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I have been looking for a mobile data plan that has good coverage and is only active when I need it and is not PAYG in the old sense.
Giffgaff seemed to be the answer but its on O2 which doesn't have the best coverage.
Enter Smarty owned and run by Three so 4g coverage is good. http://Smarty.co.uk

Its sim only one month contract, at the moment I am on 100gb £15, there is unlimited for £20.
I've set it up not to recur payments so on the 5th October it goes into hibernation until I buy another month or 180 days pass (it closes the account after 180 days with no activity)
This is good for those that are not on the boat all year as it saves paying for all the months you don't need it.

http://referme.to/blHJxgx

The link above allows you to join Smarty and both you and I will get a free month of data :)

Hope this helps someone.

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I've just gone for "unlimited everything" with 3 mobile, for £16.00 a month, and tether. But then, I am a live-aboard, so not exactly relevant to what you're getting at. Phone not included. 

 

 

 

Edited by Higgs
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48 minutes ago, Higgs said:

 

I've just gone for "unlimited everything" with 3 mobile, for £16.00 a month, and tether. But then, I am a live-aboard, so not exactly relevant to what you're getting at. Phone not included. 

 

 

 

On my deal with Three, I discovered that tethering is limited to 30Gb per month, (which doesnt matter to me as I dont tether other than when my mifi based sim fails).

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2 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

On my deal with Three, I discovered that tethering is limited to 30Gb per month, (which doesnt matter to me as I dont tether other than when my mifi based sim fails).

I thought that all tethering limits had gone unless you were outside the UK

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2 minutes ago, Loddon said:

I thought that all tethering limits had gone unless you were outside the UK

 

Some contracts have a limited arrangement. My first, which I upgraded after 3 months, had a limit, On the third month, the limit seemed to come to an end before I thought it should have, so I upgraded to unlimited. Turned out cheaper, but for a two-year contract. 

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Loddon said:

I thought that all tethering limits had gone unless you were outside the UK

They have.  The 30gb thing went a couple of years back.

 

I've been with Three for years.  I'd often been warned, just pray nothing goes wrong, but they're cheap so I stuck with them.  Then, this year, right at the start of lockdown my account was hacked (a thing called a port-out attack) and a criminal took control of my Three account and phone number.  It was very stressful and my experience with Three was that they made things 100 times worse.  They were actually less useful than if they'd done nothing.  For the first few weeks I was unable to contact a single member of staff by phone and was reliant of their online chat service which was being manned by their clueless sales staff from their high street stores which were all shut (a phone company which you can't phone!!!).  I kept opening formal complaints with Three which were promptly closed with no explanation.  I was on the chat every day for about a month, often for hours at a time.  Often held in queues for hours.  I was forced to speak with a different person every day and they always directly contradicted what I'd been told the day before.  From what I've been able to glean, my account was likely compromised because a member of their staff was bribed to send out a PAC code for my account to a fraudster (this is what happens when your call centres are entirely manned by people in India who are probably living below the poverty line).  The implications are pretty big, especially if you use your phone for 2-step verification for banking and emails.  I had top change all my online passwords and put my bank account into a sort of lockdown.  Interestingly Barclays customer services were brilliant.  5 months on and I'm still  waiting for any kind of call or apology from Three.  I've lost track if I still have any open complaints with them, although I was promised that I would be contacted with regards to compensation I'm owed.  Obviously I've heard nothing.  My contract ends fairly soon and I will never, never, never return to them.  In fact I'm rather looking forward to the phone I will make soon to cancel, and I'm asked why.

 

Smarty = Three.  I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.

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1 hour ago, doratheexplorer said:

.......  In fact I'm rather looking forward to the phone I will make soon to cancel, and I'm asked why.

