United Kingdom

ASK TONY: My Vodafone complaint fell on deaf ears

My Vodafone service was cut off after I missed a payment at the beginning of the year. I am on a zero-hours contract in the construction industry.

I made the payment of £109.91 to a debt collection agency in March, but Vodafone said it could not track this down. 

I have spent months trying to resolve this with Vodafone's customer service, and sent a bank statement as proof.

A Vodafone customer was left without a service and facing demands from a debt collection agency for £1,123.86 despite having paid everything that he owed

I stopped paying the firm as it was not providing me with a service, and I've now received a demand of £1,123.86 from another debt collector.

E. L., Southend, Essex.

Since the first lockdown firms have altered their customer service operations. Now, when mistakes are made it can be hard to find anyone to fix them.

Vodafone says you had two accounts - a pay monthly phone one, for which you pay £42, and another for mobile broadband, which costs £14.81 a month plus a £1 Secure Net charge. 

broadband

You missed payments but then paid a debt collector £109.91. This was allocated to the wrong account number.

Vodafone cut you off. You stopped paying. On September 16, Vodafone's debt collector wrote to say you owed £1,023.86 plus a £100 administration fee. 

After much to-ing and fro-ing Vodafone could not reconcile this figure with the debt it had on file, which came to £883.86 (£140 less than that quoted). This includes an early termination fee of £578.75.

Vodafone initially agreed to remove this early termination fee and add a £100 goodwill payment, which would have left you owing £205.11. 

I pointed out that it had still not allocated the £109.91 repayment, and in view of the continuing mess it should wipe the whole debt. It agreed to do this and apologised. Your services have now been reinstated.

Straight to the point 

My mother died on September 20 last year and the funeral was handled by Co-op. 

It cost more than £6,000, of which around £2,500 went towards refitting my father's headstone so we could include my mother's inscription. We also asked for kerbing around the grave.

On June 15 we paid 50 per cent of the cost and were told it would be finished within ten weeks. But the work is still not finished.

L. H., Leeds, W. Yorks.

Co-op says the masonry order is being shipped from overseas and the pandemic has caused delays. It apologises and promises to get it done 'as quickly as possible'.

 ***

In September I ordered a jacket from Atlas For Men for my son's birthday. 

The zip was missing two teeth, so I returned it at a cost of £3.10 to get a replacement. I sent three emails but have heard nothing.

H. W., Kent.

Atlas For Men claims to have no record of your return or emails. It has now refunded you £38.94, which includes postage costs.

*** 

British Gas says it is cancelling our boiler service to concentrate on more vulnerable customers. 

I am a disabled veteran in my late 60s and my wife is in her late 70s and has poor eyesight.

C. G., Portsmouth, Hants.

The energy firm apologises and says it should have explained more clearly that your service was postponed so that it can prioritise vulnerable customers who currently have heating issues. 

You have been refunded £65 for the missed appointment.

About ten years ago my late husband and I invested some money with Barclays. When he passed away in 2014 I tried to withdraw money for his funeral but the branch would not let me.

I was told it had been put into a dormant account and I'd need to show a passport or driving licence. I have since shown my utility bills and birth certificate, but it still won't pay up.

M. E., Chelmsford, Essex.

This issue ran over a much longer period than your letter suggested. When your husband passed away the account moved solely into your name. 

It is unclear why you could not get access to it at that time.

Barclays wrote to you in February 2019 advising you that the account had been dormant since 2014. 

The letter said that if Barclays did not hear from you within three months the account would be closed. This happened on May 21 last year.

You went into a branch to ask about the account this year, and Barclays wrote to you on January 18 advising which documents you would need in order for the funds to be released. The documents you offered were not acceptable.

A spokesman says: 'We take the protection of our customers' funds and data extremely seriously. 

'Having spoken to our customer we have arranged for a cheque to be issued for the balance of funds.' You have now received a cheque for £16,556.

You've also sent me a letter of thanks. It is much appreciated.

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