband or mobile phone offer has not gone to plan, Resolver can help. Raise your complaint for free.

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