Carphone Warehouse Complaints


In the latest in a series of complaints that pre-date this blog, today I’d like to reminisce about Carphone Warehouse, and my efforts to return a phone to them.

Back in 2004 I bought two Sony Erikkson T610 phones from Carphone Warehouse, one for me and for the wife. We both had contracts already so I just bought the handsets, over £100 each.

A couple of days later I noticed that actually my wife was able to get a free upgrade with her contract, D’oh! So she returned the phone to Carphone Warehouse in Newport, South Wales.

This is where things started to go wrong. Carphone Warehouse told her that she couldn’t have a refund. This was somewhat confusing, as they had posters everywhere advertising their 14 day money back guarantee.

When she phoned me in work I was understandably outraged. I phoned the store immediately and was told by the rather rude and confrontational person on the other end that Carphone Warehouse did offer a money back guarantee, but it did not apply to phones…

Excuse me?

They have a money back guarantee at CARPHONE warehouse, and it does NOT apply to PHONES!!!

What the fuck does it apply to then????

Naturally I escalated the issue and contacted their head office, where I was told that actually YES, the money back guarantee does apply to phones. The manager of the store was instructed to call me and offer a full refund.

It meant my wife had to drag my two kids back down to the shop again to get the refund though.

Anyone else dealt with Carphone Warehouse?

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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120 thoughts on “Carphone Warehouse Complaints”

  1. Here is the complaint I just sent to these idiots.

    I would like to make a complaint about the manager of your store in …………. I went to the store on Sunday to purchase a new Sony Ericsson X10 mini on PAYG. It was £200 and before I was given the phone, box etc. the manager opened up the actual case (not box) of the phone and scanned a barcode from inside the handset. I thought nothing of it at the time but when I got home I noticed the handset was not new, there was glue marks on the screen and a chip in the side of the handset.

    So I went straight back to the store and complained. The manager reluctantly agreed to swap it for another one. He then opened the case of the replacement, scanned a barcode and spent at least 5 minutes playing around with the phone, I suspect deleting evidence that it was not a new handset.

    When I got home I set the phone up and noticed straight away that certain free trial apps that came with the phone as default had already expired even though I did not get to use them. There were also photo’s on the handset dated june 2010 of the shopping centre this shop is situated in.

    The handset did not function properly either until I downloaded an update from the SE website. When I purchase a new phone I expect it to be new, every mobile I have ever purchased has has a plastic pull off covering the screen when I first got it. Also the included screen protector was the wrong size for the handsets screen.

    This manager has sold me a returned phone that was blatantly damaged and then tried the same thing again with a different handset. I would like to return this handset for a brand new phone, preferably at a different, more trustworthy store, or alternatively a full refund.

    Wish me luck sounds like Im gonna need it 🙁

  2. hi just to say that i was sickened by the way i was treated by the staff at the store in silverburn on the monday 16/10/2010 me and my father whent to the store to get a replacement phone as mine was not working the staff handed me a very old phone in place of my blackbury for witch i pay £40 per month for my father said that that is what the head office told them to give to custemers with contract phones do they not trust me i was very afended the maneger was very
    abruped with no people skiills what so ever if that is the way that your head office make,s the rules get us to sign a contract then dont help us any way they can
    the store in clyed bank were just as bad they told me to go to o2 to get my phone fixed but they did me a good turn by geting my phone fixed the clyedbank store manager was as b ad as the silverburn store one manager in glasgow city centre tryed to help he told me that he did not have any blackberrys to give me
    but said that silverburn would help me i live in glasgow city centre silverburn is a good distance away
    my father toke time away from work to get me there
    he was then told by the manager to get out of the shop
    who was ruod to my father we left the shoping centre
    for my dad to be stoped by the police my fatherr was told that the manager said that my father had shouted
    at him this must be your custemers service if you dont like people that complain tell the police that they raised there voices then your store managers tell there staff what to say i would like you to investagate
    this store or do your contract customers have no say
    when the contract is signed let hope this is not another
    forgotten complaint

  3. Went in to pay for a phone for my daughter. The staff talked her into a more expensive phone, because it was better. Normally, I would not pay for it, but did this time, to make her happy following life threatening disease.
    Troubles started on the third day. The phone freezes at will. Ask for password when none has been installed.

