Many readers complain that the financial institutions that are keen to take their money are less willing to answer legitimate questions. Jessica Gorst-Williams is here to help
Vodafone charged £1,000 too much
Vodafone called me to say I was entitled to an early upgrade on my existing phone contract.
I agreed to this and was told the £69 handset cost would be waived. The phone was to be couriered the next day as it was in stock.
It did not arrive and I called to check whether it had gone to the wrong place. At this point I was told that it was out of stock and would be delivered soon.
When I received my monthly bill, I had been charged £1,003 for an unspecified item. I called Vodafone immediately and was told that it was amistake.
My Vodafone account would be adjusted within five days. I was assured that my bank account would definitely not have this amount debited from it.
Just over a week later my current Sim card was deactivated by Vodafone. I had to go to a Vodafone store for a new one.
I did not receive the new phone until almost five weeks after I had been promised it would come by next-day delivery.
The same day my bank account was debited with £1,041, which included the overcharged amount of £1,003. SP, ESSEX
You called and were again told it was a mistake and the refund request would be sent to the back office and you would receive the money within 24 hours.
You also registered a complaint.
The refund, I understand, was raised on the system the day before you wrote to me.
Only further to that did Vodafone apologise for the wrong charge that had been placed on your account.
It also explained that there had been a delay in receiving stocks of the phone you wanted from the manufacturer. After I spoke to Vodafone, the company added a credit equivalent to three months’ line rental, or £87, to your account.
Vodafone accepts that it should have dealt with this sooner.
There does seem at last to be some good news from the company. I understand that upgrades to its My Vodafone app a couple of months ago have made it easier for customers to track their usage.
It has also significantly improved its billing format, which means assessing the way monthly charges have been calculated should be much easier.
Vodafone says that following investment in customer service improvements, there has been a 30 per cent drop in the number of calls to its contact centres. It says this is about 20,000 fewer calls per day since the beginning of the year.
The company says it is beginning to see the early benefits, with a continuing fall also in the number of complaints to Ofcom, the regulator, and to the ombudsman. As with any such announcement, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
How can I cancel regular payment?
I need to cancel a regular payment. Although I have spoken to the provider asking for it to stop, money still keeps going out of my bank account.
Have you any suggestions as to how I should proceed? KG, MANCHESTER What used to be commonly known as a continuous payment authority is now often termed a recurring payment or transaction.
These are set up by giving your card number rather than, for example, signing a direct debit mandate. The payments typically apply to gym memberships or road assistance insurance. Further consent to take money does not need to be sought once the payments are set up.
These days payments can be cancelled not only by the retailer concerned but also by the card issuer – the bank, building society or other provider of the account from which the money is taken.
Ask your bank to deal
with this for you. For more on this, and on cancelling payments made in other ways, see the-fca. org.uk and put “recurring transaction” in the search box.
Cut leads to fight for compensation
I picked a bottle of cider off the shelf in a Tesco store. It was sticky and I felt a sharp pain. It had cut my hand in two places.
I went straight to customer services, where a member of staff cleaned the blood from my palm while I sat feeling a bit shocked.
Another member of staff went to locate the bottle. He came back stating that it was covered in glass splinters and he had needed to wear gloves to remove them. The incident was recorded.
After that I was surprised to hear nothing from Tesco, so I emailed the company. Eventually someone rang and agreed that I deserved compensation. I was told to request a claim form from its solicitors. PP, SOMERSET
You already had a problem with your shoulder muscle, which meant you had to rely on the damaged hand. You couldn’t bathe for a week or wash up, which affected your normal life. The injury was also decidedly uncomfortable.
All Tesco offered was a £50 voucher. You felt that the company failed to appreciate the seriousness of the situation and its responsibility to its shoppers.
However, you say that the staff at the store were kind and helpful.
You emailed the firm’s insurer, stating that you felt the incident had been downplayed and that you were unhappy with the way it had been investigated.
You received an email in reply saying that you would hear from the company shortly, but heard nothing more.
Further to my involvement, the gift voucher amount was increased to £150, although, as you say, without acceptance of liability. You feel happy with that.
A Tesco spokesman said: “The safety of customers is extremely important to us, and we regularly check the products on our shelves to make sure they are of the highest quality.
“We have apologised to Mrs P, offered a gesture of goodwill and were pleased to hear she has made a full recovery.”