Questions of Cash: Mobile firm sorry for giving RAF officer the runaround

 

Q. I started a 24-month mobile phone contract with T-Mobile, now part of EE, in January 2012. I am a serving officer in the RAF, so before agreeing the contract I asked whether I would be able to suspend the contract and monthly bills when I was deployed away from the UK and unable to use the mobile. I was promised this was possible. The period of suspension would be added on to the end of the contract, so I would still pay for a full 24 months. I agreed the contract on this basis.

I am now about to deploy away for four months serving my country. But when I spoke to the EE call centre, I was told it was impossible to suspend the contract and this never had been possible. I requested a manager to return my calls, but no one has done so. I went back to the store where I signed the contract and was again told the suspension was possible. I phoned the call centre again, but it is still not returning my calls. I am out of pocket and spending my last days before leaving trying to sort out a mobile phone contract. KT, Shrewsbury.

A. This is now resolved satisfactorily, with the contract suspended for the duration of your service overseas. A spokesman for EE says: "The account has been frozen from the date originally requested. We have offered to waive line rental for three months from the reactivation date as a gesture of goodwill. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Q. My friend went on a P&O Cruises liner, the Aurora, in late summer aged 91 and fit. While he was there, he contracted norovirus, spent three days in the liner's medical centre and was given a bill for treatment of £1,700. P&O Cruises insisted he pay before he left the ship. Nor could they provide a wheelchair for him to disembark: passengers had to assist him off and in doing so destroyed his expensive suitcase. Yet when there was a norovirus outbreak on another P&O Cruises ship, the Oriana, the company agreed to meet the medical expenses for about 400 passengers afflicted. P&O Cruises refuses to provide any recompense. JC, Portsmouth.

A. P&O Cruises has reviewed this and refuses to change its position. A spokeswoman says: "Any passengers who require medical treatment on board our ships are charged accordingly as a matter of course. Having said that, it would be fair to say that we did take a different approach during cruise X221 on the Oriana due to the unusual situation that developed [where there was a major outbreak of norovirus]. However, as this was an isolated incident in [the reader's friend's] case, we would not be able to retrospectively adjust the charges that may have been imposed on passengers previously." P&O Cruises is not connected to P&O Ferries: the companies demerged in 2000.

Q. I own a second home in Edinburgh, where gas and electricity are supplied by Npower. On 4 January I received a letter from Npower regretting that I was moving to another supplier. I phoned Npower to deny this and was told that Co-operative Energy had informed them that it was to supply my electricity from 17 January. I had never heard of Co-operative Energy and certainly did not have any contact with them.

Npower advised me to contact Co-operative Energy to find out my meter point administration number or supply number, which I should then pass on to Npower to cancel the proposed transfer. Npower was to then confirm in writing that it would continue to supply my energy. I did not receive this letter, but assumed everything had been resolved.

But then I received a final electricity bill from Npower, repeating they were sorry to lose me. I phoned them again and was told that Co-operative Energy was already supplying electricity to my property, despite my insistence that I did not want this. I am concerned that the change of supplier was able to take place without my authorisation or any contact with me. HC, London.

A. Npower says it is "not at fault here at all … Co-op[erative Energy] took over [the reader's] supply without our or the customer's consent. We have put things right for the customer – switching can take up to six weeks either way. We'll bill the account as if she never left and her direct debit discount will not be affected."

A spokesman for Co-operative Energy said: "[This] property was a flat. We incorrectly registered meters at [the reader's] flat instead of a neighbour, who had requested to switch to Co-operative Energy. This is quite a frequent occurrence in the energy industry, particularly with flats as the numbering can sometimes be complex. An erroneous transfer process was initiated to return the meters back to the original supplier as soon as this was raised by the customer. The customer has received a full explanation and apology."

Q. I booked a medium sized car from Alamo to collect at Sarasota airport [in Florida], to fit two large adults, two medium sized adults and one small adult, plus one large bag and one small bag. I expected to pick up a Chevrolet Aveo or similar, but on arrival I was instead given a Fiat 500 and had to pay for an upgrade. While the Aveo has five seats, the 500 has four seats and is not "similar". Alamo has since changed its online descriptions of these cars to include them in different categories. I have been unable to obtain any reply to my complaints. PE, by email.

A. We raised the matter with Alamo in the United States – the Alamo brand in the UK is operated by a different business. We have been unable to obtain a statement from Alamo in the US, but the company promptly resolved your complaint upon our intervention. It sent you a suitable apology, accepted your complaint was reasonable and refunded you with $274.38.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
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

    PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

    £350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

    Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

    Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

    Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

    £475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game