 

You've made a compelling case regarding your lack of joy with  their call handlers in your post, and I sympathize. That done, what makes you think you'll get any different result from them when venting your spleen as you cease to be a customer? They doubtless get bollockings from irate customers many times a day, so many that they'll be impervious I suspect. Do your blood pressure a favour and just move on. ;)

 

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18 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

You've made a compelling case regarding your lack of joy with  their call handlers in your post, and I sympathize. That done, what makes you think you'll get any different result from them when venting your spleen as you cease to be a customer? They doubtless get bollockings from irate customers many times a day, so many that they'll be impervious I suspect. Do your blood pressure a favour and just move on. ;)

 

 

Let's face it, she's going to have to jump through hoops sideways and backwards to get issued a PAC code when leaving them ...

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28 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

Let's face it, she's going to have to jump through hoops sideways and backwards to get issued a PAC code when leaving them ...

Not these days, OFCOM made rules to require providers to issue PAC codes within two hours of sending them an SMS: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/text-to-switch-simple-to-switch-mobile-network.

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3 hours ago, doratheexplorer said:

 

Smarty = Three.  I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.

Agree totally.  I had been with 3 for donkeys years.  A few months ago I started getting erroneous bills as apparently I had signed up for a premium rate gaming service.  I’m 60+ so I don’t think so!  I never got anywhere either via chat or phone and them always telling me they would sort it out and reimburse me but somehow they never did.  I made my own enquiries and it was said that 3 was well known for this as their staff in India regularly engage in skullduggery where the customer always is the victim.  I simply moved saving me money on the product and peace of mind.

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4 hours ago, Loddon said:

I thought that all tethering limits had gone unless you were outside the UK

Mine is a 100Gb deal, which is more than I can possibly use in a month, so as good as unlimited. It started in June this year.

 

When I bought it, the sales blurb talked about tethering, and didn’t mention any limit.

 

When I got it, one of the bits of info referred me to the terms, where the 30Gb limit was revealed.

 

As I said, I will only need to tether to this sim in limited circumstances, and will mainly be using big data to stream music direct from the phone, so it’s not a battle I need to fight.

1 hour ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

Let's face it, she's going to have to jump through hoops sideways and backwards to get issued a PAC code when leaving them ...

I think they have to allow you to do it by text these days, although I have seen that there are some who don’t follow the rules.

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18 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

You've made a compelling case regarding your lack of joy with  their call handlers in your post, and I sympathize. That done, what makes you think you'll get any different result from them when venting your spleen as you cease to be a customer? They doubtless get bollockings from irate customers many times a day, so many that they'll be impervious I suspect. Do your blood pressure a favour and just move on. ;)

 

Oh I'm fine.  Don't worry about me.  I could have gone on for pages and pages.  That was a brief summary.  I could have gone on to talk about how they sent me a bill for around £300.  I disputed it.  They agreed that I didn't owe anything and to ignore the letters.  Then they passed my details to a debt collect company who started court proceedings against me.  And remember, this was all caused by them. 

 

I simply want to warn other forum members that Three are cheap for a reason.

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7 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

Oh I'm fine.  Don't worry about me.  I could have gone on for pages and pages.  That was a brief summary.  I could have gone on to talk about how they sent me a bill for around £300.  I disputed it.  They agreed that I didn't owe anything and to ignore the letters.  Then they passed my details to a debt collect company who started court proceedings against me.  And remember, this was all caused by them. 

 

I simply want to warn other forum members that Three are cheap for a reason.

I've been with 3 for years, so far no problems unlike EE.........

Smarty like Giffgaff is pay in advance and if you don't have credit or a pre paid month then you have no service so no chance of getting a large bill.

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And yet they do look after you much better if your on PAYGO, because you pay through the nose for it.  Mine went wrong I payed £10 three times but it wouldn't top up. Went to the 3 shop, they couldn't do anything. but the call centre in India can, they have the gadgets. The nice Indian lady just needed proof, I got a quick bank statement to prove that 3 had taken my money and quoted it over the phone to her, she believed me.   I was out of pocket by the £30 plus phone call and my time, the kind Indian lady reimbursed me £80, brilliant.  I now have a contract with 3. WI FI  20 Gorillabites for £10 a month. Does me fine.

    You also get better treatment at the 3 shop if you visit it around lunch time with a bag of cakes. This works well at the MOT testing station too.

