Belfast Telegraph

Monday 3 August 2015

Mobile phone row may be taken to ombudsman

By Paul Gosling

Published 28/05/2012 | 08:00

Question: I entered into a two-year contract for a mobile phone service with Virgin Media in October 2011. Just a month into the contract, Virgin Media suspended my service without any formal or informal communication.

I only realised that my service was suspended through the voice mail when I was trying to make a call to my wife in an emergency.

I then made contact with Virgin Media to seek an explanation as to why the service was suspended. No clear explanation was given.

The person I spoke to refused to discuss the matter.

I then told him that if this was not resolved imminently the only option for me was to cancel the direct debit.

I made several attempts to get clarity and I spoke again with another employee of Virgin Media, who agreed to cancel the contract and start afresh to amend their mistake of including my wife's details on the account. We spoke for 50 minutes.

Despite all this, nothing has been resolved so I was left without any option besides cancelling my direct debit for a service I was not receiving. I have a wife and children and other social and business networks to communicate with and cannot live without a phone.

Virgin Media breached the contract with me by not honouring their commitment. In doing so, they ruined my relationship with my previous provider, who I was with for seven years.

Now they are demanding payment of £781.43. CM

Answer: There is a serious disagreement between you and Virgin Media about the key facts. Specifically, Virgin Media denies that you ever opened an account with it in your name.

Virgin Media insists that the account was in your wife's name and that only she is able to discuss the matter with them, as required by the Data Protection Act.

Virgin Media states that the account was not cancelled, but was suspended when the agreed direct debit payment was cancelled.

Its records show a large bill in your wife's name that has been outstanding for several months, while you still have a phone that was supplied by them, which is worth around £400.

You reject Virgin Media's explanation of events, but we are unable to do anything more unless your wife authorises us to do so.

Given this impasse, we suggest that you or your wife lodge a complaint with the ombudsman's scheme to which Virgin Media belongs, Otelo, the Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman. It can be contacted on 0845 050 1614.

Question: I have an internet savings account with Tesco Bank, paying interest at 2.9% until this month's first anniversary. I have received a letter from the bank saying: "As a loyal Internet Saver customer, here's something to say thank you." The rate from May 2012 will be 2.4%.

The advertised rate for new customers is 2.8%.

For existing customers, this can only be achieved by closing one account and opening a new one, in spite of the letter saying "so you don't need to worry about arranging anything.

What could be easier?" PM

Answer: It seems to get the best rate at a Tesco account, consumers have to go to a bit of effort.

A spokesman for the bank says: "So that Tesco savers don't fall on to an underlying rate we automatically give all Internet Saver customers a new annual bonus.

"At any time a customer can open and transfer their funds to a new Internet Saver and we've explained this to [the reader].

"However, on this occasion our customer has chosen not to do so."

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