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StephJ

THREE demanding I pay £190 for calling their Customer Services!

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Hi all

 

I'm glad I found this site! Hope someone can help.

 

Basically, for over a year, Three have been hassling me to pay £233 for calls incurred in Morocco last year. They've been sending debt collectors etc.... Most of this - 64 minutes = £190 to be exact, was due to calls to Three Customer Services when I was asking them to sort out my line which was not receiving texts from a Moroccan number. They took over a year to send me itemised bill - which just landed on my doormat this week. However, their website says that they cap all roaming costs to £49 for their customers. So why did they let me run the bill to £233? I am writing to them with this question, and also saying I'm consulting an expert. Can anyone help, please, with any more insight, or point me to an expert? Fyi, the Ombudsman said that they will only intervene if/ when there is a deadlock...

 

Quick response much appreciated. Thank you!

 

StephJ

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Does the cap apply to all roaming costs? Or only EU roaming costs? Most of these caps and limits tend to only apply within the EU (as that's where the mobile operators have basically been forced to cap these things).

 

It's also normal for the Ombudsman to only intervene when there is a deadlock. You'll need to ask Three to issue a Deadlock letter. If they refuse the Ombudsman can still intervene, but only after 8 weeks from the time you opened the complaint with Three.

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Does the cap apply to all roaming costs? Or only EU roaming costs? Most of these caps and limits tend to only apply within the EU (as that's where the mobile operators have basically been forced to cap these things).

 

It's also normal for the Ombudsman to only intervene when there is a deadlock. You'll need to ask Three to issue a Deadlock letter. If they refuse the Ombudsman can still intervene, but only after 8 weeks from the time you opened the complaint with Three.

 

Hi and thanks for your reply. Much appreciated. This is an extract from their website: ".... We've also set up a worldwide data roaming limit of £49 per month to stop you spending too much. We'll send you texts to let you know when you've reached 80% and 95% of this £49 limit." I did not receive any such text.

 

I have sent my letter today quoting the above and asking them to give me time to consider the bill (I've received yet another letter from a debt collector) and also to tell me what damage they may have done to my credit status. Good idea about a deadlock letter. I'll do that when they write back. Thanks.

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You will probably find they ignore a request for a deadlock letter. Customer services staff probably don't know what it is, or understand their industry rules. It is a requirement to issue one when a dispute becomes deadlocked and the matter can then be referred to the Ombudsman for adjudication. Unfortunately the latter requires a 8 week period before action will be taken irrespective of whether a deadlock has been agreed. In the meantime they will continue to pursue you by whatever means. You can write to the debt collectors explaining that you dispute the debt and asking that they refer back to their client, but they may ignore it.

They will probably put a default on your credit rating with one of the 3 rating agencies, Equifax, Experion or CallCredit, unfortunately you won't know which and will have to check all three. This can be done quite easily as they are required by law to provide a basic personal credit report upon request and payment of a fee of £2. Apply for this in writing, their addresses are on their websites. You can also get online access to your own credit report on payment of a larger subscription, but sometimes the agencies have a free trial offer for a month which you can take out and cancel quite quickly. You may have difficulty in getting any defaults removed because you do owe money, only disputing the amount, but they don't last for ever (3 or 5 yrs, see agencies websites).

You must remember that helplines and customer services people have almost no training and are almost completely ignorant of the rules and legal requirements of the business in which they are working. They will also refuse to give their full names and think they can phone and write to Joe Public making threats and demands for money safe in their anonymity. I suggest you do everything in writing from the start, and refuse to talk to them on the phone, so that you can produce written evidence later.

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Hi Hector, thanks very much for your response. You are right. They replied to my letter but no mention of deadlock. They said they will stop the debt collectors letters and gave me till early Jan to pay up. They also said the £49 cap is for certain services and I was not in credit - which I think is a lie as there is no mention / t's and c's on their website. It's like talking to a brick wall. Don't know what to do. Maybe I'll email the CEO. I think I've seen his email address on this site. Any more advice for me? (I'll certainly continue written communication and will not ring them, though they keep on asking me to.)

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After checking the T&Cs about whether the cap applies only to EU or is worldwide you should write to them again asking the question specifically , and also ask to which specific services they say the cap applies (your last post). Make sure they are contravening their own T&Cs before refusing to pay up. It might be wise to say that you will gladly pay what is reasonably due but that you are questioning the total amount they are asking. Ask for a detailed breakdown of the amount. Get it all in writing because you may wish to ask the Ombudsman for an adjudication when the 8 weeks are up and will need written evidence. Retain copies of the letters you send, this is important evidence that you have acted reasonably and made efforts to resolve the dispute with the supplier. Ask that letters they write in reply should have a full name signature so they can be held to account.

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