Selling my old mobile – a salutary tale!

I have fallen foul of the old adage “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is”. In my case it was responding to an advert in the Sunday Times which offers to give you cash for your old mobile phone.

Being the unashamed geek that I am, I have recently upgraded my Iphone to the 3Gs (a great piece of kit- it even has a compass!). I saw the advert in the Sunday Times and was pleasantly surprised (more fool me) when their web site advised me that the amount they would pay for my old iphone was £101. Not bad and it would go some way to ameliorate my somewhat guilty conscience for such an extravagance.

I duly completed the details, and very efficiently, a few days later received a letter confirming the offer and an envelope in which to send off the phone.

At this point matters became somewhat Kafkaesque.Having posted the phone, I received a few days later a text message simply stating that the phone had been received and – wait for it – the revised offer was £20!

Now I am not that naive not to realise that any offer must be subject to confirmation of the condition of the phone – but £20 as compared to £100 is a bit steep. I immediately texted back to say it was not acceptable and would they please return the phone.

Silence came the reply – nada – nothing. There followed three days of fruitless phone calls – sorry we’re so busy but extreme call volumes etc… – when on finally speaking to a human being, I was advised that my phone had a software problem (it didn’t when I sent it) and thus the reduced valuation.

OK I say, send me back the phone. No, they say, we dont return the phones. As you may imagine, at this juncture, the conversation became somewhat circuitous and little bit heated.

There is a moral to this. These adverts are obviously a scam. What is surprising is that they appear to be backed by a respectable newspaper such as the Sunday Times.

So be warned – if it sounds too good to true – it is!
13th October 2009 – There is a psotscript to this story. I complained to the News of the World who are the apparent sponsors of this scheme. I received a prompt response from the Senior Associate Editor with a profuse apology and agreeing to pay the full amount originally offered. I have today received a cheque from them.

It is good to see that customer service still exists in some quarters!


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