Jes­sica in­ves­ti­gates

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

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - READERS’ LETTERS -

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.”

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