Questions of Cash: EE overbilled me, then called in a debt collection agency


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The Independent Online

Q. I have been a customer with Orange, now called EE, for two years, since signing up for an iPhone 4. The contract was for one gigabyte of data, but I have been consistently charged for any use over 750 megabytes. I have sent Orange/EE proof of my contract details by fax, but I have not received a response.

My wife has a SIM-only contract with EE, which has also been overcharged; in one instance she was billed £220 and payment collected by direct debit. I was advised to cancel the direct debit, which I did. I have since been billed for non-payment of debt, which I have paid because the service was discontinued. I have phoned Orange at least 20 times requesting details of the bills, but I have still not received this information. The debt is now is with a debt recovery agent for collection. The damage to my credit profile will affect my proposed mortgage application.. DD, Hampshire.

A. We share your frustration. We have been in repeated contact with EE, which appears to have resolved the problems – but has failed, despite numerous requests, to provide an explanation. Despite this, the matter has been resolved. You tell us that you are very happy with the result: "All debt wiped and credit file will be updated – thanks for your assurance."

Trouble amending car hire contract

Q. When booking a hire car with Sixt I probably rushed the form and made a mistake. I realised when checking my booking that I had not, as I thought, bought the collision damage waiver (CDW) option, but third-party insurance only. The small print says I can correct mistakes at no charge if the corrections are made within 48 hours. I knew I would have to pay for the CDW that I had failed to spot was not included in the Sixt price.

It was, though, in the other car hire companies' quotes. I also noticed that rather than the 10 per cent discount available for teachers like myself, only 5 per cent had been deducted. When I raised this with Sixt I was told I would have to pay £121 for a week's insurance, rather than the £27 that should have been due, as my amendment was later than my booking – even though it was within 48 hours. I was told the teachers' discount was "up to 10 per cent". I sent Sixt a copy of the voucher to show this was not the case, but they would not budge. CB, Surrey.

A. Gary Coughlan, social media manager of Sixt, responds: "We understand that [the reader] made a mistake on the booking screen when she initially placed her reservation without CDW and noticed this when she received the confirmation. Our first reaction should have been to change the booking to include the online rate for the CDW. This is where we got it wrong in what would normally have been a seamless customer experience. We will review our decision process to ensure that the right decision is reached in the first instance should this query come up again.

We created special coupons with up to 10 per cent discount available for anyone who works in some of our country's key public sector roles – for example, police officers, in the fire brigade, MoD, teachers and NHS employees. This special price is only available for rentals in the UK and US, which is clearly detailed on the coupon page. [The reader's] booking was in France and therefore would not attract the special price. Our online team will review the wording and update our website where necessary. We are pleased to confirm that a replacement booking that includes CDW has now been placed with a significant saving on the original quotation."

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