Questions Of Cash: Mobile phone charges just didn't ring true
Saturday 20 August 2011
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.
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?
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bargain Hunter: Comparethemarket.com launches two-for-one cinema tickets offer
Are finance apps stealing your personal data?
Help to Buy Isa Q&A: Are they real help for first-time buyers or simply a vote-winner for the 2020 election?
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
How to make the most of Isas: You can save more money now, the returns are tax-free and the rules are flexible
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Council tenant wins right not to be sent to Milton Keynes
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen within th...
£50000 - £63000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / D...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Applicants must hold a valid SIA Door Su...
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - The C...
Day In a Page
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station
A Grade II-listed home with six bedrooms, secluded landscaped gardens and views across Hadley Green