A Reader’s 3 HK Troubles

Several months ago a reader (Kit) told me about his ordeal with 3 HK; one of the 7 mobile carriers in Hong Kong.

From my non-scientific analysis, 3 HK is disliked by many of its subscribers, many of them are friends of mine. Some of them even created Facebook groups, 聲討 3HK iphone 服務奇差 !!!, 3HK PCCW 李氏大財團屈錢噤住黎搶申訴專區, and I love iPhone but I hate 3HK !! to share their dislikes for the company and its service.

Now let me share with you Kit’s experience with 3 HK. It started off with his purchase of the iPhone 3G in July 2008. He bought the subsidized iPhone 3G from 3 HK by subscribing to their most expensive tariff plan at HKD498/month, with a 24 months contract. This gave him a “free” ($0 payment up front) iPhone 3G.

When Apple released the iPhone 3GS in July 2009, he asked 3 HK to upgrade to the new model, 3 HK accommodated his request by asking him to extend his tariff plan contract for another 12 months for HKD398/month. Since his HKD498/month plan does not expire until July 2010 the new 12 months contract at HKD398/month does not start until then.

During this second year using the iPhone 3GS he experienced drop calls at his home (Hong Kong Island), at work (Kowloon tourist district) and during the MTR (subway) rides between the two locations. He complained to 3 HK about the drop calls issue over 5 times, each time 3 HK Customer Service’s response is that they will get back to him after their technical colleagues investigate his complains. Of course, each time there were no call back from 3 HK Customer Service.

Kit finally proposed to 3 HK to allow him to drop to the lower tariff plan to reflect his lack of use of the iPhone, due to connectivity issues. 3 HK refused his proposal so Kit asked to be removed from his commitment due to 3 HK’s failure to deliver the promised service. 3 HK again refuse but counter offer to discount his remaining months in his contract by HKD30/month. Kit did not agree with the counter proposal, but offered to pay the difference between the subsidized and non-subsidized prices of the iPhone 3GS so he can get out of the contract commitment, but 3 HK still rejected his request.

After being frustrated with the whole ordeal Kit decided to write a letter to Consumer Council for help. In the end with the assistance from Consumer Council, Kit was able to get out of his contract 12 months earlier by paying the difference between the subsidized and non-subsidized prices of the iPhone 3GS.

The lesson here is not to allow any corporation to push you around when you are not receiving the service or product promised. Be persistence in your search for a resolution and if needed seek Consumer Council for assistance.

Hong Kong mobile carriers are notorious for treating its customers poorly but among the 7 carriers there are a couple who have shown signs in the past several years to do better. I am sure by speaking to your friends you will know who these two carriers are.

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