A MOBILE phone company has been branded a “scam” by furious customers who signed Â£2,000 contracts for phones that don’t arrive for THREE months.
Sunshine Mobiles is aimed at people with bad credit scores who are unable to get a contract and demands 12 weekly payments before sending out a phone.
But customers say this is not clear on their website, leaving some confused when they only receive a sim card and no phone after paying out.
If consumers are unhappy and decide to cancel the contract, they are then stung with a Â£20 refund fee – leaving some out of pocket and others forced to claw back cash from their bank.
Ofcom has received complaints about the company and agreed to review the Terms and Conditions after The Sun Online’s probe.
Christopher Ireland, 34, signed up for an iPhone 7 plus in December and cancelled the following day.
He said: “It doesn’t state on their website you have to wait 12 weeks.
“If you want a phone to use in the meantime you have to buy a Nokia 222 off them for Â£30. None of this was clear.”
Customers are asked to put in personal details, including a credit or debit card, before the 12-week wait is explained.
No money is taken from the customer’s account until they process the order – but Chris complains this is still misleading.
He said: “All I saw on their website was an iPhone 7 plus for what I thought worked out atÂ about Â£40 a month.
“But I was charged Â£48 for the first instalment and didn’t even have a phone to show for it.”
Chris was charged a Â£20 refund fee after cancelling the “misleading” contract the following day.
Sunshine Mobiles say they do not hold card details after customers enter them.
Sunshine Mobiles advertise contracts with “no credit checks, guaranteed phones and affordable weekly payments”.
Their websiteÂ boasts “get yours today” – without making it clear you will not receive a handset forÂ 12 weeks.
No tariff information or total costs are visible.
Carreyanne McFarlane, 40, from Tranent, East Lothian, orderedÂ an iPhone for daughter Rachel, 17 in January.
She said: “At no point was it clear I wouldn’t receive a phone for 12 weeks.
“I went through the process and got an email saying my sim was on its way – I thought ‘hold up, what about the phone?’”
Carreyanne sent an email to customer services asking them to cancel her order butÂ did not receive a response and was charged Â£42.
She said: “My bank cancelled my card and refunded me in the end. I never heard back from Sunshine Mobiles.”
Both complained the company’s tariff was not clear, even after they processed the order.
Customers also complained Sunshine Mobile’s tariff is not clear – as it is not shown until after you have entered card details, when you are about to process your order.
Sunshine Mobile charges Â£10-a-week for their tariff, which gives customers 11 hours talktime, 20 hours web browsing and “hundreds and hundreds of texts”.
This is charged on top of the weekly phone instalments, which currently range from Â£2.56-a-week to Â£17.98-a-week.
Customers pay an additional Â£20 “admin fee” on the first instalment.
At this rate Chris would have ended up paying Â£2,045 for the iPhone 7 plus.
Negative comments branding Sunshine Mobiles a “scam” and complaints have been removed from their Facebook page.
Sunshine Mobiles said: “We provide customers who would not pass a credit check a phone contract.
“We need to see 12 weekly payments before we send a phone, we explain this on a page after customers select a phone and enter their details.”
They added: “Facebook is not a forum for abuse. We have a very good response rate on Facebook. It isn’t our customer service platform.”
Dean Dunham, Chief Ombudsman at the Retail Ombudsman, said: “It sounds like a pay-day loan for mobile phones to me.
“When you sell something to consumers you’ve got to tell them exactly what they’re going to get, how much it costs, when they’re going to get it and in a way they understand.”
Ofcom said: âWe will review Sunshine Mobileâs terms and conditions to ensure they are sufficiently clear and consumers are being fairly treated.â
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