Questions of Cash: Fujitsu docked me £1,000 for training I did not receive


Q. I started work for Fujitsu in March this year as a trainee installation technician, installing broadband, TV and phone lines. I was told there would be two parts to the installation – outside work and running the cable into a customer's property. One person does the outside work and a second person the inside work.

I was supposed to be trained to do the outside job and after assessment would be teamed up with a qualified technician. Eventually I would be moved to doing the inside job and a new trainee would do the outside job. After three months I would be qualified and moved on to template pay, which is a price-per-job and good money. We were put on £60 a day for training, for a 45-hour week.

The first two weeks involved watching a qualified team at work. Then I was sent on a week's training, but the trainer apologised as he did not have much equipment and the course was cut short. In the second month, I was again sent on a training course with no equipment. We watched slide shows instead of doing practical training. The trainees were then paid for the first time and everyone's wages were wrong. I received £58 for the month and most of the qualified guys had not been paid for jobs they had done.

I did a few more weeks of working with another trainee, mostly pulling cables underground. Then I was sent out with a trainee and told to do the inside job, for which I had never been trained and without the right equipment. In July I was told I would be put on to a price-per-job, but without proper training we could only do three or four jobs a day, so we would not get the day rate of £60. My manager agreed we could stay on the trainee rate for another month, but I said that if I was sent out with a qualified technician – as was supposed to happen – I would be fast enough to earn proper money. I was told this was not going to happen, so I resigned.

My contract stated that if I left in the first six months I would be liable to have £1,000 deducted from my wages to cover the cost of training, which was docked when I left. But I dispute this charge as I did not have the agreed training. DS, Manchester.

A. A Fujitsu spokesman says: "We have been in contact with [the reader] and in his case we have confirmed that he did not receive the normal six-week training as [we] were trialling, due to unprecedented customer demand, a one-week training programme, which gave the trainees the competency to undertake one specific skill set, rather than the full technical installation programme.

This was not picked up as part of [the reader's] leaving checks and the full deduction was processed. We have apologised and told him the full amount will be refunded."

In-flight purchase left me with a bumpy ride

Q. I bought duty-free items on a flight back from holiday. There was a problem with the credit card machine and several times our card was "declined". I tried three cards until our payment went through. Once back, I found that the amount was taken twice from one of my accounts and one time from another account. I informed the company, which refunded one of the payments but not the amount taken from the other account. The final letter states it has "no trace of a transaction" and I should take up the issue with my bank. MS, by email

A. We went straight to your card issuer, Smile, where a spokesman says: "Now [the reader] has provided us with information which appears to show [the airline's] duplicated transaction, we have charged the transaction back to the company and refunded the amount to her Smile account." The airline has written to you to apologise.