giffgaff – the mobile network run by you”, according to their website. It’s a great concept whereby you can earn cash when you  bring others to giffgaff. The idea is appealing especially if you own an unlocked mobile phone and don’t want to be tied to a contract and/or use more data/texts than actual mobile calls. They offer some cool packages which are very visible on their website under the name “goodybags“. (see below – images from the website).

So naturally this is something that I would consider, as I am “more” a data/text user than a phone caller.

So I signed up for the FREE sim. The sim card arrived in a timely fashion in the post in a very simple piece of paper folded in a way to look like an envelope as to not waste paper. (very green indeed, very clever). Once unfolded there was a small credit card size piece of plastic holding the sim card. It was wrapped in a cardboard sheath that showed off their logo and tag-line on the front and on the back the same price schemes for the different goodybags. So far so good.

I went to the website and clicked on the Activate SIM button and was prompted for sim card code and various personal details and then it showed the following screen, which has intrigued me since this is the FIRST TIME that it tells you what you can do:

1) What would you like to buy? (I want to buy a giffgaff £10 goodybag).

  • Buy credit (why would I want to do that if the £10 goodybag already contains 100 minutes)?
  • Buy credit & goodybag (I don’t want credit when the £10 goodybag already contains credit for 100 minutes).

Which brings me back to my subject that giffgaff is misleading us. No where on the site does it say you have to purchase credit before you take on a goodybag.

Even “This bit’s important…” doesn’t state that clearly enough.

edited 07/06/2010: After some clarification in my comment area from other people, I am happy to strike out the paragraph below because I have misunderstood giffgaff on what they are offering and giffgaff themselves have confirmed the clarity of the process is not very clear and will make the necessary changes to resolve this.

In a nutshell I could have purchased “credit only”, e.g. £10 and with that money purchase a £10 goodybag. If I managed to use the 100 minutes up then I would have to top up by buying more credit.

Activating with a goodybag would make more sense as there are less processes to follow. Let us wait and see if giffgaff make the process clearer.

The whole concept is a good deal if you have “only the goodybag” as shown on their website and on the packaging of the SIM card, but a rip off if one has to add “a top-up” ON TOP of the goodybag. I say “rip off” because the only saving grace between the package I am on now and giffgaff is the fact that I am tied into a contract for a year, other than that my current package with T-Mobile gives me 500 minutes, 600 text and unlimited Internet (1GB limit as per acceptable use policy) and all for £15/month with the option to bolt on extras per month, which is a better deal than giffgaff are offering.

edited 07/06/2010: I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Perhaps I have totally misunderstood giffgaff. I have posted a similar question on twitter to @giffgaff and you are welcome to comment on my post or in twitter: @lookatbowen

note: screenshots were taken using my own screen grabbing software from the website and are used as reference purposes only.