    Several trips to the shop on Seven Sisters Road, Holloway. proved as effective as the hopeless shop manager. All they were interested in was £40.00 to remove a none existent password.

    I should have known better, because my talk-talk contract is absolute rubbish. Beware of Carphone warehouse. I will not spend a penny there.

  4. I to am having problems with CPW, never in my life have i been treated with such distian by a company, I’ll explain quickly of my dispute. Back in 2007 i phoned CPW to inform them that i was going travelling and didnt want to re-new my 12 month contract with them as wouldnt be using the phone, was told by them that i had agreed to an 18 contract I disputed this and asked them to listen to the sales call, chased them up twice explained again that i was living the country and could they please listen to the sales call as i am sure that i wouldn’t have agreed to an 18 month contract, but no call back, i then carried on paying for 6 months up to the 12 months, even though the phone was not being used and the the D/D got cancelled when i was away. Fast forward to 2010 i now have a black mark on my credit file, phoned them explained the story, ok sir will listen to the sales call and back within 5 working days, after 8 days i had to call them, told by c/s that a note had been left that because i didn’t follow the correct disconnection procedure i had no case but all i want them to do is listen the sales call, simple really but no, i have treid calling a further 4 times to speak to the complaints team to clarify a few points but no call back, finally sent an email and had a reply which restated the disconnection thing but also looks like the person who responded didnt properly research the case or didnt bother at all, i am now getting Otelo involved, was willing to pay it off as never had a bad debt before, but they have got me mad now, i had a perfect credit history all my life, i now wanrt to start up my own small business but cannot at the moment because these thugs have ruined it and won’t even bother listening to me, what if they had said i’d signed a 36 month contract would i just have to pay it based on their word??? very sad that a company like this can potentially ruin people credit history due to their incompentent staff and general disregard for their customers

  5. I notice the old “It’s water damaged” excuse used again in one of the items above. This seems to be the standard easy “get out” if they cannot repair the ‘phone. My son lost his ‘phone to this lie (as it certainly was) a few years ago. They even said that moving from a warm room to a cold one could produce enough condensation to wreck the ‘phone. Even Nokia told me that was nonsense. (And my son just moved from ordinary room to ordinary room, anyway).
    I urge you not to have anything to do with this company. Take a look at the “customer service” section on their wiki page.

  6. CPW employ liers, cheats, dishonest, rude pwats.
    I brought the NOKIA N900 in may 2010 which i have only had in my hand 5weeks because it has been in repair. i got told i would be getting a replacement phone as they couldn’t fix the nokia. i am still waiting three weeks later for this replacement phone. have phoned them up a number of time and all i am getting is its gone for repair. this is not on.

  7. Carephone Warehouse are a complete bunch of jokers.
    My parents just moved into a new house and planned to keep BT and my father cancelled Carephone Warehouse or so he thought whom the previous owner had.
    When he rang them up they said no problem sir and there will be no charge. A month later he got a bill from Car Phone Warehouse for a service he was not using and had cancelled. So he rang them up and after a hour of being passed around from UK to India he finally got through to somone who tried to sell him the product and obviously did not listen to what he saying that he wanted it to be cancelled and the fact that the previous owners family had not cancelled the contract he was not willing to pay for someone elses bill. Two week later he got a letter from their debt department saying that he had to foot the bill. Again he rang them up and basically after threatining legal action against Car Phone and to contact the press they backed off or so he thought. A week passed the local rep turned up and tried to sell him Car Phone Warehouse and when my father said he had issues with the Call centre the rep actually had the cheek to say we do not have a call centre. After been told a few blunt truths which the rep took offence to he walked off grumbling. Then 2 months later guess what another female rep turned up at the door and tried the same stunt, but was politely told to get lost.
    Obviously these people have a issue with the basic english language and fail to realise when a customer says no he means no and use pressure sales techniques and as both my parents are retired the last thing they want are idiots turning up and phoning up who have a issue understanding basic english obviously this is probably the only company that would hire such people

  8. I have an LG Optimus 8 weeks old, started crashing constantly, asked for a replacement from the rudest manager I have met in my life. Was told no a repair, well 3 weeks late low and behold its unrepairable and being offered a refurb, which is completely unexeptable. why replace a phone with another phone which has already had a fault and probably never been fixed properly by a bunch of complete cowboys – it like your buying off the back of a lorry – its so bloody seedy. I am refusing a refurb after all 8 weeks ago I got a new phone, which was not my fault it broke. I could scream. I will never buy from CFW again and want to cancel my home phone and broadband as they are useless F**Kers.

  9. i recently bought an LG Optimus GT540 from CPW and within two days of having it the LCD screen broke. i was fully aware of the 14 day return policy and went into my local CPW in Bury St Edmunds to see if it could be replaced, however the manager there told me that i was i liar and that i had caused the damage myself. he told me that i had put ‘exessive pressure ‘ on the screen. i told him that that was a stupid exclaimatiion to make as why would i purposly damage a brand new phone which i loved. they charged me £60 to fix the phone which could take 2 weeks to repair. i think what shocked me the most was the way that the manager of the store handled the situation calling me a liar like a child in front of several customers. i will definatly pursue this matter furhter and will contact CPW head offfice and anyone else i need to get this issue resovled truely dssapointed with the managers poor customer service what a complete a**hole

  10. Would I be able to go into a shop even though I took my contract out online via e2save? It would be a big inconvenience for me to have to go all the way to the nearest shop but the way things are going I would consider it if I thought it would do any good.

  11. I didn’t even get to have a phone in my hand before CPW tried fleecing me.

    I spent a day before Xmas researching all the various smart phone offers on as many retailers websites as possible, plotting them on an excel spreadsheet so I could pick the best deal. I chose the new Nexus through CPW on O2 at £30/mth for 18mths with the phone free under this package. I completed the order online and received an email confirmation of my order, you’d think I’d be good to go.

    2 days later I get an email telling me that after a credit check the network requested a deposit of £150 refundable within 12 mnths. Having been out of work for 8mnths last year I accepted this condition and called up customer support as requested to make arrangements for the deposit to be charged to my bank account. That was when things started to go odd…

    ‘How did I want to pay the £199 for the phone’ I was asked. When I pointed out that my order included a free phone I was told that this wasn’t possible as I wanted the 18mth option and that wasn’t with a free phone. I referred him to my order and the email confirmation I had. His resposne was to tell me that it was impossible for me to have made the order and that I had to pay or cancel the order. Of course I argued about my rights but was repeatedly told that it was not possible for me to have placed the order legitimately. Three times I was told I must be lying.

    I made a complaint and the response was, ‘sorry you’ve had problems, we love our customers why not just pay for the phone’.

    I decided to swallow my pride and order a different phone from them thinking my experience was some strange abberation (before I found this site!). This time I went for the Samsung S on a 24 mth deal again with O2. I received the expected email saying I would need to pay a deposit of £xx. I called and went through the steps of agreeing to pay the deposit and was told I’d have it tomorrow. Thank God I thought, finally all sorted.

    Then just as I was ready to say thanks and goodbye I was told ‘Sorry Sir, an internal message has been flagged on my system and we cannot provide you with this phone or service. Your order has been cancelled and no money has been taken. There is nothing I can do about this Sir, thank you and good bye’. Talk about being dumbstruck!

    I’ve emailed and called Customer Service numerous times but not once has anyone addressed my complaints merits. All they say is sorry you’ve had a poor experience, we really value your feedback and we do love our customers. Clearly toeing a pathetic company line of placation without substance.

    Hopeless company with no integrity or decency.

  12. Same story here – 9 week old DHD suffers odd problems, took it to CPW, wasn’t told it had to back to HTC for inspection. Weeks later get a call, “water damage – no warranty – £170 needed”.

    Can’t be right, its a brand new smartphone that I have lovingly cherished? CPW just don’t move so I contact Barclays legal and find its as much for CPW to prove I did something, and as much for CPW to prove they didn’t mishandle the phone as I most certainly didn’t. As I also have Barclays Mobile Phone Insurance which I am damn well not using I am hoping that someone sees I am being honest.

