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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71141
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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In 2010 my Grandad took out a mobile phone contact for me as

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In 2010 my Grandad took out a mobile phone contact for me as a means of helping me through university. My university course is 4 years long and is due to be completed in August of this year. My Grandad clearly stated to me that he wanted the mobile contract to last through the whole of university. This was however a verbal agreement and there is no record of it.

Now my Grandad is in the late stages of Alzheimers and is no longer in a position to take care of his own finances or able to communicate.

In Dec 2013, I renewed the mobile phone contract for myself on his behalf. To do this, I went into the phone store and impersonated him and signed his signature on the mobile phone contract renewal documents. I had done this on previous occasions with his authorisation, however on this occasion I did not have his authorisation as he was not able to communicate. The only authorisation I had, was that in 2010 he told me that he wanted the phone contract to last 4 years.

Am I correct in thinking that with or without his authorisation, I'd committed fraud?

Am I liable for fraud? Have I broken the law? In terms of punishment that I would likely face, what would be the best and worst case scenarios?

I'm asking this as other family members in dealing with his finances have realised that a phone contract was taken out for me. They feel that I've defrauded him and are considering their options.


Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

I suspect you know what my answer would be! I'm afraid that this is fraud. There's no way around it.

You will find the offence here

And whichever way you look at it this was a false representation.

Even with his authorisation, you were still deceiving the store staff by impersonating him.

You could always try to argue that you didn't intend to cause loss to another or gain for yourself but on the occasion you didn't have his authority you clearly would have intended this I'm afraid.

It is very difficult for them to prove anything though if he is not able to give evidence against you.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your advice.


Members of my family have stolen equipment off me worth around £2,000. I am reluctant to involve the police in getting the equipment back as I'm afraid they will try to have me charged for fraud for renewing the mobile phone contract.


Is my best option simply to let them have the equipment? What kind of punishment would I receive? What are the worst and best case scenarios in terms of punishments I could recieve?

Yes and I can always understand not wanting to get the police involved in a family dispute.

Is this a family where the police are regularly called?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, however in this case, as the family is very angry at me for the mobile phone contract they will not return my equipment at all unless they are legally forced to do so.


I could involve the police and have my equipment returned. However I believe that if I do this, they will try and press charges for fraud against me, for unlawfully impersonating my Granddad.


Obviously, I would rather forget about the equipment and let them have it than have a criminal conviction.


My question is therefore whether I would be likely to receive a criminal conviction for the mobile phone fraud and if so, what sort of sentence I would receive. (I have never been convicted in the past)



Well, that would give them motiviation.

It is very difficult because the quickest way to get arrested yourself is to go round making allegations against other people thereby creating a reason for them to want to get back at you.

You would receive a criminal record.

The sentence is very difficult because its a first offence and the loss is not huge but its a big breach of trust and he was vulnerable at the time. Its one of those things that could go either way. I've seen people receive cautions at the police station for things like this which should be impossible on the case law but it happened. Equally though, I've seen people only narrowly avoid custody basically because they had bad luck and met with the wrong Judge.

Most likely, you would not get a caution. You would probably be charged. At Court there is then the problem of what to do with you essentially because I suspect this is something entirely out of character so you don't have the usual drugs or alcohol additions. The truth is that you would probably end up on an unpaid work order. Probation may suggest something like a think first course but its not really appropriate here.