Thanks go to schizoboy who suggested this and provided me with the bulk of the points made here. It's much apprectiated.
Cashback contracts are very common, and a very good way of getting a cheap mobile contract. They begin at £0 - that's right, totally free for the total contract term and you even get a free phone. So what's the catch? It seems that people are becoming more aware to the risks involved. We hear a lot of people not receiving cashback or having problems. A lot of the time this is due to the stringent terms and conditions which the companies enforce, which consumers do not follow correctly and subsequently lose their caashback. Here are a few tips which will help you to succeed with your cashback...
First of all, it's nice to know how cashback works. It all varies, but it generally works like this. The network set their commissions each month. They pay an amount to the retailer for each connection on each tariff. The retailer can then offer this commission to you in the form of a free phone and/or cashback. You pay the full amount to the network who send you bills. You then send specified bills to the retailer at specified times who will send you a cheque for the cashback, returning the correct amount of money to you. The amount the retailer gives you depends on the commission they receive for that tariff. The zero-cost line rental offers can work in a number of ways. Either the network gives the retailers more commission than the tariff in the hopes that you'll make lots of calls and texts and earn them more money and stay with them after the contract is up or the retailer relies on some people forgetting to claim or not follow their T&Cs. Keep your eye on the ball and you will beat them at their own game quite easily...
[u Who to Contact
There's two (or three) parties involved. These are the mobile network , the mobile retailer and the cashback site you have purchased through. It's important you contact the correct one with your questions and complaints.
e.g. o2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, etc.
This is the company you pay the money to. They also send you the bills. Their job is to provide you with the minutes and text messages you use to keep in touch with your friends, family and colleagues.
The network has nothing to do with your cashback. Although if the retailer has performed against the network's code of practice you can complain about them to the network. This requires a lot of logs and evidence.
e.g. Carphone Wrehouse, e2save, The Mobile Outlet, PhoneBoxDirect, OneStopPhoneShop, etc.
This company sells phones and contracts for the network. They will be the people you have bought the phone off.
This company provides you with the cashback. All cashback queries should be sent to your retailer.
[u Cashback Site
e.g. QuidCo, TopCashBack, Rpoints, etc.
This is confusing. This company has nothing to do with your cashback claim. They simply give you a small amount of money to purchase via their website. This does not need to be claimed for. Queries regarding cashback claims should not go to these websites. Similarly, queries regarding the status of your cashback via these websites shouldn't go to the retailer!
[u How to succeed...
[U Be sure
Read the terms and conditions carefully. They outline EXACTLY what you need to do to claim your cashback. Print off a couple of copies if possible and keep them safe. If anything is unclear to you, ask here or ask the company's customer services department.
Read the terms and conditions again. It sopunds silly, but you really must read them over and over again!! Read through them until you remember it all clearly and understand the terms fully. If you don't follow the terms correctly then it will cost you literally hundreds of pounds and only you will be to blame.
Make sure you have everything you need. If the terms and conditions say you need cashback claim vouchers then make sure you have received them. Most companies only give you 7 or 14 days to request missing vouchers, and they'll regularly allow them to go "missing" where possible. Also, some companies require you have a receipt or dispatch note to send in or a copy of it with each claim. Check this in the terms and conditions and if you need one make sure you have it. If anything is missing don't hesitate to get in touch with the company!
Don't assume ANYTHING. If you aren't sure, talk to the customer services of the RETAILER you are dealing with. If you are still unsure, feel free to ask questions here on HotUKDeals and someone will help you!
Ask the customer service team lots of questions. Emails can often be more useful than telephone calls where urgent responses aren't needed because you can keep a record of what has been said. Don't be scared to ask lots of thorough questions.
[u Complicated Terms
Your 1st bill usually arrives days after ordering, meaning 6th bill is after 5months, 12th bill is after 11months etc. Check the retailer terms and conditions to check if bills to be sent out are outlined by bill number, month number or number of days of connection. If you are unsure then contact the retailer to clarify or ask here on HotUKDeals where someone will help you.
[u Stay Organised
Read the T&Cs carefully and work out EXACLTY which bills you need to send off . Ensure you understand any differences between the number of the bill, the month of the bill, or the number of days after connection.
Remind yourself. Set reminders. Lots of them. Write it in your diary. Add it to your phone's reminder system. Stick post-it notes everywhere. Add reminders in your email program. Sign up to a reminder service such as http://www.memotome.com
who will send you emails at the necessary time. Whatever it takes.
Keep it all safe. Put all of your documentation, including bills, vouchers, printed terms and conditions, copies of any written communication with the company, etc all together and in a safe place. Don't forget where they are or allow it all to get spread around the house!
Send the bills as soon as you get them. Don't leave it until the last minute. When you have everything you need to send your claim, do it THAT DAY!!
Fill in the provided vouchers carefully and correctly. (if your claim requires vouchers)
Print out a cashback date schedule. Use the T&Cs to make a table of when you need to claim your cashbacks. Something like THIS: http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/7554/cnmexcelchart1aa9.jpg
Click Here . Make it as colourful and personalised as you like and stick it somewhere obvious. Maybe add more detailed and fool-proof instructions for yourself to this.
[u Precautions You Can Take to make sure you will receive your cashback
Photocopy everything you send. You will usually have to send the originals, but keep a hard copy of anything you send including bills, letters, emails and anything else you may send the retailer. You can refer back to this if they make a fuss.
Send claims recorded delivery. This is VITAL. Send all claims by signed-for recorded delivery, or special delivery where possible. That way the retailer can't pretend that they lost your claim because you can prove it wasn't received. Some retailers such as OneStopPhoneShop will accept a recorded delivery number as proof of postage for missing claims. Don't lose the slip you get from the post office for this.
Do not send multiple claims together. Most retailers will ignore one of the claims if more than one claim is sent in the same envelope. Don't try and save on the postage. Send them separately.
Pay all bills on time. Don't leave any outstanding bill payments for the next month. Some retailers may see this as grounds to reject your claim.
Do not change your tariff. Some retailers have rules allowing you to change your tariff after a particular amount of time, however even if this is allowed it can only ever complicate matters. It's best to stick on your original tariff for the duration of your contract.
Do not change the name of the account holder. It is important that the account holder name on the bill stays the same as the name the retailer has on record.
Do not change the direct debit details. Again, the direct debit details shouldn't be changed or your claim may be rejected.
Try not to change the address on the account. Obviously, this cannot always be avoided but it is VITAL that you get in touch with the retailer's customer service team before changing any details with the network.
It doesn't matter if you make lots of calls or no calls. The retailer will rarely be bothered, and neither will the network. As long as the network are getting their payments and the retailer get their commission then it doesn't bother them.
[u Getting a contract with the intention of selling the phone on
It's important to remember that you pay the full amount to the network each month. It is almost impossible to sell a phone on for the amount of the contract, so you are relying on the cashback. It is upto you to decide whether this risk is worthwhile. Obviously, the more contracts you have the more difficult it is to manage them. Defaulting on paying the network for your mobile bill can and will affect your credit rating.
It's not impossible to claim cashback. It's [u very possible . Just make sure you do it all correctly and follow the Terms and Conditions to the letter and you will be perfectly fine.
Best of luck. :thumbsup:
This guide is the intellectual property of its owner. Copyright belongs to the poster, all rights reserved. Copying of this guide in whole or in part is not allowed without permission. Feel free to link to this page.