Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/07/t-mobile_staff_discount_probe/

T-Mobile suspends staff discount scheme

Extended family scheme 'abused'

By John Leyden

Posted in Mobile, 7th December 2006 14:29 GMT

T-Mobile UK has suspended its half-price employee line rental benefit package following reports of abuse. The mobile operator's Friends and Relations scheme offered line rentals at half the normal rate providing qualified recipients signed up to an 18-month contract.

The package was only supposed to benefit the friends and family of T-Mobile workers (including staff in the mobile phone operator's shops). However evidence from online forums provides evidence that codes used to set up the privileged package were being sold or given away to the general public.

An unexpectedly large number of sign-ups to the scheme prompted T-mobile to review its discount scheme, the mobile operator said. T-Mobile is reluctant to discuss the results of this investigation beyond saying it doesn't plan to take disciplinary action over possible abuse. Postings on forums suggest privileged codes were given away as a sweetener to prospective customers by T-Mobile retail staff, though the operator declined to confirm this beyond saying that there was "an issue".

While conceding that information about the scheme was passed on to people outside T-Mobile, a spokeswoman said it was satisfied that "everything was in order". The scheme, possibly in a modified form, will be relaunched shortly, she added. Codes might be easily tracked back to those that handed them out but T-Mobile said it wasn't going to take the matter any further.

In a statement, T-Mobile said: "As a result of the popularity of the Friends and Relations employee benefit, T-Mobile wanted to review the process given the volume of transactions encountered. During this period the scheme was put on hold for our retail colleagues. We have reviewed the process to ensure it remains operationally effective and we will re-launch the scheme shortly.

"Speculation has suggested an element of misuse within our retail business and I can confirm that no formal action against any individual has taken place or is planned as a result of this initiative," it added. ®