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About 4 months ago now I began looking for my first contract phone and using a price comparison site found many deals on the LG Shine phone and the best offer was provided by e2save.
On first appearence www.e2save.com is a smart, well designed, modern website which is very appropriate to its purpose: selling mobile phones/contracts. It is easy to navigate and search, clearly gives features and pictures of the phones and allows you to find the phone your after quickly.
Once you have made your purchase the website really gets good! The "Your Account" section is the best I have seen on any website and the order tracking facility is phenominal. All of the information regarding your contract is available and the phone numbers to help with any of your problems are given clearly. Even the cashback is explained but more about that later! Its once you ring the phone numbers you begin to have problems!
Having known nothing of the company previously and at this stage not even knowing they were a branch of the Carphone Warehouse, I was sceptical of the deal that they were offering at first and soon realised why. The deal was a "free" LG Shine phone with the Orange Dolphin contract
package which includes amongst other things 500 "free" minutes and 500 "free" texts for £35 a month. However, the deal was on "clearance" and the price per month on first viewing appeared to have been slashed to £17.50 a month for the whole package. Once I read on I realised that you still have to pay £35 a month but will recieve "cashback cheques" every so often (you have to send them certain bills) and £17.50 is the average per month of your costs. This was still the best deal I could find online so I decided to give it a go when I found out about the connection with Carphone Warehouse.
I placed the order on a Monday morning and was very impressed that I recieved the phone on the Tuesday. Everything was there and in place, I just needed to ring Orange and wait for 24 for the number to be activated. All went very smoothly and I didn't have any problems with the phone/service.
The phone was fantastic and they included all of the add-ons and wires that you could ever imagine (I thought that maybe because it was "free" they might make me buy my own handsfree kit etc.) Thus far, I have had not had any problems with the phone or the service that Orange provide on the "Dolphin" contract.
This is where the e2save system comes completely unstuck. Although it is a good deal, it is also made horrendously complicated and difficult to understand the cashback deal (so much so that they have set up a seperate customer services department for cashback enquires).
My first experience of customer services was to get someone to explain in normal words the complicated and confusing explanation of the cashback system given in the leaflets that came with the phone. I was left on hold for over half an hour before actually speaking to anyone and then when I did they weren't exactly helpful. I do now understand the system but I need to ring again soon to find out which of my bills is the "September" one because the one dated September will actually be more for August the way the dates work out! I don't look forward to it!
The second (and thankfully last) time I phoned them was regarding the "automatic" first cashback cheque which turned out to be not so automatic after all.. I had to ring up and ask for them to send it! Again it took forever to get through and spent much of the conversation on hold but they did send me the cheque in the end! Also worth a mention is that I spoke to the same customer services representativ on both occasions!
One more problem: With the contract I recieved three months of free insurance cover which in the contract will automatically continue after the 3 months at £5.99 a month. During the third month of cover I rang the Carphone Warehouse insurance department (much better service, only had to wait 5 mins or so) and asked to cancel the cover after that month. The helpful lad on the other end of the phone clicked away on his PC for a few seconds and it was done.. At least until the three months was up and they started charging me £7.99 for my insurance by direct debit. I missed the first months charge due to being on holiday but found out this time. Which means yet another phone call to sort out something that seemed so easy.
I am not experienced in the contract phones market so could not really tell you whether or not this is the general trend with every supplier but e2save provide a really good price.. but it's certainly not worth the hassle you are put through to get the deal that they advertise. When my 18 months is up (13 more to go!) I will not be staying with e2save unless the service improves considerably because its simply not worth the money you save!