Questions Of Cash: Mobile thief dialled up £1,700 bill – and I've got to pay half

 

Q. I lost my mobile phone on Sunday 11 March. I expected to find it, so only called Orange asking it to block calls on the Tuesday. I was then told the phone had been used by someone else to run up a bill of £1,700. Orange insists that I pay this because I had not reported the loss within 24 hours.

I was unaware that the contract said I had to do this. I have written to Orange several times, unsuccessfully. Surely Orange should bar a mobile phone when the costs reach a certain point? This bill would take me seven years to accumulate on my usual usage. BS, London.

A. Orange has agreed to waive half the bill, but refuses to do more. A spokeswoman for Orange says: "While we hope to be able to resolve the majority of cases, it is the customer's responsibility to tell us as soon as their phone has gone missing. Only then can we prevent calls being charged to their account. This position is consistent across the industry and is in line with British law. In this particular case, the customer took over 48 hours to report the phone stolen. We also advise customers to treat their phones like they would their wallets and to make full use of the phone security PIN on their handset to protect their personal information and help prevent unauthorised use."

She adds that the company uses fraud prevention measures and is often able to detect a theft before a customer is aware of it. Presumably those measures did not pick up the theft and fraud in this instance!

Orange says that its offer to meet half the cost is "a suitable and fair resolution". You don't agree, and you may wish to complain to CISAS, the telecoms ombudsman scheme to which Orange subscribes. The CISAS phone number is 020 7520 3827.

Q. I took out a car insurance policy in February with eCar, via the GoCompare website. I had looked at car insurance quotations on GoCompare on 28 January. The quotation given by eCar was £479 with a nil excess. Based on this, I accepted and paid £479. When the documents arrived in the post two days later, the total excess was shown as £250 and not £0. I contacted eCar on 3 February to point out the discrepancy and ask that it alter my policy accordingly.

ECar replied that it never offers an excess of less than £250 to new customers and that, even if I had selected a £0 voluntary excess, a £250 compulsory excess would still apply on the policy. This was not made clear at the point of purchase. Under contract law, it is eCar's responsibility to ensure that GoCompare advertises the product accurately.

When I attempted to cancel the policy online, I was informed that the action could not be performed and I had to phone eCar. When I did so I was told that I would be charged a £75 cancellation fee and a £15 GoCompare administration fee. I could not afford to lose that much, so I felt trapped into continuing with the policy.

At no point was I informed that I was still within the 14-day cooling-off period and should have been able to secure a full refund. On 13 February, I posted documentation to eCar to validate the policy, some of which it lost. I had to resend documentation by fax, which it could not read. The underwriter refused to approve the policy, so I decided I had to cancel the policy.

When I phoned to say this, I was asked for details of my previous insurer, who was contacted, enabling the policy to be approved. By this time, I was very dissatisfied with eCar and decided to proceed with cancelling the policy. I have received a refund of £310.60 but by my calculations this should be £447.56 – so I am owed £136.96. MH, Oxfordshire.

A. We contacted both GoCompare and eCar. GoCompare's Anders Nilsson says: "We've looked into the customer's car insurance comparison results and can confirm that the quote provided by eCar did display a total excess of £0. ECar has confirmed that this was an error on its part and that this excess should have been honoured by the insurer." Karl Ellis of eCar explains: "It would appear that due to a system fault we advised GoCompare that [the reader's] excess would be £0. This error was identified at the time and corrected, with only a small number of customers receiving quotes that were affected ... As a gesture of goodwill, we have waived any cancellation fees and have issued a full refund."

GoCompare's Nilsson adds: "The '£15 Gocompare.com administration fee' that the customer mentions is not a charge that we levy, nor one that any of our partners should be imposing on our customers, and we have never come across such a charge being made before."

Q. I have received correspondence from companies promising to act on my behalf to get compensation for the mis-selling of PPI. I have never knowingly taken out PPI, but they have informed me it can be hidden within loans and credit cards. It seems too good to be true. BT, Derry.

A. Some claims management companies are writing, emailing and texting people in the hope that some will have taken out PPI –payment protection insurance – policies that have been mis-sold.It is unlikely that the companies contacting you have any detailed knowledge of your circumstances, or whether you have been mis-sold PPI.

You should check your financial products such as mortgage, personal loans and credit cards to see whether you have taken out a PPI policy and, if so, whether it was mis-sold. If it was, you should consider pursuing the matter yourself. Putting in a mis-selling claim is simple, and there is detailed guidance on the Which? website, www.which.co.uk. Claims management companies charge as much as 25 per cent of recovered premiums.

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

News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
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

    Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

    £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

    Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

    £75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

    Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

    £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

    Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

    £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?