This is Money has received dozens of reader complaints about cashback deals and the consumer group Which? The cashback deal required that My Poddoku send in his mobile bills after four months and eight months. He made his first claim last July but received no word from One Mobile Village. When he made his second claim in November, he sent his bills via recorded delivery to ensure there could be no mistakes. Again there was no response. When he rang the firm's India-based call centre, staff claimed they had not received the bills for first claim, and that the second claim was not valid because photocopies had been sent.
Mr Poddoku insisted he had sent the original bills, but he has heard nothing more.
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Mr Poddoku said: 'I know that they received my bills, they just don't want to pay out. The staff don't know what's going on and none of the letters I have written have been replied to. Mr Poddoku turned to his mobile operator, Orange, for help, but without success. I think it is grossly unfair that they can allow their customers to be ripped-off like this.
This is Money tried to contact One Mobile Village but staff at the call centre said they were forbidden from giving out any other contact numbers for the firm. A message was left for someone to call back but there has been no response. Mr Poddoku's situation is typical of those who have been let down by cashback deals.
Because the deal is offered by the retailers, and has nothing to do with the network itself, there is no obligation for the network to step in and deal with the complaint. The regulator for the mobile phone industry, Ofcom, has already tried to tighten up the rules surrounding cashback deals.
While Ofcom has no sway over the retailers that sell such deals, it did strike a deal last spring with the Mobile Broadband Group - a body representing the major mobile networks - that was supposed to give customers more protection. The deal included guidelines that require mobile operators to handle complaints from customers who are having difficulties claiming on a cashback deal — but it stops short of making the operator responsible if a cashback deal goes wrong.
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When a complaint is made about a cashback deal, operators are supposed to pursue the case with the retailer offering the deal and, if the response from the retailer is not satisfactory, the network should refer the firm to senior staff who can potentially terminate contact with the retailer. From plastic bags, to farm shops and cycling manifestos, our bloggers want to be better and more ethical consumers.
And don't miss However, Ofcom has recently indicated that the deal struck with the Mobile Broadband Group has failed to provide the safeguards that are needed to protect customers. A spokesman for Ofcom said: 'There has been a slight dip in the number of complaints but this has not been significant. We will put forward new proposals soon for further safeguards.
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In the case of our reader, Orange said: 'We're aware that Mr Poddoku is unhappy with the service he is receiving from One Mobile Village. Orange is committed to ensuring great customer service and, having reviewed this case, we will liaise with Mr Poddoku directly and move him onto a package suited to his needs. Orange has been very proactive in addressing any issues, including cutting off over dealers who did not meet the high levels of customer service we demand from our dealers.
Customers are also able to log their complaints about cashback deals with Ofcom, through it's website. However, the regulator said these complaints are not investigated individually, but that they act as an indicator to particular companies that are treated customers unfairly.
When several complaints have amassed that concern one company, Ofcom can report this to the mobile phone networks. Beyond this, customers face a difficult task in getting their money from dodgy cashback deals. They can report the company to their local Trading Standards Office but their best chance of forcing a company to pay up may be through a small claim in the county court. You can find out how to do this here.
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Besides, it is the only e-commerce company which offers day price guarantee.
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They also have brick-and-mortar offline retail outlets across the country. The e-commerce venture sources all its products directly from major brands and retails the same to consumers at affordable price points. Frequent fluctuations in gadget prices was a huge area of concern for consumers and this is the space where Onlymobiles. The company realized quite early that customer loyalty is very difficult to achieve especially in mobile phones retailing business where there is not much value addition from the retailer side.