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HELP - T-Mobile Failure to Disclose T&C causes £400 Bill to International Number - Now showing Adverse Credit


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As a result of not being advised that there were only specific countries I could call using my long standing international call option, I incurred a significant size bill. I had the plan for a considerable period of time and had made several international calls. On receiving the £400 bill, I immediately called T-Mobile and followed this up with a written complaint. I thought the matter had been resolved fairly amicably until now. I agreed to a reduction in the bill and a payment arrangement to spread the cost of the remaining balance only as a compromise in order to resolve this matter mutually and amicably. There is a list of about 40 countries which the complaints rep said i would have been advised over the phone when taking out the contract. I can assure you that such a long list of acceptable countries recited during a telephone call would have been remembered and I advised the complaints representative the same. I have maintained that I was not advised of the terms and conditions which should have been advised at the time of taking the option, rather than as a result of my complaint after the high bill was received.

 

I was absolutely appalled and angry to find that this payment arrangement is recorded on my credit file as an 'adverse payment arrangement' and has resulted in my recent mortgage application being declined. I had even asked the complaints representative if she was sure that this arrangement wouldn't affect me changing my payment plan at a later stage, or arranging to upgrade my phone and she advised me that it would not. As far as I was concerned this was simply an amicable way of resolving this matter without detriment to either party and in my view was some acknowledgement of the missing advice which should have been provided when this option was taken out over the phone. Or, at the very least, followed up with written confirmation of those terms and conditions and details of the countries.

 

Most importantly, I was not made aware that agreeing to this arrangement may affect my ability to obtain credit, or recorded on a my file. I most certainly would not have agreed to the compromise should I have been fully advised. Even the advice from the complaints representative was not complete in other regards, as information about the SOLO Fixed Payment Plan was sought from the complaints representative on several occasions.

 

This arrangement has resulted in my defamation and financial loss as it has stopped me from obtaining credit. I wrote to the Managing Director yesterday advising him that I am seeking compensation of the £150 withdrawal fee charged for the mortgage not proceeding and removal of all adverse credit information in relation to this arrangement from my file within the next 7 days and should this not be resolved promptly I will escalate my complaint to the Communications Ombudsman to seek compensation for financial loss of £150, plus £7,200 which would have been saved over the 2 year fixed period of the mortgage applied for.

 

I do have records of my communications with the complaints team rep. Can anyone offer any advice as to any other action to take please? :(

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I know the plan you are talking about, this is a Bolt On on a standard tariff, and carries its T&C on the website. I'm surprised they say you werfe told on the phone the countries the bold on applied to, as you rightly say this list would be memorable for almost everything, including its length - which is why it is nonsenical to suggest this was advised by phone. They may have advised you to look at their T&C about the countries the plan covered, as it is NOT anything or anywhere with a non +44 dialling code.

 

They'll argue the debt was legitimately incurred due to 'customer error' as it will be impossible for you to counter this in any meaningful way, ONLY if they actually charged you the incorrect rate for a country that SHOULD have been in the low-cost bundle of destinations.

 

The issue of entering into a payment arrangement happens automatically, and is a 'statement of fact', since you've already agreed to the disclosure of your financial dealings, you cannot argue that they didn't tell you the arrangement would not be disclosed, as it would show up if the balance in any month did not clear in full. AS you have found, networks are seldom forgiving and rarely use discretion because they'll argue erroneously 'we have a legal duty to disclose this to the CRAs'.

 

If you cannot get them on accuracy, put your complaint formally in writing, as the last thing you need is some VDU operator making a decision 'on the hoof' after a bad lunch. Explain you had assumed the countries were covered, and the arrangement you entered into was to ensure that you'd not make this mistake again, not be penalised as if you had actually defaulted on your account.

 

This might bring a more measured response from them, and an amendment to your file...

 

I understand your angst, but blustering to the 'ombudsman' won't resolve anything, and your chances of claiming abortive mortgage costs woill probably die a death as you could not profe the refusal was due to this appearing on your file, unless the mortgage co provide an affidavit to support this, and I honestly doubt they'll do it. The network appears to have done the (minimum) they are expected to, so no formal unfairmess appears to be attached. Although I agree it sucks big time.

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Hi there busby

 

Thank you for the advice. Is it right then that each of my bills since this occured simply shows a balance of £20 even though my arrangement is to pay £50. I have stuck to the arrangement, but the bills received do not make any reference to the arrangement made, or the full outstanding balance. It was a long time ago that this additional international option, so I dont recall being told about the website, however, am I obliged to have access to a website in order to see T&C's? I would have expected it to be their responsibility to ensure I have been given them. My mortgage broker said he would provide written confirmation of why my application was turned down. It is the only adverse thing on my credit file.

 

Is it better to just pay the amount outstanding in full as it is not a huge amount? All I am saying is that had this been explained fully, I would not have made the arrangement to pay in instalments, I would have sought to pay the re-negotiated amount in full. It was offered to me as a compromise on their part and I stupidly took it. My complaint has been put in writing to the MD as shown above and sent and I am awaiting a response.

 

Your right, 'it sucks' is putting it mildly!

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I was never referred to the T&C's for the SOLO contract from the complaints rep either. I have her email communications saved. So, I am flawed that I do not have any comeback on this.

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Letter from T-mobile in response to complaint in May:

Thank you for writing to me, with your concerns regarding the international call charges you have incurred.

I am sorry to hear that you were not fully aware that you could only use your allowance to call certain international countries. I appreciate how much shock you must have received to receive your latest bill and I fully understand why you do not want to pay the full charges.

However, I can see that when you changed your price plan in September 2009, our records show that you were fully made aware of the countries you could use your allowance to call.

