Moneywise fights for your rights - O2, Spaceslide and Diamond
If you're having trouble with a company and wish to enlist Moneywise's help, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, click here, or write to us, including your name, address and telephone number at: Fightback, Moneywise Publishing, Standon House, 21 Mansell Street, London, E1 8AA.
O2 is taking months switching my contract back to Pay & Go
I have been fighting with O2 since November 2015 to get back on to its Pay & Go plan.
My problem began when I got a phone call from O2 suggesting that my wife and I would be better off changing to a SIM Only 12-month contract, which I agreed to do.
But after 10 days, I changed my mind and contacted O2’s online chat service to say that I wanted to cancel the contracts and remain on Pay & Go, which was the start of my battle with the company.
First, I had to try to get my number back, which I had held for more than 18 years – even though I hadn’t asked to change it.
In February 2016, I received letters, firstly saying I owed £10.66 and then £22.66, but later I received a refund for £21.25.
I forget how many times I rang up and was told everything would be OK. Even O2’s customer services team said that we were back on Pay & Go – though I later found we were still on a contract.
I now have my old number back, but have been unable to send texts and I damaged my iPhone and my wife’s Samsung phone trying to change SIM cards. I now have no credit on my phone and do not really want to top up.
Today, I received a letter from 02 saying that it had closed my account on 1 April 2016 and said that we still owe £80.25. It has transferred the debt to a debt management company and says I must pay it off.
This is very traumatic. I just don’t know who to turn to – my wife has cancer and I’m 68 and struggle with my own health problems. I hope you can help in some way.
Under the Consumer Contract Regulations, customers who have entered into a contract over the phone, online or on the doorstep have a 14-day cooling-off period to cancel the contract, which WK clearly did within this timeframe.
When I contacted O2, it admitted that there were some processing errors with regards to migrating back to the correct Pay & Go tariffs and the final closure of the SIM Only accounts. This resulted in some requests for payments, followed by refunds once the contract accounts were closed.
An O2 spokesperson says: “Your reader’s experience has not been the great one we aim to offer when helping our customers and we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused both of them. As a gesture of goodwill, we have arranged a new mobile for his wife and applied a credit of £30 to both Pay & Go accounts.”
Since then, O2 has also agreed to replace the new phone as WK’s wife found it difficult to use, offering a Samsung worth £120.
WK says: “ O2 has cancelled the debt and has offered my wife a new phone, along with £30 on each new Sim card.The power of the press is unbelievable! Thank you.”
Outcome: £150 on new phone and cash on SIM cards plus £80.25 debt waived.
Our Spaceslide doors don't match online brochure
We recently bought an Orion room divider from Screwfixwardrobes.com to separate our lounge and dining room. The two silver mirror panels arrived without the frames to attach at the wall at each side.These are called‘jambs’and are clearly shown on the product brochure on the company’s website.
However, Screwfixwardrobes.com says its sliding door partner, Spaceslide, has changed the design, so these jambs are no longer required – and it no longer makes them.
We have had different advice from various people in customer services: for a while we were told it would be sending someone out to see us the next day, but I’m not sure why this never happened. Phones are rarely answered and when you do get through, people in customer service often don’t seem to understand the company’s products.
We like the doors but just don’t think they look finished – and they weren’t cheap, costing £876 in total.
We’re thinking of asking a builder friend to design something we can use instead of the jambs, but we would like some compensation – perhaps a refund to help to pay towards the building work.
Can you contact Screwfixwardrobes.com or Spaceslide on our behalf?
When I spoke to Will Gough, Spaceslide’s commercial manager, he was very apologetic and explained that our reader ordered his room divider on the day that the product specifications changed, but the online instructions hadn’t been updated yet.
Mr Gough says: “The website was scheduled for an update in its entirety in the same week [that DR bought his dividers], which saw the automatic removal of the rogue instructions.
“We’ve since resolved the matter, agreeing to cover the costs incurred by the customer as he has requested. We’ve audited the information on the website to ensure no other customers are misinformed,” he adds.
I also mentioned DR’s criticism of how his complaint has been handled, and this has also been addressed.
“We’ve held internal briefings to educate all staff of the changes in products offered and technical specifications,” Mr Gough explains.
DR says: “Spaceslide’s original stance was that it didn’t provide frames with this product any more and it seemed happy for this to be the end of the matter, leaving us dissatisfied.
“However, we felt it handled the problem very well once Moneywise became involved. It came up with an alternative frame and offered to pay for installation of either its frame or any alternative we could find. We have always been very happy with the doors themselves and would use the company again,” he adds.
Outcome: £100 towards installation costs plus a free frame.
Diamond has insured a car I no longer own
In May, I received an email from Diamond.co.uk which was a renewal notice for motor insurance. I didn’t want to renew it, but when I logged on to cancel online, I couldn’t find where to do this. Instead, I just ensured my card was not linked to Diamond after the insurance ran out. But the company carried on insuring me and has also charged a cancellation fee. It says I owe £78.90 for the period it covered me after my policy ran out.
I’m a student and I had to give up my car because I couldn’t afford it, so this is a lot of money for me. Can you help?
Many insurance companies now set up policies that automatically renew, and the onus is on the policy holder to cancel their insurance. In fact, comparison site MoneySuperMarket has launched a ‘manifesto’ asking for improvements to be made to the auto-renewal process, saying that cancelling auto-renewal should be really simple when you receive your renewal notice, with a click-through button on emails.
When I contacted Diamond, it pointed out that its renewal email did give a phone number if NM didn’t want to renew.
As NM didn’t contact Diamond, it continued to provide cover. It also wrote to her when her payment failed, asking for up- to-date card details. After sending another letter and email, it ended the policy and wrote to her explaining that it would be charging her for the days used on the policy and a cancellation fee, totalling £78.90.
A spokesperson for Diamond says:“I can confirm that we have now cancelled the policy, waived any charges for the time the policy was on cover and waived the cancellation fee.”
NM says:“I am very happy with the outcome, but I will ask my insurers how their auto-renewal policy works from now on.”
Outcome: £78.90 waived for money owed on car insurance.
The period of time you’re allowed, after signing an agreement, to cancel it without incurring a financial penalty. Financial products including banking, credit, insurance, personal pensions and investments are subject to a 14-day cooling-off period (this is 30 days in the case of life insurance and personal pensions). The insurer or broker must refund any money paid by you within 30 days, although it has the right to deduct a reasonable admin charge, and a sum proportionate to the number of days’ cover you had. If you have any related credit agreements, these will also be cancelled.