Edited by bizzard
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48 minutes ago, bizzard said:

And yet they do look after you much better if your on PAYGO, because you pay through the nose for it.  Mine went wrong I payed £10 three times but it wouldn't top up. Went to the 3 shop, they couldn't do anything. but the call centre in India can, they have the gadgets. The nice Indian lady just needed proof, I got a quick bank statement to prove that 3 had taken my money and quoted it over the phone to her, she believed me.   I was out of pocket by the £30 plus phone call and my time, the kind Indian lady reimbursed me £80, brilliant.  I now have a contract with 3. WI FI  20 Gorillabites for £10 a month. Does me fine.

    You also get better treatment at the 3 shop if you visit it around lunch time with a bag of cakes. This works well at the MOT testing station too.

The problem I had was made worse by the timing.  All the high street stores were closed, but their call centres were also closed.  Also, when it comes to more complicated matters like I had, the shop staff don't know anything. 

 

As a mechanical idiot, my method with mots is to find a nice little garage which doesn't do them.  They typically have an ongoing relationship with a nearby garage which does.  Book in a service + mot and they'll take it there for you and you know the test will be done fairly, because your guy has already looked over the car before they've taken it in. The chances of the two garages joining forces to con customers, is far lower than one garage on their own.  Also the MOT station know they won't pick up any repair work so they've got no particular reason to try and fail it. End of the day, go back and collect your car, all done.  It helps if it's near the canal.  I try to organise my cruising route so that I'm moored close to my favourite garage at MOT time.

Edited by doratheexplorer
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46 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

Oh I'm fine.  Don't worry about me.  I could have gone on for pages and pages.  That was a brief summary.  I could have gone on to talk about how they sent me a bill for around £300.  I disputed it.  They agreed that I didn't owe anything and to ignore the letters.  Then they passed my details to a debt collect company who started court proceedings against me.  And remember, this was all caused by them. 

 

I simply want to warn other forum members that Three are cheap for a reason.

It does sound like you had a particularly bad experience, possibly not helped by 3 closing their UK and india call centres in the early stages of the pandemic.  It's also unfortunate that as a society we seem to have sleepwalked into using mobile number as a security token when the infrastructure behind supporting them was never designed to make this as secure as one would want for that purpose.   

 

I guess we all have our horror stories of customer service, my most recent one being the kitchen appliance supplier who offers a three year guarantee, but the first step is an engineer inspection of the problem, and they have no capability to inspect microwaves themselves in the UK, and nobody on contract to do it for them - we are about two months into an escalation at the moment.

 

I wonder how much better the other mobile suppliers are though, once you are unlucky enough to have a problem. I know from experience at work that higher price doesn't always mean more is being spent on service, sometimes it just means higher profit for someone, or more wasteful incompetence.  For what it's worth the Ofcom 2019 figures are:

 

image.png.e27ad9f5d9353de54ced5ef47bcb8ebc.png

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44 minutes ago, alias said:

It does sound like you had a particularly bad experience, possibly not helped by 3 closing their UK and india call centres in the early stages of the pandemic.  It's also unfortunate that as a society we seem to have sleepwalked into using mobile number as a security token when the infrastructure behind supporting them was never designed to make this as secure as one would want for that purpose.   

 

I guess we all have our horror stories of customer service, my most recent one being the kitchen appliance supplier who offers a three year guarantee, but the first step is an engineer inspection of the problem, and they have no capability to inspect microwaves themselves in the UK, and nobody on contract to do it for them - we are about two months into an escalation at the moment.

 

I wonder how much better the other mobile suppliers are though, once you are unlucky enough to have a problem. I know from experience at work that higher price doesn't always mean more is being spent on service, sometimes it just means higher profit for someone, or more wasteful incompetence.  For what it's worth the Ofcom 2019 figures are:

 

image.png.e27ad9f5d9353de54ced5ef47bcb8ebc.png

I don't klnow how much I trust those figures.  I was advised not to complain to ofcom, but to the Communications Ombudsman, who proceeded to wriggle as hard as they could to avoid taking on the case, continually batting me back to Three (who, as we've established, were worse than useless).  Therefore the types of complaints to Ofcom are quite different in nature and relate to general service issues which affect customers as a whole, not individual complaints.