Having reviewed your bill, I can see that you had £41.33 inc VAT of your Flext allowance remaining. What I am happy to do as a good will gesture and in full and final settlement of your complaint, is adjust the call charges by this amount. This would bring your bill to £257.39 inc VAT.

If you would like to accept my offer, please respond to my email within 14 days.

For future reference, I have listed the countries below that you can use your monthly allowance to call:

Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Channel Islands, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Rep, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, The Canaries, The Balearics, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, USA.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me

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I accepted the arrangement and they offered me the option of paying the balance in small instalments. Following our conversation I had caused to write the following as I was not consulted about the SOLO payment arrangement:

 

Thank you for contacting me on Thursday and arranging for my service to be put back on. I was able to send 2 texts on the following day.

This followed a series of texts which were also part of establishing my SOLO FIXED payment arrangement price plan. This plan was set up without any consultation. I am happy that it has finally been sorted out, however, not necessarily about not being given any consideration to what I would prefer.
My contract for one phone ends on 7 July and this arrangement would extend this contract beyond the term. I also understood that my contract for the other ended earlier, but I was not advised of this date when I asked, as the dates should not be the same. I would be grateful for confirmation of the end of contract date for each line please.

 

I have been a T-Mobile customer since I first had a mobile phone, a considerable amount of years, and have never gone to another provider as T-Mobile has always provided me with a good service. I have always contacted T-Mobile to check for more efficient ways of using your service and took the international call option as a result of the advise that was given. Previously, I would send international texts and was only seeking a cheaper way to so this at that time. After all that has happened as a result of recent events, I am regrettably not of the same opinion now as having found that an arrangement I had made did not include the cost of calling all international numbers, which I was not advised of, I have a very big bill to pay.

 

I was somewhat taken aback to find that after sending just 2 texts, I tried to text my bank and was advised that I have insufficient funds and need to top up. I checked my T-mobile account and I have 1p credit. Now, it is either there are restrictions on who you can text, or something has not been set up correctly. Again, I need to be advised fully of the terms and conditions of the contract as a text I received said it was 300 texts and 150 minutes of calls. I do feel as though I am being treated as a debtor and not as a person who has made a complaint and had amendments made as a resolution to the complaint. Somehow, the resolution is not very joined up.

 

The reason why this matter arose in the first place was due to insufficient information relating to the terms and conditions of the service being provided and here we are with another example of that same thing happening as part of the resolution. I do appreciate that there has been compromise and I hope you do appreciate that I have also compromised in this matter. I have tried to contact customer services for an explanation using 150 today, but I was not able to get to an option to speak to anyone there and eventually the automated service just hung up. It is just not acceptable that I am being treated in this way at all.

 

Kind regards

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They replied:

Thank you for writing to me with your concerns about the payment arrangement we have set up on your account. I am sorry you felt the need to contact me again, but I am happy to answer your queries.

Firstly, I can confirm that both your daughters and your own contracts will be extended for a further four months, which is the duration of the payment arrangement. This means that your daughter?s contract will expire once the payment arrangement has finished. Your contract is due to expire on 8 November.

I can also confirm that you do get an allowance of 150 minutes and 300 texts messages, to use on numbers within the UK. Your bank may be classed as a toll arte number which is why you would be required to add credit to the phone to send a text.

I have checked the allowances remaining for the month on both your daughters and your own number and I have listed these below:

079********- 110 minutes and 201 text messages

079******* - 7 minutes and 214 text messages

(these allowances will renew on 27 June)

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Kind regards

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I replied:

 

I was advised that both contracts ended in December during a desperate follow up call for information on 5 June, but having received your advice today, I will take the information as advised today. As both contracts have been extended by 4 months, I take it that should I pay before the 4 month arrangement by the end of August, my contract for the 07***** number and 079****** number will cease. Is this correct?

 

Sorry for the requirement for specifics, but I would like to be fully aware as I was not consulted about the payment arrangement before it was made and I am very confused with the amount of different information being given.

 

Kind regards

 

I dont have a record of that response!

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I think my comms demonstrate that I was not aware of the T&C's, nor informed about the payment arrangement. Can someone advise if I have any case?

 

Im just trying to sort this out in the best way possible and quickly.

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That fact you were unaware of something is not their problem - the information IS available, and it is always up to the customer to ensure that they are working within the scheme. Try seeking justification from (say) a railway ticket inspector who notes that the line you are on isn;t covered by your ticket when you thought it was, it would still be up to you to verify its validity by looking at service maps or leaflets. Also, you state that 'both contracts ended in December'. This is another misconception, your contract will continue until you (or they) cancel it. It is probably that your contracts minimum term had been reached, but this is NOT the same thing.

 

If they did indeed suggest this it was wrong and misleading. A side-issue, perhaps - but to move this forward, in your situation I would write back, saying that you were never afvised that the payment plan would be shown as a virtual default on your credit file, and this is unsatisfactory. To resolve the problem, youd like to settle the full amount outstanding in return for the blight on your file to be removed.

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Well there was no joy from T-Mobile! In short if you dont seek out your terms and conditions, they dont have any obligation to tell you what they are. ALL WRONG IN MY VIEW. I will go blustering to the Ombudsmen anyway as people should be made aware of what the terms and conditions are in advance, not retrospectively and the company should be able to demonstrate that they have provided this to you and you have read and understood them. A requirement in almost every other form of business, but not the mobile phone industry??? Strange

 

Onwards and upwards!

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Better yet, NEVER enter into a binding contract if there is an alternative to doing so. (Like PAYG). It probably will be more expensve, indeed I'll guarantee it will, but the freedom of NOT being committed is worth its weight in gold!

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