Carphone Warehouse is facing a backlash from staff after emails obtained by Mobile show that the company was to blame over mis-selling of insurance on the Apple iPhone.
The leaked internal emails emerged after Carphone initially dismissed claims of mis-selling as ‘confusion among an isolated number of sales consultants’.
Allegations were made on the BBC’s Watchdog programme that staff told customers they would have to sign a new contract if their iPhone was lost or stolen at a total cost of £900, including a new device. However, customers only need to replace the handset, not the contract.
Carphone managers informed Mobile that they were told during nationwide iPhone training sessions that customers would need to restart their contracts if they lost the handset without insurance.
The retailer’s group CEO, Andrew Harrison, stepped in to say he had not personally held the employees responsible for the incidents and defended his store staff.
‘I sent the guys in store an email, telling them I didn’t blame any of them,’ he said.
Carphone was not trying to deliberately mislead customers, but store staff said the company should have admitted its mistake instead of blaming staff.
One email from a regional manager reads: ‘This will probably be the easiest Lifeline [insurance] sale you can make… to replace the phone, it will cost £900 (£270 for a new phone and 18 x £35 line rental).’
Mobile received a record number of text messages from disgruntled Carphone staff.
Harrison added: ‘The issue arose out of the fact that we don’t sell a Sim-free version and that the box says you need a new 18-month contract.
‘Somewhere along the line – and it’s difficult to ascertain where – there was confusion. I’m upset that they [sales staff] were called liars. They are not; there was genuine confusion.’
One Carphone staffer said: ‘We wouldn’t complain to the press about the company without good reason, we just want all Carphone staff to be cleared.’
Read the extracts of emails from HQ to staff advising on iPhone insurance, as well as Andrew Harrison’s full comments, here.