Customers give mobile service a poor reception
My daughter-in-law is Italian. She bought a mobile phone from a Tesco store in Nottingham. The person who sold her the phone said she could have 100 minutes of calls and unlimited texts for £10 a month, including calls to her family in Italy. She was assured her bill would not exceed £10 a month. After six weeks she received a bill for more than £40. She went back to the store, but Tesco said it could not help her - when she phoned its online support, she received the same reply. Tesco took the money straight from her bank account and she seems to have signed a contract and direct debit authorisation without realising the implications. She has since received three more bills averaging £45. When I read the contract it said that for £10 a month she could only phone friends or family in the UK, which is no good at all to her because most of her family live in Italy. It is clear that she was mis-sold the phone. Tesco has agreed this with me and she has returned the phone. But she has now received a final bill for £161.63. AH
A spokeswoman for Tesco Mobile says: "We are sorry to hear [the reader's daughter-in-law] felt she did not receive the correct information about calls that were inclusive in her monthly contract. We always advise customers to read their contract thoroughly where their tariff details are clearly outlined, before signing. As a gesture of goodwill we are closing the balance of her account without any early termination charges." Both you and your daughter-in-law are satisfied with this.
I am appalled at the service failure I have experienced from TalkTalk and its predecessor company Tiscali. For three weeks, I had no broadband service, even while I was paying for it. My correspondence with TalkTalk has not been properly answered. I had an exchange of 28 e-mails with TalkTalk: it took 12 hours of my time and 10 weeks to resolve the problem. To make matters worse, TalkTalk has offered me £30 as compensation - which costs my time at a mere £2.50 an hour. SB
We have had no more success than you have. A spokeswoman for the company says: "TalkTalk has investigated [the reader's] case and issued an offer of compensation, which [the reader] has refused. We believe this offer is fair and as agreement cannot be reached we have now issued a deadlock letter." You also forwarded to us an e-mail sent personally to you by Charles Dunstone, the chairman of both TalkTalk and CarphoneWarehouse. He wrote: "I am sure you will be unsurprised to hear that I fully support the amount of the goodwill gesture you have been offered ... and suggest you accept it. In the longer term, I suspect it would be better for all of us if you were to find an alternative supplier." Readers might not be surprised to hear that this column receives many complaints about TalkTalk and CarphoneWarehouse. We suggest you lodge a formal complaint with Otelo, the telephone ombudsman (www.otelo.org.uk).
I am having terrible problems with Barclaycard, which is damaging my health. It is demanding £4,735.17 from me using debt collectors, yet I'd previously cleared and closed my account by transferring to another credit card. Barclaycard claims I made cash withdrawals from ATMs in the UK that I've never visited, and also while on honeymoon in Thailand. I don't understand why it didn't alert me to the unusual activity on the account, and allowed transactions after I had closed the account. Barclaycard has refused to engage properly with me and will only provide the documents that, it claims, prove I owe the money if I pay a fee. A letter regarding the account was sent to my previous address, despite me having properly notified Barclaycard of my new address. I am also very upset at the way a Barclaycard employee spoke to me on the phone.
You raised this problem with us last July and it has been a frustration both to you and us that this has taken so long to resolve. Barclaycard has accepted your case and agreed to pay you compensation of £4,585 - very significantly higher than the initial offer of £50! The final offer reflects the level of distress you suffered, plus your costs, and you have accepted this. Barclaycard has also recalled the account from the debt collection agency, written off the debt and corrected your credit file. Barclaycard says it offers "unreserved apologies for the impact this experience has had" on you.