Questions Of Cash: After Vodafone's assurances, £816 bill came as a shock

 

Q. Vodafone has charged me £723.12 more for a dongle service than I expected. I was charged £816.29 for four months' use, when I expected to pay £93.16. This is despite me having checked with staff at the time of purchase that the plan suited my use – I told staff that I am a heavy user, because of BBC iPlayer, constant work use, music downloads, etc. I again checked at the end of the first month on a call to them to confirm that I was not, and would not, exceed any limits. I relied on Vodafone's staff on three occasions to correctly advise me which package I should be on for my usage and to make sure I wasn't going over any limits.

On all occasions I was advised my usage would not exceed my plan and so incur any excess charges. I even revisited the store in Camden where I had arranged the contract and was told that it would be very difficult for me to use in excess of the limit on the plan I was on. I checked my first month's bill and saw that I had been billed only £23.29 for my usage at that time. I was therefore satisfied that I was not exceeding any data limits.

I am very frustrated and annoyed as it would seem that no one at Vodafone has actually taken the time to read my letter of complaint properly, nor listened to my call, to which I referred in my correspondence. If anyone had listened to that call, the matter could have been resolved straight away. In none of the responses has Vodafone actually dealt with the points I have made and the company seems to want to palm me off with standard answers and inaccurate information from its records.

To make matters worse, I cancelled the service on 5 November, but my cancellation was not recorded; I re-sent it on 11 November; but the contract only ended on 13 January, for which I will no doubt receive extra charges. BG, London.

A. Vodafone has agreed to refund you £638.20. This represents the charges for going over the agreed usage limits from the date on which you called Vodafone's customer services centre. The amount also includes a £50 goodwill payment. A spokeswoman said: "We have contacted [the reader] to apologise for the confusion over his charges. He originally contacted us on 15 September 2011 after receiving a pop-up message telling him he had exceeded his agreed usage. Unfortunately, the adviser he spoke to made an error and only checked the usage for the current billing period from 13 September – which was fine – and not for the previous billing period, which actually showed he had exceeded agreed usage. We have agreed to waive all the charges billed after he first contacted us as we appreciate that he would not have incurred those charges if we had given him the right information. We have added a further sum in recognition of the inconvenience he has suffered."

Q. I flew with easyJet to Spain two months ago. I had a hand luggage suitcase, but whilst we were queuing for the plane, a member of staff asked if anyone would like to put their hand luggage in the hold. I volunteered my suitcase and handed it over to the easyJet staff, who scanned it in. When we landed in Spain I waited for my suitcase. It came out but when I checked inside, my wallet was missing, which included €220, and the zip handle had broken off.

I agree I was stupid to have handed over my unlocked suitcase with all my euros in it, but easyJet is a multi-national company and I should be able to hand over my belongings without fear of them being compromised. I think that easyJet are liable and should compensate me for the money that was taken and the damage to the suitcase. I reported this to the police, but they are not taking it further. I contacted easyJet several weeks ago, but I have not had a reply. JP, by email.

A. EasyJet's baggage claims department contacted you and agreed to make a refund to you shortly after we raised the matter with the airline. It is unclear whether the timing was coincidental, or the result of us raising the problem with easyJet. A spokeswoman for the airline says: "We apologise for any inconvenience or distress that [the reader] experienced and have reimbursed the €220 in full."

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

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