Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I was so happy when my Blackberry Pearl arrived this morning that I nearly missed an appointment because I spent so much time figuring it out and playing with it. It's a nice phone – small, lightweight, nice camera, decent interface. But I'm afraid it's going to have to go back to T-Mobile.
The reason that I decided to buy a phone from T-Mobile was that the Web 'n' Walk tariff looked to both me and Kevin to be one of the best data tariffs in the UK. Data here is dreadfully expensive, but Web 'n' Walk promised 'unlimited internet browsing on the move'. (Where, of course, 'unlimited' means 'no downloading big files'.) One of the reasons I didn't use the Treo for internet activity more often was a general fear as to what would happen to my bill if I went over my 4mb allowance. Orange aren't particularly clear about what the penalties are, but I'm betting they're expensive and I've known people accidentally run up bills of thousands of pounds, so I'm very wary about my usage. But the idea of what is basically unlimited surfing and email seemed like a great idea.
Over the weekend, Kevin satisfied his OC comparison shopping gene and came to the conclusion that the Blackberry Pearl was the best of the Web 'n' Walk phones offered by T-Mobile, so I ordered one online. When it arrived this morning, I noticed that it didn't seem able to connect to the internet via GPRS Рthe phone's connection status is permanently 'data connection refused'. So I rang support and they told me that the reason I couldn't connect was because I have to pay an extra £5 per month to get access to the web.
Huh. That wasn't on the website. Apparently I need a service called 'Instant Email' which hooks me up with Blackberry's 'push' email service and the rest of the net. I asked if I could just use the net and not have the push email, but the whole thing's tied in together and I can't have the net without the push email. Which means, I can't make use of the Web 'n' Walk tariff I have bought without paying another £5 per month.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this isn't allowed, and that Trading Standards might have a thing or two to say about it. When you buy a service or product online, you should get what you have paid for with no hidden charges – yet that is exactly what this is.
Let's just review what T-Mobile's site says you get with the Pearl:
Corporate blackberry
Web 'n' walk internet
Instant email
Bluetooth® audio
Bluetooth® data
Look! “Web 'n' Walk internet”… no sign of that extra charge though.
And when you look at the different types of Web 'n' Walk plan, they all say 'web browsing on your phone'. No sign there of an extra charge either.
Indeed, all the way through the sign up process, T-Mobile never once say 'You have chosen a Blackberry phone which will require you to pay an additional £5 per month for access to the internet'. In fact, Kevin's just been through the whole T-Mobile site and has been unable to find any notification of this additional cost. If T-Mobile had mentioned it, I could have picked another phone, or I could have chosen to accept that additional fee (although I probably wouldn't have). But insisting afterwards is just not sporting.
I'm just lucky that I spotted this within the seven day return period guaranteed by The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, which T-Mobile kindly included a leaflet about. Under these regulations, you have 7 days to notify the vendor that you wish to cancel your agreement, and must return all equipment within 7 days of them telling you where to send it. (And I'm betting the cost of that is going to be borne by me, too.) So that's what I'm doing. It's not that I can't afford the extra £5 per month, it's the principle of the thing. I will not be conned like this.
Tomorrow, I might just give Trading Standards a call… and maybe the Advertising Standards Authority too. Meantime, I'm going to have to struggle along with the Treo, which is now sometimes working, and sometimes not, but always a pain in the arse.

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It came!

by Suw on October 17, 2006

My new T-Mobile Blackberry Pearl came this morning, and I have to say, it's gorgeous! Haven't quite figured out how to make the internet work yet, but so far so good. I'll be emailing everyone with my new number soon, but if you think you need it and I don't get in touch, please ping me.
More later, when I've figured things out.
(And thanks to Kev, for doing all the comparative shopping for me, and for helping me make up my mind on what I wanted.)

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