    One thing to take from this: NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM CPW

  13. I have just fallen prey to the CPW one liner Water Ingress. My phone is a Nokia N97 mini which was the third replacement phone i had supplied as the previous 2 had only lasted days & weeks. This phone was swapped on 8th Dec 2009. It had been fine then in November 2010 my phone decided to display a blank screen so as its touch type was not operable. I took into the CPW on 5th November. It took 6 weeks for the report to be returned to tell me that the phone had moisture damage and that it was beyond economical repair, i quoted that Nokia gave a 2 year warranty but they said it wouldnt be covered. I am in a £30 monthly contract which i was paying for and getting no use of a phone so i had no other option but to buy another handset. Luckily i had a bank account which offered me phone insurance so having taken CPW word for it i submitted a claim believing the handset couldnt be fixed. 3 weeks later i recieve my original handset back after paying £30 excess and fixed. I have been on the phone to CPW trying to work out if there repair centre couldnt fix the phone then how can my own insurance company, and why has it resulted in me the customer paying needless excess on the policy???? Can anyone help with the process of pursuing a complaint agains CPW as they are being no help at all?

  14. On the 14th Feb 2011, the sales team of the Carphone Warehouse initiated a call to me , and when I had confirmed my details , started discussing my contact . The agent suggested that I was due an upgrade , but as I was happy with my old phone , he reviewed the tariff , and suggested that if I were to renew this plan for 24 months I would be eligible for a £ 420 cash back . Now this seemed like a good deal , and I agreed to continue with the tariff , and not upgrade the phone . A lot of sales talk went in to how I could buy a “pay as you go “ phone with the £ 420 , and use it as a second phone . I have no need for another phone , but the prospect of £ 420 to do what I was already doing , seemed to make sense in today’s economic climate. I was assured that this cheque was “auctioned” at this point .
    The next morning I was surprised to find a registered parcel delivered , from Carphone Warehouse , containing a new SIM card , and an invoice from the firm , detailing the “GSM upgrade” , and confirming the tariff . The SIM card was put in the phone , and over the next few days was repeatedly tried but the notice “SIM card registration failed” kept recurring . The old SIM card functioned as normal , but I was reassured by the fact that £ 420 was on my way .

    By the 1st of March no cheque had been delivered , and the SIM card still failed to register . So I telephoned the Carphone Warehouse no. on the invoice , 0841 5223401 . To my consternation , the BT message was repeated “number not recognised”.

    So to summarise (1) I had a SIM card which did not work (2) the promised cheque for £ 420 did not arrive (3) the number on the invoice was “not recognised” . Score – 0 out of 10 so far .

    I went on to the Carphone Warehose help line and after 5 or 6 wrong directions in their automated system and about 45 mins got in contact with a representative , who then told me he could not deal with it as it not his responsibility , nor had he “enough experience” . I re iterated my case several times and he then went off “to consult his manager” . When he returned he told me that he “was escalating the complaint” , and that Carphone Warehouse , though their name was on the invoice , did not deal with such matter , that another company “One Stop Phone Shop” did , and they would deal with it . He gave me the number and I pointed out that he was actually devolving the responsibility , but he reiterated the fact that he was “escalating the complaint” . Try as I would he refused to deal with the matter , even when I pointed out that , from my perspective , that I had been “sold something” on a false promise . He connected me to a number for this firm , and amazingly the operator said the no. was no longer available and gave another .

    So this time an operator (1) who did not deal with the matter (2) told me he was “escalating the matter” – though devolving it (3) gave me , and connected me to a no. which was no longer available . Score on this section – 0 out of 10

    Eventually I got through to a very nice young lady , in the “One Stop Phone Shop” ,who scored 10 out of 10 for helpfulness . She explained that after I had got my new SIM card it would have been 14 days after it was registered , before I would have been eligible for the cheque , which would take up to 28 days to be paid , as the bank is Portuguese . I explained about the faulty SIM card , and she was apologetic and suggested I use my old SIM card and forget the new one . It also appeared that the “salesman” had not auctioned the cheque payment , which she then did . So it’s 28 days plus 14 before my “great deal” might come to pass . I say might as with this shambles of an organisation , anything is possible . Customers are treated very poorly .
    So in this sector (1) original deal and check not auctioned (2) disregard the SIM they had sent by registered delivery (3) another 28 days before I might see a cheque Score of 3 out of 10 (only because of the young lady’s efforts otherwise it would have been another 0 out of 10 .

