Questions of Cash: You can talk on Skype but it's a different matter talking to it


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The Independent Online

Q. Skype has blocked my account, which means I can no longer use its PC-to-landline calling facility, despite having approximately $45 credit.

I realised the account was blocked on 7 December and since then Skype has played cat and mouse with me, advising that it has to go through strict security procedures in order to validate my personal profile. I had to complete the same lengthy verification form three times!

I have requested a refund of the credit in the account, but this was ignored, as also was asking for the reason why the account was closed in the first place. Skype can't be contracted by email. RW, Poole.

A. For a communications company, Skype is oddly hard to contact. We tried twice by email, without any reply. As it was acquired by Microsoft in 2011, we decided to try the parent company – and success.

Soon after we contacted Microsoft, you emailed us to say that, without explanation, your service block had been removed. We eventually obtained a response from Skype. Its largely irrelevant comment was: "Our customer service team responds to all queries within 24 hours. In order to resolve an issue, customers will be asked to verify their account … Doing so as soon as our customer service team provides a verification form ensures any account queries can be addressed without delay."

So we are all in the dark about what happened – but at least you can Skype again.

Q. I have had at least one mobile phone on the Orange network continuously since 1999, and an email account since 2004. After Orange merged with T-Mobile to become EE, it announced that the new group would be "upgrading" its online services.

Since EE's upgrade, I have been unable to access either my account or my Orange mobile account online. I rang its customer services number to complain about this in January last year. The woman in India to whom I spoke told me this was a known problem for a lot of accounts, and that EE was in the process of fixing all the ones affected. She then asked me to "wait two weeks and try again". I did as she suggested.

After six weeks I got sick of waiting. In March I rang again and was put through to "technical services". I was told there was no problem with my account and the problem was entirely with the website – and it would persist until May.

In April I complained about this and the fact that I was getting spam texts from a company demanding £1.50 to opt out of receiving them – and wanted to know how much it was costing me to receive the texts. EE responded with a letter that failed to address any of the issues raised and told me I could check my account by ringing customer services. Doing so would cost me money, and it would not tell me how much I had been charged for receiving a spam text.

EE has still not fixed the fault on the website. I also tried complaining via Twitter, but that got nowhere. PR, Staffordshire.

A. EE suggests you use an alternative web address ( to retrieve your Orange emails. It has also confirmed that you have not been charged for the spam. It did not provide an explanation for its continued service failures.

Q. I have had difficulties in closing my Scottish Power account. We eventually managed to do this, with your help, but we're still owed £353.05. It keeps promising to a refund, but fails to do so. KY, Yorkshire.

A. This is quite a saga of delays and failures. Scottish Power has finally repaid you the outstanding balance, which it calculates as £237.47, and it is also sending you a goodwill payment of £75.

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