Questions of cash: Beware mobile cashback siren calls

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; cash@independent.co.uk.



Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Sport
Mario Balotelli posed for this selfie during AC Milan's 5-1 defeat to Manchester City
sport
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Sport
sport
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

    Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

    .NET Software Developer (.NET, C#, ASP.NET, front-end)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

    C# Web developer (C#,MVC,ASP.NET,SQL)

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# Web d...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried