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IMPORTANT! Pending Consumer Action on Non-DD fees

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Just as the banks are preparing for the decision on their appeal regarding unfair charges levied on their customers, a new battle is looming - which has been covered on GAG at length in the past, but requires users to pay by methods OTHER than DD to prepare NOW!

 

The issue is over the amounts charged by companies for those who do not pay by DD (either because they do not want to give firms open access to their bank accounts, or because due to their financial situation, they cannot guarantee funds will be there to cover any ongoing debit).

 

This issue is of concern to consumers who use many of the (usually) utility companies, initially Gas and Electricity suppliers, but by intension to others like Virgin Media (Who charge £60pa), BT, Sky and a whole range of minnow telcos who try to lever their customers to paying by DD on the pretext of it being 'cheaper' for them to process.

 

For those who choose to refuse these offers of paying by Direct Debit (and I'm one of them) the amount of money being overpaid each year is quite substantial - the good news, is that this issue is now going to be next on the agenda but consumers need to ensure they are prepared for the great 'Direct Debit Claimback' which will follow shortly.

 

To prepare, consumers who make payments to firms of additional amounts because they are being forced to do so due to these pricing differentials, are advised to act NOW. KEEP A RECORD of all these additional payments, the amounts and dates, going back as far as you have records available. If you have lost track of these amounts (by throwing out your old bills) NOW is the time to send your supplier a SAR (but only where your claim for reimbursements will be substantial - it will not be economic to do this otherwise).

 

It has been estimated that a consumer NOT paying by Direct Debit is being charged around £98 per YEAR due to pricing differentials. It has been estimated that the TRUE cost of processing these alternative payments is just £20, this means an overpayment of £78 you would be entitled to. This always assumes that the consumer is actually held to be responsible for these costs in the first place. What may lose this argument for the utilities, is that people paying their bills by bank transfer are also charged the fee, even though it arrives in the suppliers bank account in exactly the same way as a DD. Similarly, those paying by continuous mandate from a credit or debit card result in processing charges that are NOT passed on.

 

Laws passed by the EU in 2004 demand that if there is differential payment pricing, the supplier must be able to account for the cost of processing, if not - the charge can be disputed and challenged.

 

Neither the UK Regulators nor the Government has expressed any interest in pursuing this matter, so it may well fall n the consumer to initiate legal action (Small Claims, nothing fancy) to get the charges overturned. Therefore it is imperative that you hold on to the evidence of bills and statements NOW to assist in the challenge - or, if you cannot be bothered, to wait until the matter is decided and the firms are required to refund those on application. If you didn't retain the data, you have only yourself to blame.

 

IF YOU ARE CHARGED MORE FOR NOT PAYING BY DD, KEEP ALL YOUR BILLS FOR A SUBSEQUENT CHALLENGE. YOU WOULD BE SILLY NOT TO.

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You read the article with Tom Brennan in?

The Times today I think


.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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Part of it was from his Press Relase issued last week. Why?

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What's that to do with Telecom companies - they're not even mentioned? Or the actual thrust of consumers requiring to retain their bills to be sure of successfully challenging these firms.

 

Since a Press Release goes out to all media organisations, does it somehow make the information less relevant? :rolleyes:

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This is an issue raised by Watchdog and highlighted on CAG over 2 years ago. http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/telecoms-mobile-fixed/74802-penalties-not-paying-direct.html


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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What's that to do with Telecom companies - they're not even mentioned? Or the actual thrust of consumers requiring to retain their bills to be sure of successfully challenging these firms.

 

Since a Press Release goes out to all media organisations, does it somehow make the information less relevant? :rolleyes:

you do realise that on long posts and stuff, I rarely look at the blindingly obvious, ie details. It sounded similar sand article was in same week as the Tom Brennan Times article so assumed it was the same without going into the actual details.


.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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Is there any chance anyone please provide any suggested wording / letters / templates so we can make sure we are referring to and quoting the right bits and bobs in our requests for refunds / complaints?

 

Sadly idiot stuff needed is here please if possible!

 

T :)

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Too soon. This thread is a warining to RETAIN all the data (bills/invoices) etc in PREPARATION for a formal claim should the consumers rights regarding payments become an automatic win, rather than the current gamble!

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prepare NOW!
Why now?

 

the good news, is that this issue is now going to be next on the agenda
When is "next" and whose agenda?

 

To prepare, consumers who make payments to firms of additional amounts because they are being forced to do so due to these pricing differentials, are advised to act NOW.
Advised by whom?

 

NOW is the time to send your supplier a SAR (but only where your claim for reimbursements will be substantial - it will not be economic to do this otherwise).
Costs of the SAR are reclaimable.

 

 

Neither the UK Regulators nor the Government has expressed any interest in pursuing this matter, so it may well fall n the consumer to initiate legal action (Small Claims, nothing fancy) to get the charges overturned.
So absolutely nothing changed from the last 3 yrs then?

 

 

 

Therefore it is imperative that you hold on to the evidence of bills and statements NOW to assist in the challenge
Yes, you said. A lot. But you still haven't said why.

 

 

If you didn't retain the data, you have only yourself to blame.

 

IF YOU ARE CHARGED MORE FOR NOT PAYING BY DD, KEEP ALL YOUR BILLS FOR A SUBSEQUENT CHALLENGE. YOU WOULD BE SILLY NOT TO

Or you could fire out a SAR as and when required. £10 maximum fee, reclaimable when pursuing the company, 40 days for them to comply.

 

Why on Earth is this pile of bluster being stickied? It's about as informative (with the same alarmist disposition) as a Daily Mail article. Frankly, I have seen articles in the Sun which were less sensationalist.

 

In summary: Keep on doing what you were doing, there may or may not be something done about it somewhere at some point in the future. :?

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I would suggest if you want to waste your time and waste a tone of money, follow Bookworm's advice. After all, why pay if you can get it for free on the back of retaining your documentation instead of paying £10 for incomprehensible gobbledygook! (It is true you might get this money back IF your action succeeds, as there is no guarantee of this - you know where to send your letters of complaint when you don't!).

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