Questions of cash: Beware mobile cashback siren calls
Saturday 22 March 2008
Q. In February last year, I agreed to an "Automatic Cash Redemption Tariff" with O2, which was sold to me by Carphone Warehouse. The terms were that half my monthly bill, on a £25 monthly tariff, would be refunded every four months if I kept to the terms of the agreement, paying in full every month. My bill is paid by direct debit and has always been paid in full. I did not receive any documentation about the offer and I made several telephone calls trying to claim the cash back, but received conflicting advice. Letters and emails I sent have not been answered. Ofcom tells me that the problem is not uncommon. How can I get this settled? MT, Chessington.
After our intervention, Carphone Warehouse has now settled the refund in full, having eventually provided you with clear information on how to claim.
Q. In March last year,I entered into two mobile phone contracts with Simply3G. I was promised a full cashback deal on two contracts of £35 a month, with 3 as the network provider. I paid promptly every month and sent back the bills to claim the cashbacks in September, November and January. I received an email promising early payment, and then I was told that the cheques must have been lost in the post and would be reissued. Then I range again to find that the phone lines were no longer operative. Looking on the internet, it seems that Simply3G owes a lot of people money. JP, by email.
Your concerns are justified. Since you wrote to us, Simply Communications UK Ltd – which traded as Simply3G – has called in interim liquidators to close down the company. Customers owed money through cashback offers should send claims to the liquidators, Meston Reid & Co in Aberdeen, using a form on the website (www.simply3g.co.uk). It is unlikely that claims will be met in full, although the liquidators say there are assets and a continuing income – but if all customers due cashback claim, the debts would be "huge". Mobile phone cashback deals are a constant problem for consumers, not least because several small retailers have gone bust without meeting their cashback liabilities. Network providers are not liable for the guarantees entered into by the retailers, and we've never come across an occasion where they have met the cashback promises made by retailers to sign up customers. It is sensible only to use mobile phone retailers likely to be around for a while; usually, that means using the larger companies and avoiding the small retailers who operate only on the internet.
Q. In April last year, I closed my Alliance & Leicester account. I destroyed my unused card, unused chequebook and all log-on details as instructed. But in December, I was contacted by A&L to say I was £89.38 overdrawn. I tried to find out why, but couldn't as I no longer had the necessary PIN to talk to anyone at the bank. I went to my branch to complain and was told that unless I cleared the balance shown, I would pay an additional £5 fee per day. Very reluctantly, I paid off what was now a £140 overdraft and lodged a complaint. I was told I would hear within eight working days. Instead, in January I received a letter saying A&L was closing my account. Phone calls were not returned. In February, I had a letter of apology, saying it was enclosing £25, which was not enclosed, and saying that £79.29 would be refunded – but as I no longer have an account with A&L, I don't know where this has gone. I want a refund of the £140 and compensation for amazingly poor customer service. MB, Winchester.
A&L accepts you did request account closure in April and that your request was ignored owing to "human error". This led to an "under funding fee" being applied, which is charged when a Premier Current Account contains less than £500. This led to the account being shown as overdrawn and further charges being applied. When you made the £140 payment, this actually took your account balance to £50.65 in credit. But further fees were then applied – even though A&L wrote to you to say it was closing your account. These, in turn, led to a new set of under funding fees of £125 being applied. By now, the balance was £79.29 overdrawn, which is the sum that was credited to your account. However, the credited sum was also wrong, as it failed to take into account the £140 you paid into your account in order to, as you thought, clear it and close it. Alliance & Leicester is now sending you a cheque for £215, representing that £140, the £25 that was promised but not paid, and another £50 as a gesture of goodwill. Words fail us.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debt in Britain: Numbers seeking help on how to cope with mounting bills goes up by more than half in three years
Bargain Hunter: BT improves its mobile reception with 'incredibly competitive' deals
Questions of Cash: Why was my case ignored by My Civil Service Pension?
Offset your mortgage and save thousands
Simon Read: 'It went below the radar but you could be eligible for a tax break on your savings'
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
Day In a Page
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station