Q. I went into a Carphone Warehouse shop and requested a Vodafone micro SIM to use with my iPad, at a cost of £3 per month. I had to provide my personal details and apply for an account with Vodafone. I was then told I had been refused. When I asked what I should do, the shop gave me a web address to contact – creditexpert.co.uk – for a 30-day, free trial period. I saw my report, which shows that I have a good record. It also shows that Vodafone has seen it. It does not explain why I have been refused credit. What can I do? ID, London.
A. Micro SIMs are new format SIM cards that are smaller than the chips we have become used to in our mobile phones. They are compatible with iPads and iPhones. You were understandably offended when your application for one, involving a very small credit account, was rejected by Vodafone. You were also unclear about why this should have happened. We shared your surprise when we looked at you credit record – which was perfect, in the sense that you are on the electoral register, you have a long history of living at your address and there has never been any query about either your earnings – which are more than sufficient to support a very large credit account – or your payment history.
Having satisfied ourselves that your credit record is excellent, we challenged Vodafone regarding the reason for its rejection of your application – and the explanation is that there was a misunderstanding. Vodafone explains: "The application was received as a request for a laptop and was failed on [the] score – our credit requirements for laptops are understandably higher than they are for SIM-only applications."
If you reapply, either direct to Vodafone or via Carphone Warehouse, your application for a SIM-only account will be approved. The criteria for an application that includes the supply of a laptop is based, in part, on a person's history of managing credit accounts. You do not have a recent history of credit accounts and so your application was rejected. Vodafone apologises for the inconvenience.
Q. I cancelled my internet and phone account with Virgin Media in September. Shortly afterwards I received a call from Virgin Media offering me a free month. I said yes because I thought this was a chance to evaluate the service. What Virgin Media did not tell me was that it was cancelling my service cancellation.
I assumed Virgin Media would switch-off the account at the end of that month. Now I am still receiving bills, because I have to serve a new cancellation period and have also been charged a £10 late-payment penalty because I discontinued my direct debit as I thought the account had been cancelled. WS, Edinburgh.
A. Virgin Media points out it took you two months to inform the company that the service had not been disconnected as requested. However, it has agreed as a gesture of goodwill to refund your monthly standing charges for the period from 26 October to 9 January, when the new cancellation period expired: a total of £67.93.
Q. My friend paid £200 as a deposit for a new kitchen for his daughter after seeing an advertisement in a newspaper. He had the company, Kitchens 4 Less in Doncaster, call round to take the measurements. He has a receipt and been promised a refund, but no money has been repaid. JS, Belfast.
A. The phone number you supplied us with rings as unobtainable. There is not a company of that name listed in directory enquiries. There is no current listing in Doncaster's online business directories. There is no website that we could find operating in the name of the company, nor of any other business listed at the address you supplied. In short, we can find no evidence that the company is still trading.
Whether your friend can recover his money may depend on how he paid his deposit. Did he use a credit card or a Visa debit card? If so, the card issuer will accept joint liability for the failure of the trader to perform the contracted supply. There is also the chance that if the supplier was a self-employed person and not a limited liability company, your friend might be able to take action through the Small Claims Court.
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