A NETWORK meltdown left tens of thousands of Three mobile customers unable to use their phones this week.
Phone users began complaining about signal problems just before midnight on October 16 but it took until 9am the next day for the network to admit the problem.
Three told The Sun today – October 19 – that the issues have now been fixed and apologised for the hassle.
The network provider has 10million customers and tweeted that the problem occurred during “some maintenance work”.
If you’re still struggling to make or receive calls or texts or access the internet, the provider advises customers to turn their phones off and on again or turn airplane mode on and off.
If you’ve been inconvenienced or left out of pocket then you may be entitled to a refund.
Three said it’ll deal with each case on an individual basis, but it couldn’t tell us how much each customer would be entitled to on average.
Here’s all you need to know about your refund rights and how to submit a complaint.
Am I entitled to compensation or a refund?
Customers aren’t guaranteed to automatically qualify for compensation, but if you feel the outage caused you significant problems or you waited a long time for repairs to take place, it’s worth complaining.
You’ll need to give your provider a “reasonable opportunity” to deal with the issues, according to regulator Ofcom.
How do I contact Three’s customer services team?
YOU should submit an official complaint to the customer service team.
It’s free to call from most providers, otherwise standard network rates apply.
If you’re calling from a Three phone you can simply call 333, or 0333 338 1001 if you’re calling from any other phone.
You should call +44 7782 333 333 if you’re phoning from abroad or 500 from a Three phone if you’re out of the country.
There is a separate team that is dedicated to dealing with issues related to broadband.
If your provider fails to repair the fault by a promised time, or you’re unhappy with how long it took to fix it, you should follow the formal complaints procedure here.
Unfortunately, the website’s live chat is currently down so you’ll need to give Three a ring on 333.
Make sure you have screen grabs on your phone that can be used as evidence of the outage and that you’ve noted down how long you were unable to use your phone for.
You should also be specific about any extra costs incurred as a result of the outage too as you may be able to get your money back for those as well.
How can I submit a claim?
To complain, you’ll need to call Three on 333 or follow its formal complaints procedure once the live chat starts working.
It’s worth submitting copies of any receipts or bills which prove any spending you’ve had to make because of Three’s outage as this will strengthen your complaint.
If your problem is still unresolved after eight weeks you can submit your complaint to an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.
How to complain to your mobile provider
WE’VE put together the complaints pages of the networks affected by the recent Three’s network outage. Here’s how to complain:
Ofcom has approved two ADR schemes – CISAS and Ombudsman Services: Communications. Three is a member of the Ombudsman Services scheme.
Of course, it’s not just Three’s customers that are affected as iD Mobile, Smarty, Superdrug Mobile, FreedomPop all piggyback on the larger provider’s network.
If that doesn’t work, you can take your complaint to the Ombudsman Services.
If you have any questions about the complaints procedure, you can contact Three’s customer service team to speak to someone on the phone.
What has happened before?
Three said it won’t automatically compensate users, unlike other providers who did so when they experienced a similar outage.
Last year, O2 offered refunds to all 25million customers after they endured an outage which causes chaos last year.
The network provider gave all customers two days worth of free coverage to make up for the disruption.
When O2 suffered a similar outage in 2012, it reportedly gave affected users three days’ worth of data back, while all O2 customers got a £10 O2 voucher.
Earlier this week we reported how Vodafone announced that it won’t charge customers after a roaming outage saw users billed up to £10,000 by mistake.
A Three spokesperson said: “Following the technical difficulties with our services, we are confident that the issues have now been fixed.
“We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers and appreciate their patience while we sorted it out.
“If you’d would like to talk to us about compensation, please call us on 333 and we will consider each case on an individual basis.
“We are experiencing a high volume of calls, so we ask our customers to please bear with us.”