 

There's also a thing called the 'Phone-Paid Services Authority' just to confuse things further. 

 

Trustpilot score all the main mobile companies badly.  The best option looks like giffgaff.

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1 minute ago, doratheexplorer said:

I don't klnow how much I trust those figures.  I was advised not to complain to ofcom, but to the Communications Ombudsman, who proceeded to wriggle as hard as they could to avoid taking on the case, continually batting me back to Three (who, as we've established, were worse than useless).  Therefore the types of complaints to Ofcom are quite different in nature and relate to general service issues which affect customers as a whole, not individual complaints.

 

There's also a thing called the 'Phone-Paid Services Authority' just to confuse things further. 

 

Trustpilot score all the main mobile companies badly.  The best option looks like giffgaff.

Thanks for the information. I suppose someone at Giffgaff has to deal with O2, however I can see that might be better because I seem to get better response to broadband line fault problems from Plusnet than I did from BT, even though both of them presumably have to engage Openreach for the work.

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Everything on Giffgaff and Smarty is done over the interweb, no call centres to phone. Giffgaff uses forums for customer service which they call their community. Only time I used it worked well. Smarty uses online chat but says ut can take 24hrs to get a reply.

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I have a friend who was very senior in Vodafone. He told me their level of customer service in the UK was their lowest in their global operations, but there was no incentive to improve it.  They'd done their sums and market research and any extra spend on improvement would not bring sufficient additional revenue to cover it..

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7 minutes ago, Loddon said:

Everything on Giffgaff and Smarty is done over the interweb, no call centres to phone. Giffgaff uses forums for customer service which they call their community. Only time I used it worked well. Smarty uses online chat but says ut can take 24hrs to get a reply.

Yes, I've had no issues with Smarty over the past 18 months, and as you point out the monthly payment in advance is a handy way to limit liability.  I use the calls and 2GB data deal where cost of unused data is refunded, and extra data if needed can be bought for £1 per GB.   

 

Not sure how quickly and effectively the "chat" only support could combat a porting fraud as described by Dora, but that is often reported to be aimed at high value targets where passwords have already been compromised.  

 

This has been a useful reminder to me though to check which of my accounts that were SMS 2FA will now accept use of authenticator app instead, and for those that still won't, check that a mechanism for recovering control exists.

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44 minutes ago, alias said:

Thanks for the information. I suppose someone at Giffgaff has to deal with O2, however I can see that might be better because I seem to get better response to broadband line fault problems from Plusnet than I did from BT, even though both of them presumably have to engage Openreach for the work.

There's one called ID Mobile too, which piggybacks on Three.  Seems to get reasonable reviews.

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9 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

I have a friend who was very senior in Vodafone. He told me their level of customer service in the UK was their lowest in their global operations, but there was no incentive to improve it.  They'd done their sums and market research and any extra spend on improvement would not bring sufficient additional revenue to cover it..

I think there are quite a few companies, (really big, and really small), that operate this business model..... con the customer into buying crap, then ignore them when they have a problem, particularly if it is with the fact that they have been conned.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

I think there are quite a few companies, (really big, and really small), that operate this business model..... con the customer into buying crap, then ignore them when they have a problem, particularly if it is with the fact that they have been conned.

 

 

I don't think Vodafone are quite going that far, are they?  Their point is, they could put more money and effort into their customer service, but it would have a negative effect in terms the bottom line... in the UK at least. Clearly they do better everywhere else, or we wouldn't be bottom of their list. I don't know whether that says more about them or the UK consumer, frankly. 

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I had virgin mobile for long time, although I left them, I had good experience with their Philippines based call centre. Always felt like talking to a real human (generally happy and cheerful but not overtly so), who tries to understand and solve the issue. (not read from an script)

 

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