Andy Palmer: Why not negotiate a deaf discount on your mobile phone contract?

Posted on May 16, 2015

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About a year or so ago, it was time for my Dad’s mobile phone contract renewal.

He chose the smartphone he wanted (which was the same as mine) and agreed to let me contact O2 on his behalf to thrash out the new deal. I was fresh from scoring a great deal for myself with T-mobile, Dad was clearly jealous of my new phone, and I felt confident I could get the best data, text and call minutes deal I could for him.

My dad’s deaf, I should add, and doesn’t use the talking parts of a smartphone.

But hang on a moment, I thought. Minutes? MINUTES! He doesn’t need minutes. He has never spoken on the phone in his entire life. So the challenge for me was not just to get a good deal, but to make sure he wouldn’t be paying for minutes he would never, ever use.

I had to negotiate a new kind of contract .. The Deaf Deal.

Dad set a password with O2 years ago so I can deal with them on his behalf – its always worked and we have never had any hassle in that respect. I was put through to the Renewals Team and set about the task of saving some money and getting a deal that actually reflected what Dad was going to use.

So I proposed the Deaf Deal. It wasn’t easy.

I demanded to speak to managers and had to hang in there for a while but I felt I was on solid ground. Right was on my side.

My argument was that by only offering tariffs that included and charged for talk-time minutes, which we all knew would never be used, my dad was getting a raw deal.There was no suitable ‘zero minute’ alternative;  so I argued that my dad was being unfairly treated by being forced to pay for something he wouldn’t use. I pointed out that over the years, he had never used a single talking minute and they always took his money.

Yes, I suppose it got a little heavy compared to an average mobile phone renewal call, but it was worth it. We got a monthly discount of £5 which amounted to a saving of £120 for the duration of the contract. Not bad, eh?

I’m not sure how effective this would be by email or textphone and I cannot guarantee that you’ll get a similar result, but if you give it a go, good luck!

Andy Palmer is the hearing father of a Deaf son, and is also a child of Deaf parents. He is Managing Director of the Cambridgeshire Deaf Association, runs Peterborough United’s deaf football teams and is Chairman of the Peterborough and District Deaf Children’s Society and teaches sign language in primary schools. Contact him on twitter @LC_AndyP

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