Phone pests

The Tout lays into Britain’s biggest pests: mobile phone operators


The Tout would normally only comment on matters of a sporting nature and interest but apart from Abu Hamza’s wife and family continuing to live at our expense in this country there is one other issue that we could all rise up over collectively and do something about. For the past twenty years that we’ve all been consumers we have been abused by phone pests and those nuisances are the very companies that are supposed to provide us with the service that we pay so much for.

Just how The Tout feels when his mobile cuts out


There are two areas of sustained abuse and the first of those is the sketchiness of the reception for the service. In Switzerland, I can drive through their longest tunnels with two phones going, a plethora of email and sight of my BetFair interactive screen and at times the reception is even better than normal. In England, in order to make one call it can take 4 or 5 attempts with T “Bloody” Mobile and I am not talking in the middle of nowhere. Unbelievably the three main regular trouble spots that I encounter are by The Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner, just south of Guilford on the A3 and in the middle of Reading. It would be hard to describe any of those locations as especially rural. I urge readers to let me know where their regular cold spots are.


We pay for calls in units of minutes so on this basis what should be a one minute call (if you are male and three if you are female!) could be costing four or five times more. We all seem to accept this so the drones at the mobile companies can only hold a very low opinion of us.


The second stage of the robbery and I believe they must wear stockings over their heads in their offices when they commit this crime is whenever any of us venture abroad. Then they really start to have a laugh. Recently European charges have dropped but when The Tout was forced to go to Corfu for a holiday (too hot) and was informed by text, as I waited for the my luggage not to arrive, that in Greece it would cost 25 pence per minute to make a call and in Albania it would cost £1.50 per minute.


No problem I thought as I’m in Greece it seemed quite reasonable and a visit to Albania was not on the cards quite understandably. So, when I got back to the over taxed slum that we call home the first thing I got was a bill for £600 from T “Bloody” Mobile. No problem, I thought, as I called them about my Albanian minutes as I did not go to Albania. The problem, they said, was: “You were near enough to go on the Albanian signal.” I replied: “That is b……s  as we only hired a tiny motor boat that I did not dare take more than 100 yards offshore so I was well within Greek waters and the Greek fishermen.” I did confess that Albania was very close and we had been warned not to leave washing on the line overnight as they swim across from Albania and nick your smalls while you are asleep.


Finally, after much ranting, they believed me, gave in and agreed to reduce the bill by £200. That was all very well but guess who is really wearing the trousers? The answer: the mobile operators. The fact of the matter is that they just don’t care that they are providing bad service for too much money. They are utter pests and con artists.


I urge you all to drop them a line with your next bill logging all of the calls that did not work correctly and demand a refund. We can all do this and if we don’t they will have our trousers around our ankles forever.


The Tout

  1. I would like to know who this character The Tout is. I would like to put him in touch with Mr Bone as there is a need for him to raise this matter in the House. I have had terrible troubles with the impertinent morons at Vodafone myself as a result of our summer holiday abroad and all they could say in response was: “You made the calls, so you have to pay”.

  2. Matthew – I totally agree on all counts. I live in Fulham, a densely populated area I am sure you would agree, yet at least 50% of the calls I make using my mobile ‘phone whilst at home or close to home cut off in the first few seconds. It is so bad that I am now used to saying to people that WHEN we are cut off, I will call back. I am forever apologising to people and am now used to this process. I cannot remember a time when I could simply dial once, get through easily and maintain a long conversation. I am ‘phone phobic at the best of times and now that I have to endure a low level of service I am even less likely to pick up my ‘phone and dial.
    Regarding your comments about tariffs whilst abroad. I have been caught in a similar way. The companies are all very keen to ensure that you can use the networks abroad and usually by the time one is getting out of the airport a message is sent via text advising of the new network. Would it not be a nice idea if the networks could state the charges in the same text? If not possible then at least a text to state that one may incur significant higher charges with perhaps a suggestion on how to manage these. Whilst as customers we have all signed various T+Cs to state that we understand that we may incur higher charges in specific circumstances, it is a known fact that we do not read nor remember the contents of T+Cs. These ‘phone companies rely on this fact and know that we will not remember, therefore a little reminder at the appropriate time would solve many of these issues.


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