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Payment issues with Hutchinson 3G


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My bill was £47.59.


I paid it on the 19th November but the operator who took my payment said that there had been a "time out" and assured me the payment was not taken.


He asked for my details again and that payment went through.


When I went to pay for some goods on the 20th November it said I had insufficient funds. I checked my account and two payments for £47.59 had come out.


Now this ALSO happened back in April and both my bank (Natwest) and 3G said the error was not down to them. They both blamed each other the fault. At that time the money was eventually returned to my account (after 5 days) but I was assured it wouldn't happen again.


You can imagine my anger with this because I'm nearly £50 down and I've had to delay the food shopping. With three kids that's a big problem... I simply can't go until the money is paid back in.


Any ideas guys on whether this is a big issue for 3G/Natwest and who might be actually responsible? I'm sick and tired of speaking to call centre monkeys who keep passing the buck. It's making my wife ill.

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On the face of it this's down to 3 not Natwest as they'll only process the payment from the information provided by 3.

It's a pain when this does happen and initially the most important thing is to get your money back ASAP which customer services should be able to resolve relatively easily.

Once you've got you could make a complaint (in writing) concerning the inconvenience their system error has caused and politely ask for some goodwill in acknowledgement of this.

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OK, payments by card can do this, it's called "earmarking" and is very tricky.


How it works, you process a payment, the bank is notified electronically that instant that you are going to be paying this amount, but it's not actually left your account until the company (three in this case) calls for the funds (normally after 1 or 2 days). If after a few days to a week three don't ask for the money, your bank return the money as available balance.


To check to see what earmarked amounts are on the account, go to an ATM and check balance. If it says "funds £400 available £120" you know there are £280 ish earmarked.


Now if you contact someone that knows what they're doing, they can remove the earmark. The down side, if three called for the money twice, it would be honored twice and your account would go overdrawn.


So in short, three made this mess, your bank can clear it up, or it will resolve its self over time which is the best way if you can afford to wait.

If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)


Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.


923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE



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I had a feeling it was 3's problem. That said, 3 claimed that the Natwest system was not responding to 3's request to connect or authorise the transaction. But the payment was never declined... there was a just a time out issue.


It's a right pain in the backside.

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