Tesco Mobile refuses to believe I didn’t receive my phone

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In February I went to the Tesco Mobile outlet in my nearest Tesco store and ordered an upgraded handset – an iPhone. It was for my grandson, who took over my late wife’s Tesco Mobile number.

I paid an extra £29.40, completed the necessary paperwork and was informed that the phone would be delivered to me by DPD. Three days later I personally took delivery of the box, but when I opened it up, instead of the phone, there was a power bank (a portable charger) and a Tesco sim card.

Naturally I took this up with Tesco Mobile, but the company refuses to accept that this happened and has maintained that the correct item was delivered.

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I have since made a formal complaint enclosing photographs of the packaging and items received, but again this was rebuffed. I was told by Tesco Mobile to take the matter to the ombudsman service, but I’ve just been informed that the ombudsman can’t intervene because it is a handset matter, and Tesco has objected. I am left paying for a phone that we don’t have.

I feel I have been treated shabbily by the company – the inference being that I am dishonest and am trying to defraud them. I am a 75-year-old former police detective sergeant, who worked at the Bank of England for many years in a position of trust, and have no reason or inclination to commit fraud on Tesco Mobile or anyone else. Can you help?

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BK, east London

I was somewhat surprised to receive this letter as we get relatively few complaints about Tesco Mobile. It is arguably the sector’s top provider. That said, it clearly has not handled this well.

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Your phone was most likely stolen at the processing stage: the thief replaces the phone with something of a similar weight, which will then pass any en-route weight checks. It is not an uncommon occurrence.

The problem with these cases is that they are very difficult for the consumer to prove in their favour unless you open the parcel in the presence of the courier. I accept this is often easier said than done, but it has to be done because it stops these disputes from happening. Most drivers will wait two minutes while you open the package.

Tesco Mobile declined to comment on this case, but is now sending you the phone that you originally ordered. Given your work history, I am very surprised that it took my intervention at all.

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