Case Studies

Misinterpreted sales advice

Having signed up to a new phone and internet package, offered by a visiting salesman, a customer received a bill bigger than he expected.

A visiting salesman offered a customer a phone and internet package that included (among other features) a 5GB or 10GB monthly data allowance, each with a different monthly fee.

Not a particularly heavy data user, the customer asked the salesperson if it was possible to sign up to an intermediate plan: 7GB of data a month. The salesperson wrote ‘7GB’ on the application form, and left the customer with the impression that he’d get 7GB a month (and the rest of the package) for the price of the 5GB deal.

When his first bill arrived, the customer noticed that it was for much more than he’d expected to pay. He contacted the provider and was told that he’d been charged the costs of exceeding his 5GB data use limit – and that there was no such thing as a 7GB package.

After lodging a formal complaint with the provider, the customer was contacted by a sales manager and advised that he could either stay on the 5GB plan (and pay additional costs if he exceeded the usage limit) or upgrade to the 10GB plan for a higher monthly fee. The sales manager also said that if the customer broke his contract he would have to pay a termination fee. Unhappy with his choices, the customer contacted TDR, saying that he wanted the provider to stand by the contract for a 7GB package or give him the 10GB package for the 5GB price. He also wanted a written apology.

TDR then passed on the customer’s complaint (and proposed solution) to the provider. In response, they offered the customer a 10GB plan at a reduced cost for six months, as well as a sincere apology for the misunderstanding during the sale.

Still not satisfied, the customer maintained he did not need 10GB a month and still wanted 7GB for the price of 5GB. However, the provider reiterated that it did not have a 7GB plan. The matter escalated to conciliation – and a solution. The provider released the customer from his contract without penalty, waived the additional fees that had been charged and wrote the customer a formal letter of apology.