    Total score 3 out of 30 – a completely useless business model , which fails it’s customers .

  15. i was in the car phone warhouse in newcastle under lyme i went in to renew 3 contracts and three men was dossing there doing sod all i went to them i never seen so many ignorant people i asked and they were not bothered i am now thinking of going phones for you they are cheerfull helpfull and friendly not like them tossers they want dismissing put them on dole idle so and so,s i bet sod all happens if this is not sorted out i will put it on all the sites i use and show what idol idiots they are well i dont think i will give the phone warehouse any more buissiness and i think if any body else feels this way do as i am and get rid of the crap service

  16. Just been told by CPW that my dell streak that no longer works, has water damage, this is a blatant lie, and i now have a £400 phone that is useless, any suggestions as what to do would be very helpful….

  17. I went into CPW in SCARBOROUGH interested in a specific phone that was not on display, an aasistant though told me he had one ‘around’ the backI purchased the phone …BUT…… TWO days later there are 4 of these phones on display and the phone is £100 less ! Its also got a full front page promotion on their sales catalogue, they must have known about this .Talk about sharp practice. No one in the store told me if I waited just 2 days I could save £100. I phoned the store and could not speak to a manager,but an assistant told me that there was no way the company wouldnt refund me ……..and ..they didnt …. I have written to their HQ but from what I’ve read here they will just tell me to swivel. If CPW think I will let thid drop they must be barmy but they are probably just gonna fob me off big time …..just one solution…never ever use CPW

  18. My phone died after left charging overnight. CPW diagnosed a water damage fault and said it’s beyond economical repair. The picture supplied in the report does not have s/n or emie, so I’m not sure whether this was my phone. Knowing I did not expose the phone to any kind of water, I managed to find the actual part by using web pictures and youtube.. The picture shows 2 mm spot on the board the is located under the battery and it is not exposed to open holes (sockets/ports) nearby. There’s no indication of damage anywhere else in the report, so I doubt this is my fault, but rather a manufacturing issue. I questioned CPW but was accused in abusing the phone and diassembling it. I’m about to go to small claim court against them, wondering if someone dealt with similar problem before?

  19. CPW are awful, cancelled my contract of which they confimed that they had received the letter, but they have continued to collect the insurance, stating that the provider was orange and the insurance with them, and that there should have been a separate request to cancel the insurance and no I can have my money back. Hmmm hang on was put on hold and all this confirm with their insurance department so you can see the cancellation request and confirmed it was actioned for the phone just not the insurance!!!!!!!!!!! TOSSERS!

  20. six or seven years ago now, I was attracted to a deal for a new contract phone. It was a rebate basis. I bought the phone and they charged a fixed sum each month unless I exeeded minute allowances etc – after six months I could send in a ‘rebate voucher’ and they would refund a specified sum of money by cheque. This was to happen every three months for the remainder of the two year contract. They refunded the first claim, and then the second, but the third claim was not paid. They insisted they did not receive my request for rebate within the specified time. It was posted first class with a proof of posting, and to a UK address, it should have reached them on day 7 of the 14 day window specified (very fussy about the dates).

    I protested by letter, providing proof of posting which they stated was not adequate proof of them receiving it – Short of driving to Birmingham with it in my hand, I don’t see how else I could have done this, but they resolutely refused to refund the month. The consequence of this was far more serious. In their terms and conditions, if any of the claims were not received, the entire remaiing claims were voided. I lost over four hundred pounds on the back of a lie from them.

    I removed the sim and took out the battery, and used another phone from elsewhere, in case they stung me for calls I didn’t make. I also cancelled the insurance (had to write to Ireland for that). Four months later I noticed they were still taking money from my account for the insurance. I had a recorded delivery this time, and I went to my bank instead of Carphone conhouse, and they reclaimed the lost payments of the four months and cancelled the direct debit.

    A thoroughly disgusting company with no ethics, I made sure they cancelled the contract at the two year anniversary, and I have bought, of all places, a Tesco contract ever since, and it has been great.

    DO NOT deal with these people, walk past the store, they are spivs and con-men, in fact, Tesco are the antithisus of Carphone Con-House, they give great service when you get any glitches, and communicate quickly and easily. Carphone Con-House ignore calls, ignore letters, and are awful.

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