3, the Hong Kong based 3g mobile phone network provider has been operating in Ireland now for the past year or so. They’re currently highlighting via press releases announcing their new chain of shops that Irish customers can avoid “Rip Off Ireland” by switching networks and getting a better deal. Some of their press coverage is here, here and here.
As someone who joined 3 last November, I found that the prices that they offered were probably the best on the market based on my usage. I had moved from Vodafone, having previously moved from Meteor originally, through to O2.
And last week I moved away from 3 back to Vodafone. While the 3 network might boast the best prices at the moment, they have the absolute worst customer service for a mobile phone company that I have ever experienced. I couldn’t wait for that contracted 12 months to finish. I only know one other person who has joined 3 in the past 12 months, and they too are leaving as soon as their contract is up.
On most occasions I had reason to contact them they were unhelpful, and extremely inflexible. I don’t believe they understand the Irish market completely – particularly given that their customer service people are all based in the UK. 3 in the UK, served presumably by the same call centre, was highlighted in 2003 by the BBC Watchdog programme as having a very poor customer service also, so it’s not just us Irish who are suffering.
As for attempting to keep their customers – they didn’t even try, despite the fact that my monthly bills, paid via direct debit on time every month, would make me a top user with any of the other mobile network providers.
Having decided to leave the network, and with a better understanding of my phone usage over the past year through keeping a closer eye on my bills (which apparently lots of people don’t actually do), I used the Comreg Callcosts.ie website to work out the best deal for me. I’ve never had problems with the Vodafone customer service personally, so I’ve no problems going back.
To paraphrase the advertising for someone or other, “Join 3, you’ll come for the prices, but you’ll leave because of the service”.