Moneywise fights for your rights - Thomson, Vodafone and EE
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Thomson won’t give me a refund - Thomson, Vodafone and EE
I booked a Skytours package holiday with Thomson from London Gatwick to Lanzarote last year, staying at the Hyde Park Bungalows in Puerto Del Carmen, for myself and my wife, but we had to cancel for personal reasons.
The holiday cost £1,178 in total and I think I paid a deposit of £50 per person. However, I wanted to pay off more of the cost of the holiday in advance and paid £400 in total.
When I cancelled with more than 70 days’ notice, Thomson should have just kept the deposit but instead it has said that there was a cancellation fee of £200 per person and that I was not entitled to any refund.
If I had paid the whole amount of £1,178 at that time, would I have lost all of the holiday money? Whatever the case may be, Thomson is misleading customers about its deposits.
Please can you help?
When I contacted Thomson, it asked for more information about why GS had cancelled his holiday, which wasn’t really relevant to his complaint.
On the company’s website, it states that cancelling more than 70 days before travel would result in a loss of a full deposit, and GS believed that he had paid a £100 deposit, but wasn’t sure if this was per person or for the overall trip. Even if the deposit was £100 per person, Thomson still owed GS £200, as he had initially paid more than he had to. After Moneywise got involved,Thomson deposited £250 in GS’s account.
GS says: “Originally, I thought I would lose £100, as I thought I’d paid a deposit of £50 per person. I was then told that I would lose all of the money I’d paid in advance. It seemed that Thomson kept moving the goal posts.
“I have only received one phone message from Thomson since I took this up with Moneywise. There has been no explanation as to why it has now refunded me £250.”
When I contacted Thomson again, it confirmed that GS had paid a deposit of £75 per person, and this is the amount
that is currently advertised on the Skytours website, which meant that GS’s deposit of £150 had been retained, while £250 was refunded into his account.
A spokesperson for Thomson says: “We’re sorry to hear of your reader’s situation, and would like to apologise for any confusion after he cancelled his holiday. Having reviewed his case, we have contacted the customer directly and the issue has been resolved.”
GS adds: “I am grateful to have received £250 instead of nothing although I should not have been in this situation in the first place. It is annoying that a company does not stand by its obligations to the consumer unless we have Moneywise fighting our corner.”
I’ve tried to pay Vodafone but it’s called in a debt agency
In October 2015, I received a sales call from Vodafone suggesting that I should upgrade to a better deal.
Shortly after the upgrade, I noticed one of my bills was higher than usual. When I called to query this, the individual I spoke to could not access my bill to provide me with a breakdown. I was told that this had been a problem with a number of customers who were recently upgraded to new contracts. Subsequently, I cancelled my direct debit, explaining that I needed more clarity over my bill.
Since then, I have called Vodafone to get a breakdown of my bill so that I could pay it. On each occasion, I was told that the operator could not view my bill and that I should call back in 48 hours. Factor into this the lengthy waiting times to get through to customer services and I hope you can understand my growing frustration. A recent telephone call lasted one hour and 38 minutes.
Each time I’ve called I ask if I can pay my bill directly there and then, and Vodafone has not been able to facilitate this due to a system error.
I have now received a debt collector’s letter from an agency working for Vodafone.
At no point has Vodafone contacted me directly and it has ignored a letter I wrote in January 2016.
Can you contact Vodafone on my behalf?
This is the second complaint Moneywise has received about Vodafone within a month. AH from Hampshire cancelled her contract with Vodafone, giving 30 days’ notice in January 2015.
However, it seems that Vodafone failed to cancel it correctly, resulting in four defaulted payments and AH getting a poor credit score.
She contacted its customer service, but it took three months to sort it out. After AH was refused interest-free credit for a sofa she bought and had to buy it on a credit card, Vodafone has now offered her £200 compensation, which she has accepted.
AF’s case is equally frustrating – it was only after Moneywise intervened that she finally got a reasonable response from Vodafone.
A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “We’re very sorry AF had these problems. A glitch in our billing system meant we were unable to process manual (non-direct debit) payments temporarily, so we advised to hold off paying until we fixed the problem. She should never have been contacted by the collections agency. We will waive the outstanding charges of £271 by way of apology for the problems we’ve caused her. We’ll also add an extra £50 as a goodwill gesture.”
AF says:“Having spent the past five months calling Vodafone and continually finding it could not help me, I was baffled that a company that prides itself on communication was able to get away with such customer neglect. I’m delighted to finally have found a resolution to the problem.”
Why has EE withdrawn its M£150 offer?
My iPhone broke 14 months into a 24-month contract with EE, and Apple certified it as beyond repair.
EE’s customer services wrongly advised me that it had no obligation to replace the handset, so I paid £199 for a new handset.
Since then, dealing with EE’s complaints department has been a nightmare and I’ve just been fobbed off.
I was offered a goodwill gesture of £150, but this was withdrawn after I sought clarification on how the figure was arrived at. It doesn’t cover the cost of the new handset or the stress caused.
Can you help?
While it's tempting to think the customer is always right, there are a couple of issues that weakened SL’s case for a full refund: she did have use of her original iPhone for 14 months before it went wrong; and Apple had recycled her faulty phone, so EE could not carry out its own inspection.
A spokesperson for EE said:“SL’s iPhone fell outside of Apple’s 12-month warranty, so in order for EE to offer an alternative means of repair or replacement under the Sale of Goods Act, we had to be able to establish there was an inherent fault when the product was purchased.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t arrange a formal inspection of the faulty phone, which meant we were unable to conclude there was an inherent fault and offer a repair or replacement under the Sale of Goods Act, but we offered £150 towards a new handset as a gesture of goodwill.
“During a conversation with EE’s customer services team, SL was advised she had reached the eight-week point in her case and was therefore entitled to take her case to the ombudsman, which she confirmed she would do. However, SL is still entitled to accept the £150 goodwill gesture – she simply needs to confirm to the ombudsman she has reached a resolution directly with EE.”
If you’ve have a complaint about a financial service product you have bought but the company you bought it from refuses to resolve your problem after eight weeks, the Ombudsman can help. The Ombudsman will investigate and resolve the matter. The Ombudsman is independent and its service is free to consumers. The Ombudsman may find in the company’s favour but consumers don’t have accept its decision and are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an Ombudsman’s decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.
Your credit score is a three-digit number (ranging from a low of 300 to a high of 850) calculated from the information in your credit report. Your credit score enables lenders to determine how much of a credit risk you are. Basically, a low credit score indicates you present a higher risk of defaulting on your debt obligations than someone with a high score. If you have a low credit score, any products you successfully apply for will carry a higher rate of interest commensurate with this risk.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.