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Early upgrade via speed to refresh: Cancellation

Level 1: Joiner
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So I was with O2 since 2018 with iPhone XR. Initially got the contract via Mobile Phones Direct for 18 months. Since December 2019 I kept seeing ‘Upgrade now for free’ banners in my O2 app. I kept browsing deals on there and never liked one until Feb 2020 when I saw an iPhone 11 deal with decent airtime plan. With current (then) contract ending in Nov 2020 and £451 left to pay, I decided not to. However still checked with O2 and I was told as part of the free upgrade I didn’t have to pay the old buy out fee. They’ll waive that off and let me into oO2 refresh program.

On Feb 6th 2020, I decided to opt for this offer and go for the upgrade. I NEVER deal with stores. But god knows why I went to my local store since they had the phone in stock and readily available. Upgraded there and got the O2 refresh deal with iPhone 11. I was told I had 14 days cooling off if I changed my mind.

Situation in the UK and across the globe with the new pandemic isn’t unknown to any of us. My parents live in a different country to me and are elderly. So given the lockdowns and abrupt layoffs and panic buying leaving no stock for those elderly etc. I decided to fly to my parents and care for them in these difficult times. So I called up O2 (202) and asked if I could leave the network as I wasn’t sure how long I’ll be gone for and won’t be able to use the network or afford to pay for it given the crisis. Customer service was fantastic and said I could leave and won’t have anything to pay. £0.00 but it’ll have to be returned in store. I was warned I might have to pay airtime used but that’s all. I went to store next morning still within 14 days to return the phone. I was refused a return because I only got speed to refresh on the basis of the “store paying off my old buy out fee”. So not waiving. Or inviting me for early upgrade but actually paying it off for me which meant “I HAVE to keep A handset, be it this one or another one but I cannot cancel my device plan”. I can only exchange the handset and never return it for cancellation. Even within the 14 days period. So I asked for copy of terms and conditions and read it in conjunction with those for speed to refresh promotional terms online and realised that nowhere was it stated. The store said it was an agreement I signed which they didn’t have any proof of but still kept refusing to honour the actually signed copy of the agreement I had printed by them for me which clearly stated I could return the device with no questions asked.

I wasted 3 hours in store arguing, making calls and humiliating myself as the AM kept refusing to do it. Sadly two others in my family were on same contract same tarif and same timeline as me as we did 3 connections together. So now we are stuck with store refusing to take back devices, forcing to pay off £730 each get out the contract despite being within 14 days.

If you’ve read this far please help me with some advice on what’s best way forward. O2 is losing my faith put in it.
Message 1 of 5

Level 94: Supreme
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I'll tag our community managers to see if they can assist you with the correct terms and conditions.

@Martin-O2 @Marjo 

I have no affiliation whatsoever with O2 or any subsidiary companies. Comments posted are entirely of my own opinion. This is not Customer Service so we are unable to help with account specific issues.

Currently using:
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone 8+ (EE)
Message 2 of 5

Level 1: Joiner
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Also worth mentioning that I send text INFO to 85075 to see where I stood with my contract and this was the response:

“ Hi, it's O2. You're still in your Change-Your-Mind period, so if you choose to switch and return your device you'll only pay for the airtime you've used. If you want to hold onto your device it will cost you £732.00, this is the balance remaining on your contract. Your final bill will include any out-of-bundle charges like Charge To Mobile. Log in to My O2 to see your switching info: For more details go to or call 202 for free from your O2 mobile.”

Some details I forgot to mention were the fact that not one but 3 different people over 202 very confidently said I didn’t have to stay back and could leave since I’m within 14 days. They even tried sending a Jiffy bag for return online to avoid dealing with difficult store. However they didn’t have the resources to. So I was sent back to the point of sale. Somehow every time I requested store manager to speak to 202, retail operations etc on phone so he would know that he’s wrong he went in the back and spoke to them about it all not in front of me. Only would come back to say it’s stores discretion. But surely stores discretion is to abide by the terms and agreement given to me and signed by me. Which has no mention of the clause that I HAVE to keep a device and that I cannot cancel but only exchange. In fact it says otherwise. But he said he has no way of showing it but I’d have agreed to something like that during purchase which took away my statutory rights. Citizens advice and consumer forum disagrees and especially when I explained my reasoning of wanting to get back to my parents and help them in these grim times, they said it’d be illegal and immoral to enforce something like this upon its customers for the store and O2 in general. But all in all store is reluctant but customer services isn’t. Phone calls are recorded as I was told and I should be able to use them for my support barring GDPR restrictions if needed.
Message 3 of 5

Level 94: Supreme
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May possibly be a franchise store? Don't know

Message 4 of 5

Community Manager
Community Manager
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Thanks for the mention on this one @MI5!


@agent4tea7 I'll grab some details off you and pass this to our Guru team so we can find out exactly where you stand. 

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