EE slammed for selling tablet on contract to illiterate Kensal Green woman with learning difficulties

Cassie (left) & Sarah-Louse Hawes with EE Tablet. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas

Cassie (left) & Sarah-Louse Hawes with EE Tablet. Photo by Adam Tiernan Thomas - Credit: Archant

A mother from Kensal Green has slammed a mobile phone company for selling a tablet on contract to her illiterate daughter who has learning difficulties and believed it was free.

Cassie Hawkes, from Halstow Road, said EE is taking advantage of people like 27-year-old Sarah-Louise Hawkes after she was sold the device while out shopping.

The pair were shopping in Harrow when Ms Hawkes told her daughter to meet her in Barclays Bank but instead she went into the EE store where she signed up for the tablet.

Ms Hawkes, who is in a wheelchair and also has learning difficulties, said her daughter set her text saying she was in the store but she didn’t realise she had signed up for the tablet until they got home.

She said: “I am fuming.

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“Sarah-Louise was clutching the tablet saying she was given it for free and she refused to stop playing with it.

“They must have known something was wrong with her. She can’t read, never mind understand what a contract is. My daughter said it was pay-as-you-go because she hadn’t signed a contract but she’d already done it.

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“She still thinks the tablet is free.”

Sarah-Louise, who also has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, has a carer who contacted EE to complain.

Ms Hawkes said: “They told him she was in the shop with another adult but that could only have been me and I wasn’t there.

“Everything was all done when I got there. I’m still so cross, I’m fuming and then for them to lie about it.

“It’s disgusting, EE takes advantage of vulnerable people, I can’t believe it.”

She added: “She has her Barclay card with her - that must be how she did it. It will all fall back on me to pay it and it’ll cost me hundreds.

“After six days she got a bill for £50. We can’t afford that. Then when I tried to return it to the EE shop in Kensal Rise, they said I couldn’t and had to go back to Harrow.

“It all makes me really angry. It’s so wrong to take advantage of people like that.”

A spokesman for EE said All UK retailers are bound by UK legislation which means that it is illegal to discriminate on grounds of race, gender, disability, and more.

He added: “If we had refused to serve Sarah, we would have been in breach of that legislation. We strive to help everyone who enters our stores, and have a strict non-discrimination policy across our entire business.

“As soon as Sarah’s carer contacted us to inform us of the background we immediately placed a freeze on the account, meaning the device could be used but would not be billed. We also arranged for a full refund of any initial payments made.”

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