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A final bill to Carphone Warehouse through a DCA


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Hi all,

Please, can anyone advise me on the following issue:

 

Background:

Back in January 2006 I entered into a mobile phone contract with O2UK which I have signed via their agent - Carphone Warehouse. The contract was for 18 months minimum period and was up by the end of July 2007.

I did not wish to renew it so on the last day of the contract's minimum term I called O2UK customer service asking them to terminate it. After tempting me into another contract (I was offered 1 year free line rental), the chap at the other end of the line eventually agreed to cancel the contract telling me to give them a 30 days notice which was to be sent by recorded delivery to their Disconnection Department at an address he revealed to me together with their reference number (I still got these details).

Over the next few days I did what was asked for with one exception - the letter was posted as regular mail, not recorded 'cos I felt their demand for recorded delivery was somewhat unjustified. :)

At the same time I cancelled my Direct Debit for CW.

I expected to receive kinda final bill from CW, but instead after a month they sent me another bill calling for a sum which included outstanding balance from previous invoice which they were unable to collect through DD, plus a line rental for the next month up to the 7th October - total £87.

I decided not to pay that bill since they have charged me a line rental for the successive month despite the 30 days notice was already up and there was no guarantee I would not receive more bills like that in the future. I did not use the mobile after 6th August and around mid September I checked if it still was active. As it turned out it was disconnected.

Since then I had no contact from CW.

 

Now:

At the end of February 2009 I received a letter from a Debt Collecting Agency claiming I have failed to arrange a payment of £525 debt for their client - Carphone Warehouse and it is their "client's intention to issue litigation proceedings to recover overdue sums trough your local court" - the letter said. I have phoned the DCA to find out how had the above sum come into being and was told that was my debt for CW and the only concession they would be willing to make is to allow for payment to be made by instalments.

I have written to the DCA (by recorded delivery - lesson learned :)) requesting all details about the debt - its breakdown. After a week or so I got a Litigation Notice from them threatening my account will be referred for a County Court on the 20 March 2009 if I do not agree to an "affordable" payment plan. Not a word about my query. Further down the notice they had an incentive for me - they are able to reduce the amount if I contact them within 7 days prior to commencement of litigation proceedings. I phoned them of course and firstly asked if they got my query about the debt breakdown; it was being investigated - they answered. Next there was my question about their offer to reduce the amount, what they meant by that? I was prompted to say my offer so I proposed £50 as the final bill payment and settle the account, that was rejected, then they came up with 30 percent reduction of the amount, rejected by me, then I upped to £60, no good for them, then halved the amount from their side, still too much for me, then my final offer £100 - rejected. There has been a little while of haggling between us. :)

In the end I was told they were gonna go to court, and now I wonder what my chances to win are?

Sorry for the lengthy wording, and any help will be much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

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Quite a mess. Didn't you realise their 'demand' to send your notice of disconnection by Recorded Delivery was for your protection, not theirs?

 

This is also the time to check your credit file to see what they've done with it - as any future negotiations you may want to positively put your side forward and ensure to defaults or erroneous information should you eventually decide to settle.

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Thanks buzby. Well, no I didn't. Actually I thought posting that notice as recorded delivery would be an overkill. Do you really think a customer of a mobile network company needs that kind of protection and against whom?

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You're looking at it the wrong way round. It's to protect YOU from the incompetence of the networks.

 

If they lose your request to terminate, and down the line say 'if only you told us, we never received any notification'. With RD, YOU are in the controlling position. You say, I know you got the letter, it was delivered/signed for on XX/XX/XX and here is a copy of the posting receipt. Now will you kindly stop faffing around and backdate the disconnection to the date I asked for, cancel any debt you state is owing, and remove any defaults from my credit file.

 

The same hold true for people who simply phone their network up and DON'T follow it through with a written request. I've lost count of the times we've heard the network agent denies any such conversation took place, and in the absence of evidence, they are the winners.

 

For 65p, that's a heck of a lot of insurance that will benefit you.

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You are right when saying RD gives a customer an upper hand in any dispute with a mobile communication company over a contract cancellation, but it should be up to them (customer) whether or not take advantage of it and the company has no authority to make use RD obligatory. If they are making such requirement because of their "incompetence" it is the company management's duty to make any effort to streamline its operations. Or buy an insurance policy. :lol:

 

As for lack of evidence the phone conversation took place - their Reference No. and address they have given me are such proofs.

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Again, I'm not sure whether you've grasped the significance of RD. Sure the customer can choose whenever to use it, and in your particular case, if you had done so you wouldn't be in the present situation. The network would not have a leg to stand on.

 

As for your last paragraph - I'm afraid that is no form of 'proof' recognised by a court or independent adjudicator. Proof required to be verifiable - how does an address and reference prove anything? In the real world, firms are not going to provide you with data that will prove YOUR case for you - they're not that daft. Any data that proves your side will be unavailable then simply disappear. Recordings, transcripts and the like are there for the firms protection, not the consumers. Therefore I routinely record my calls with call centres, just in case. On two occasions a transcript I provided was accepted and the dispute closed. If you have nothing, you'll pay the price!

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