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Son took out contract in my name. Help!!!


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This is my second thread and am sure many more will follow now that I am aware of this site. I am very pleased to have found it as I don't feel that I am on my own anymore.

Originally my son wanted a contract phone when he was 16 and as he was working I thought he might be responsible enough so I allowed him a contract phone in my name but the Direct Debit was set up with his Bank Account, with agreement from O2 that the contract changes into his name as soon as he turns 18 in July 2009.

To cut a long story short he ended up running up a huge bill of Internet Download Charges (£500in two weeks) which he finally cleared in December last year. Once he cleared the Debt I spoke to O2 and had the tariff reduced to £20 a month and a blockage put on the Internet roaming facility to prevent the same from happening and all was well for a while. Now I have found out that my son had the tariff increased back to £35 a month in April without my knowledge. The O2 contract was due to finish in July but is currently disconnected due to non payment. Now I am being chased by Moorcroft with regards to the outstanding Balance as it appears that my son has stopped paying. He has also stopped working and is claiming JSA. I am obviously not happy with this situation and I have told him to get this sorted out immediately. In April he received a phonecall on his mobile which I believed was O2 offering to upgrade his phone and renewing the contract for 18 months, 3 month prior to the existing contract finishing It now turns out that it was a broker that offered him a new contract with 3 for £35 a month, they would reimburse his remaining 3 month of O2 bills and it is in my name. I have received a letter from Advanced Telecoms Debt Collection Services Limited chasing the outstanding payment for 3. I have received no paperwork with the new contract or the reimbursement of the O2 charges.

 

Can anyone advise how best to go forward with this? My questions are:

 

1.All that was asked on the phonecall that tunred out to be 3 was to confirm my name and address nothing was explained about what was being arranged. As nothing has been signed is this a legal agreement considering I was deceived and believed I was agreeing to the O2 renewal contract at £20 a month?

 

2. Legally should a 17 year old have been able to change tariff and pricing details with O2 without my knowledge in April?

 

3. Am I liable for services obtained via deception and fraud?

 

Any help / advise would be appreciated. I know this is a complicated situation. If any questions arise please don't hesitate to ask and I will try to answer as best I can. Thank you.

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The whole problem here is that you allowed a teenager a contract phone, although I'm sure you know this so I'm not going to lecture you.

 

I'm not certain of O2's procedures, but I wouldn't have thought your son would be allowed to change account details without the contract owner's permission. Did you set up a password on the account that allowed a third party to change details?

 

I was a bit confused about what you said about 3. Did 3 contact your son to start a new contract with them?

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Yes there was a password on the account which my son knew so that he could access his payment details however O2 should not have allowed him to change tariff / pricing information as he is under age and not named on the account.

 

A broker contacted him in April and signed him (me) in to the 3 contract with the promise that they would refund May to July line rental for O2. This hasn't happened and I never received any paperwork about this contract from either the broker or 3.

 

Thanks for your interest, I know now that it was a mistake but at the time wasn't aware of the depth my son would sink too!!!

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If you have not recieved anything, i.e. terms and conditions from 3 then you can cancel the contract up to 7 days from receiving the said terms under the distance sellig regulations. so you can cancel it now and get all your monies back that you have paid to date. As for O2 you signed the contract!!

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If you didn't set up a third party access to your account with O2, then you may have cause to complain, however, if you're son pretended to be you, they may count that as fraud, so you should check with him regarding that.

 

Regarding 3, you should write to them asking for all paperwork, as it sounds a bit dodgy that they never sent any documentation to you.

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This will take a fair bit of unravelling. It is really a shame your son abused your trust, but as far as O" is concerned, YOU are their customer, and with your son having access to the relevant passwords to modify the account - and post likely appear to be you or asserted that he was acting on your behalf, trying to rely on him being under 17 would help - you signed the contract, so any subsequent dispute is between you and your son, NOT O2. You would need to have taken steps to protect yourself from any misrepresentation by changing the password on the account. If he then used subterfuge to fool O2 into changing the contract, that WOULD be an issue you could hold them liable for. However, this would probably be limited to them flagging his details on the CIFAS (fraud) database which would mean anything he entered into would be manually checked very carefully - and hopefully prevent other issues down the line that don't involve you directly.

 

The issue with 3UK is unfortunate, he's received a sales call and provided the details to allow the creation of a new account and contract. You don't say if this is in his or your name, if yours - then it is fraudulent and you need to tell them so. You may find YOU have got the defaults on your credit file but while you may be able to challenge this for 3UK, I can't see you being successful doing this to O2, but it's worth asking.

 

There's no mystery at not recieving paperwork - if it was arranged an an 'electronic' sale, none is required, but as the first payment is taken as the full acceptance of the T&C's, do make sure no paymnt has been made, as it makes rejection of it (called 'repudiation') that much easier.

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Thank you all for your comments and advise. I will contact O2 and 3UK and see what happens from here. I will post an update once I have spoken to them.

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