Man claims he is locked in two-year contract for phone that ‘does not work in Stalham’
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A man is locked in an unusual wrangle with Carphone Warehouse amid claims he was sold a two-year mobile phone contract for a phone that does not work in his town.
The industry ombudsman is investigating claims made by retired engineer Anthony Stopford after he bought the phone at the store's Brigg Street, Norwich branch last year.
Mr Stopford said he asked for a phone he could use from his address in Teresa Road, Stalham, and on the advice of store staff he signed up to a two-year contract on the O2 network, paying £18-per-month line rental.
But the 63-year-old alleges that soon after he got home he realised he had no phone signal on the network.
He claims that he returned to the store in person within the 14-day cooling off period to cancel the contract.
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However, a spokesman for Carphone Warehouse insists the chain has no record of Mr Stopford flagging issues with his coverage until almost five months after he bought the phone on March 14 last year, and has refused to cancel the contract.
His network, O2, claims that Mr Stopford should have a signal in Stalham because its coverage checker website says so.
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Mr Stopford said that the row that followed has cost him more than £2,000 to date, including on petrol to drive to places where his phone has a signal, has ruined his credit rating and that he has received threats to have his home repossessed.
With Mr Stopford, O2 and Carphone Warehouse at a stalemate, the case has been passed to the industry ombudsman for investigation.
A spokesman for Ombudsman Services: Communications confirmed that it was contacted by Mr Stopford last month and a case was open.
If an investigation finds in a claimants favour, the ombudsman has the power to make financial awards of up to £10,000, to put the customer back in their original position had a problem not occurred, to order a goodwill payment for time and trouble and to request an apology and explanation.
A Carphone Warehouse spokesman said: 'We are sorry to hear that Mr Stopford was not satisfied with the service he received at Carphone Warehouse.
'Our network coverage guarantee states that we must be notified of any issues within the first 14 days.
'Following an investigation, we can confirm that we weren't notified of Mr Stopford's network issue until almost five months after his first visit to the store. 'O2 also confirmed that there are no signal issues in Mr Stopford's area and no fault with the SIM card.
'Based on this we were not able to further his complaint.'