3 WANT TO CHARGE ME FOR UNLOCKING MY LG KU990I WHICH IS NOW OUT OF CONTRACT. IS THIS RIGHT - TO CHARGE WHEN THE PHONE IS NOW EFFECTIVELY MINE TO DO WITH AS I WISH?
The contract that was set between you and 3 was for the usage of the telephone company's services, the handset was given to you, to use for the duration of the contract, which is locked to 3.
If you have completed your contract, it only means the contract with 3 for the services is finished and that the phone still is locked to 3.
Check the 3 website, it says "If you want to unlock your handset, a fee may apply. The amount of the fee will depend upon whether you are a Pre-Paid or Post-Paid customer and what plan you are currently on".
So legally, 3 can charge you if you want to unlock your phone, even if it is out of contract, since you have agreed to the contract and T&A set out within.
It's up to you to either pay 3's agreed unlocking price for the handset or go to another mobile phone repair shop and try to get a cheaper price.
Unfortunately 3 seems to be the only service provider that is a bit extreme and unfair with their post paid handsets. I know that from previous experience, other service providers gladly unlock their handsets for free after the contract is finished or even during the course of the contract (usually free after 6 months through the contract).
Hope I have been of any help/assistance to you,