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
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
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

    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 ...

    Business Analyst - Banking - Scotland - £380-£480

    £380 - £480 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - Edinburgh - £380 - ...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn