Questions Of Cash: Mobile phone charges just didn't ring true


Q. I am an engineering student on work placement. I am on a £20-a-month mobile phone plan with Three, entitling me to an internet allowance capped at 2GB. I moved house in April, forcing me to rely on the mobile as a wireless tether for wifi connections on my computer. But without me instructing it to do so, my phone shared the internet connection provided by my network operator with my computer.

Consequently, Three sent me two messages within 15 minutes – the first stating that I was close to my limit and the second that I had exceeded my limit and been charged £32 for this. I was appalled at having to pay £32 for 15 minutes of use, so I called Three the next day. Three merely said the charges were in line with the payment plan.

Eventually, they agreed to bring forward my internet allowances for the next month by three days and waive half the excess internet charges levied. But this did not happen and I was charged again for exceeding my allowance. Now Three is chasing me for payment of £102. I don't understand how it can justify these charges when the internet allowance element of my contract costs only £5 a month.

AK, London.

A. Just after you contacted us, you left your handset on a train and were being chased for a bill of over £100 for a phone that you could no longer use. At our suggestion, you immediately informed Three to put a stop on any calls being made from the handset. You tell us that the matter of the outstanding bill has now been satisfactorily resolved by Three: it apparently told you that it was waiving any charges in this instance.

Q. In April, I asked TalkTalk to upgrade my account to TalkTalk Plus, taking advantage of a special offer. I was told that I would benefit from a six-month half-price offer for renewing my contract in addition to the upgrade. I was to hear from TalkTalk within a week with confirmation. But when I heard nothing after a week I contacted TalkTalk again, to find it had no record of my previous order. I then re-ordered, but again heard nothing.

At the end of April I was told "there had been a delay in activation of the contract renewal". On 13 May I received a call from TalkTalk to advise that my account could not be upgraded as "changes were being made to the account". I complained to the company's chief executive on 27 May and received a reply saying that the matter had been escalated on 13 May and that I should wait 28 days for it to be resolved. When this did not happen, I wrote another letter to the chief executive and on 12 July received a reply asking for my name, address and account details. How hard can it be to upgrade?

JC, Lancashire.

A. TalkTalk apologises for your difficulties, which were caused by what it calls a "systems error". Your account has now been upgraded to TalkTalk Plus.

Q. My daughter has just left university. While a student she had access to the internet and TV from Virgin Media. She started the contract in September 2009, renewed it in September 2010 for a year – and cancelled it when she left university on 6 June this year. Virgin now demands a £44.99 cancellation fee. This seems excessive. We have been unsuccessful in our attempts to talk to Virgin Media at its stores, which say they cannot help. When we did speak to them on the phone we were promised a new bill to specify the charges, but this did not arrive.

BC, Somerset.

A. Virgin Media tells us the £44.99 is the account balance comprising the last service bill, which was not paid, plus a contract cancellation fee, as laid down in the contract. The company argues the bill is correct. A spokesman adds that contract termination fees "are regulated by Ofcom and are standard across all contract-based continuous service providers". We checked this with Ofcom, which advised us that Virgin Media – along with BT and TalkTalk – agreed to reduce its contract termination fees last year. Virgin Media's lower fees were adopted in October and November. Termination charges for its common broadband and phone package that had been £29.99 were reduced to a more reasonable £4.63.

Q. With assistance from Questions of Cash (9 April, 2011), I obtained a refund from Ryanair for costs incurred as a result of a flight cancellation caused by the volcanic ash. I have eventually obtained a statement explaining which parts of my claim had been accepted. It turns out that Ryanair rejected approximately €100 of our claim in respect of two meals on the basis that we could only supply credit card vouchers rather than receipts. Yet we have demonstrated that we incurred the expenditure in two restaurants.

RR, Co. Tyrone.

A. Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara responds: "The EU261 guidelines are quite clear in requiring 'receipts' and not simply credit card payment slips, which are not receipts. Since we have already refunded €796 of this passenger's €980 claim, with just €94.20 disallowed for non-receipts, we have more than met our obligations."

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Email us at: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk.

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

News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Audit Manager Central Functions

    To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

    Credit Risk Audit Manager

    Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week