SALLY ORDERS IT: I was charged a £600 fee to cancel my late wife’s mobile phone offer

My wife died on April 23rd and while I was sorting out her business I called Three to cancel her phone contract.

I was told that this could not be done because I had set a two-year contract for her in September of last year.

If I wanted to cancel this it would cost me £600, or I would have to pay monthly payments of £44 until September 2023. That adds up to about £700. Please help.

DH, Gwent.

Mobile phone company Three first asked our reader for £600 to cancel his late wife's mobile phone offer, but then waived the cancellation fee.

Mobile phone company Three first asked our reader for £600 to cancel his late wife’s mobile phone offer, but then waived the cancellation fee.

Sally Hamilton replies: Mobile phone companies are notorious for charging nasty penalties to those who want to cancel contracts early.

Of course, there is a business case, as they must recoup the initial cost of the issued mobile device as part of any deal.

But being so cold with a recently bereaved client is intolerable. I contacted Three immediately to ask him to correct this obvious injustice.

As a result, their customer service team contacted you with their condolences and apologies, explaining that the person you reported your wife’s death to was not well trained in dealing with mourners. He had been given incorrect information.

SCAM WATCH

If you’re booking a last-minute summer getaway, beware of scammers advertising fake villas and hotels online.

Victims of holiday booking scams lose an average of £1,200, according to Lloyds Bank.

Many are tricked into paying for accommodation that doesn’t exist, and then the thieves disappear without a trace.

Tourists should be especially careful when using Facebook, as nearly two-thirds of this type of scam originates from the social networking site.

Stick to trusted websites like Airbnb and Expedia. And always check customer reviews before handing over money.

Generally, if a Three phone contract customer dies, their policy is that the account be closed free of charge. This applies even if the customer is not the account holder.

Three corrected his mistake, canceled his late wife’s contract, and waived the cancellation fee.

He also said that she could keep her phone, and a couple of days later he sent her a basket of food to apologize for her failure in this case.

When I met with you this week, you told me that you were grateful that the problem had been resolved, although it was clear that it had been a disturbing episode at an already distressing time.

A spokesperson for Three says: ‘We apologize for the difficulty DH has had in closing this account – our customer service was not up to our usual high standards on this occasion. We will carry out further training with our team based on this experience.’

Bulb Energy asks me to pay £819 but has never been my supplier

Bulb Energy has been harassing me for a bill payment for 18 months, even though they have never been my energy provider.

When I moved into a rental property in London in August 2020, I compared the rates. I called Bulb and gave them my email address and phone number, but didn’t confirm that I wanted to sign up.

Instead, I chose British Gas, which billed me for electricity and gas until December 2021, when my lease ended.

As background, in September 2020, Bulb notified me that they had been contacted by another supplier to take over my supply and that no action was needed.

Even so, I received emails sporadically, asking me to set up a direct debit.

In October 2020, I indicated to the company that I was with British Gas. At this point I realized that Bulb had the wrong address for me, which I also mentioned.

In February of this year, I asked what I could do to make sure that the supplier would never contact me again.

An agent said that if he paid the outstanding balance of £24 on the account, the problem would be resolved.

Wanting all of this to end, I paid for it. Then in March I received a distressing email telling me that my account was debited for £819.

I am at my wits end trying to deal with the situation.

SR, London.

Bulb Energy has been harassing our reader about paying a bill for 18 months, but has now apologized and canceled the £819 bill

Bulb Energy has been harassing our reader about paying a bill for 18 months, but has now apologized and canceled the £819 bill

I was concerned that it might be difficult to resolve his case because Bulb is one of many victims of an energy market crisis that saw more than 30 suppliers go bankrupt last year.

But unlike smaller companies, whose customers were transferred to a new provider by regulator Ofgem under a ‘provider of last resort’ deal, Bulb was deemed too big, so it was put into ‘special administration’. This involved a firm called Teneo taking over the management of the power company.

The result is that Bulb, which has 1.6 million residential customers, is trading as before, although a buyer is expected to emerge and the company be sold. What this means for you is that Bulb is still dealing with complaints.

So, I asked the firm if it could shed any light on the matter. My intervention worked, because in two days I had investigated and resolved his case.

It turns out that his phantom invoice had nothing to do with the company’s financial difficulties.

The problem arose from a confusion about meters. His rental property was in a building once divided into three stories, which had been reconfigured into two properties when he moved.

The previous tenant had been supplied by Bulb, but when he applied to switch from Bulb to British Gas, it appears that British Gas mistakenly linked his account to a now-redundant meter that had served the third floor.

This caused a gremlin in the exchange process and explains why he was bombarded with direct debit requests.

Although the meter error was not Bulb’s fault, the company agreed that its repeated requests for help regarding the matter should have been dealt with more quickly.

Bulb apologized and canceled the £819 bill. They have also refunded you the £24 you paid in their effort to fix the problem.

Straight to the point

My Netflix subscription costs £5.99 per month. But in March two payments were taken. My bank said it was probably fraud and refunded me. But Netflix claimed that only one sum had been paid and suspended my account.

WB, by email.

I was frustrated by Netflix’s lack of customer service. When I asked the company to investigate, a spokesperson refused to explain what had gone wrong. Instead, they suggested that you contact their customer service team on 0808 196 5391 or via their online chat: help.netflix.com/en/contactus.

When I withdrew £20 from the ATM at my local post office, I was shocked. My balance was only £52.91, around £1,000 less than expected. When I checked online at home, my account showed the correct amount. What happened?

PT, Stockport, GTR Manchester.

The post office insisted that their ATM wasn’t broken and pointed me to their bank. When I sent Lloyds the printout I had received showing the smaller balance, a spokesperson said that it was not related to your account and that it belonged to the customer who had used the machine before you.

My 32-year-old goddaughter put a monkey on eBay shortly before she died. Someone bought it and her mother obediently published the article. But the eBay account was closed and we were told that the money cannot be traced or paid.

SJ, Sandhurst, Berks.

Ebay says it was very sorry to hear about your experience and has now paid £70, which includes a small compensation.

A company contacted me saying it could help recover unclaimed marriage tax relief.

I didn’t complete the online form because it asked for personal details like our national insurance numbers. Is this a scam?

ML, Wirral, Cheshire.

You do not need a third party to claim marriage tax relief, so beware of companies that offer this service. Even if they are not outright scammers, many charge hefty fees.

To find out if you are eligible or to apply, visit gov.uk/marriage-allowance. It is worth up to £252 per tax year and a person must earn less than £12,570 to qualify.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk; include the phone number, address, and a note to the offending organization giving permission to speak to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot be held responsible for them. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the answers given.

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