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Hi,

 

Hope someone can offer some advice.

 

I took out a 24 month mobile phone contract with mobilephonesdirect in January 2010 which offered 3 months free insurance. This then without my knowledge converted into a £5.99 per month direct debit being taken out of my account by CityMain administrators. I lost my phone at the end of January 2012 and upon contacting Vodafone was told to report it to the police and also the insurance company. Once I found out that the CityMain direct debits were for phone insurance I contacted them and was then told that My claim was turned down because of the following exclusions in the T&C's:

Loss where circumstances of the loss cannot be clearly identified ..

Theft of the Telephone left unattended in a public place to which the public has regular access..

 

Now I reported that I had either lost the phone at home (I have 2 small children) or at the break room at work (not a public place).

 

Since then (Feb 2012) they continued to take the direct debits, even though this phone was reported as lost, until I cancelled it a couple of months ago once I realised (moved house).

 

I tried to send them a letter similar to the one MPH2k9 from here sent to them here (link removed-Insurance-x-3!!!) but when they eventually got back to me after copying in what I thought were there director, I received the following reply:

"As the direct debit from your account is collected by our insurance partner Citymain, we are obliged to discuss any request for a refund with Citymain. Any refund would then be paid by Citymain.

 

You have asked for a refund on the basis that you were not aware of the insurance policy being put in place. Citymain have advised us that a claim was made against your insurance account in 2012 and although unsuccessful, you spoke with Citymain several times during this process. They have therefore concluded that as you put in a claim with Citymain and spoke with them on several occasions, that you were aware of the policy.

 

Unfortunately, neither Citymain or MPD can authorise a refund on this occasion."

 

I then replied with the following:

"My request for a refund is not due to the fact that I was unaware of the insurance policy, but the fact that this policy was mis-sold, unlawfully disclosing my bank details to a third party company and that I did not agree or accept any terms which would have initated a direct debit process with a third party.

 

As you have not been able to refund this money then I have no choice but to take further legal action against you to recover these losses. This will also be referred to the financial ombudsman service with all my evidence and correspondence."

 

To which I have had no response as yet.

 

I feel that I have been ripped off by this company and wish to try and recover the money that they have took for doing nothing.

 

Should I make a claim in the small claims court or would it be best to refer to the financial ombudsman service first and on what grounds should I base it?

I feel that I'm not going to get anywhere with this but refuse to let them get away with it.

 

If i've missed anything out or need to explain more then please let me know.

 

Thanks

 

Daz

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In order for them to apply the DD to your account, you must have provided bank details when you took out the free trial. This suggests that they must have informed you of the terms of the free trial - and that plus the fact that you tried to make a claim makes me think that you don't have a whole lot of chance on the misselling angle.

However, was the phone identified by its imei number? I expect so. On that basis, once the phone had been stolen then there was clearly no further insurable risk and they should have cancelled the insurance and discontinued the DD. You need to check that the insurance did cover that specific phone. If it did then I would start off by calling the bank and invoking the DD guarantee back to the time the phone was stolen.

 

Secondly - I am surprised that you haven't pressed to enforce the insurance claim. On the basis of what you tell us here, they have no grounds for refusing the claim.

 

If I were going to sue them in the county court then I would sue them on the claim and for the refund of money taken since the loss.

Don't bother to go to the FOS. If your details are all correct that you have a very good chance in the County Court. If your information is correct then you could sue them in contract and also under ICOBS

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Thanks for the quick reply.

 

I have had no response to my previous email as yet.

 

I gave bank details for the service provider (Vodafone) as far as I knew but wasn't clear that the "3 months free insurance" that was automatically added to my basket would roll into a monthly insurance payment.

 

I wasnt asware of the insurance until I contacted Vodafone as soon as I lost the phone and they told me to call my insurance company and to check with mobilephonesdirect who told me I was insured with their partner "CityMain Administrators". (A couple of years prior to this I worked for a company that went into administration and assumed that the payments were to do with that)

 

The phone IMEI was the original that would have been covered by this insurance. They highlighted the following paragraphs in the "Certificate of Mobile Phone Insurance" when detailing why the underwriter will be unable to be of any assistance:

"Theft of the Telephone left unattended in a public place or a place to which the public has regular access."

"Loss where circumstances of the loss cannot be clearly identified i.e. where You are unable to confirm the time and place of loss."

"You and your Immediate Family are required to take all reasonable precautions at all times to protect the Telephone against theft, loss or damage."

 

I did telephone after receiving the letter but didnt think at the time that there was a lot I could have done. I am hoping it is still not too late to do something about it, but want to make sure I know which route to pursue.

 

Who should I be taking to a small claims court, Mobilephonesdirect or CityMain administrators?

 

Thanks

 

Daz

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  • 3 months later...

just thought i would let you all know i sent an email to citymain, that i had found on here (ill post an edited version below) and within a week, no letter but £80 back into my account. The insurance was from a phone i got years ago, so it was well worth posting the email off to them. I didnt even know i'd had it until i ran into financial difficulty and had to cancel it!

___________________________________

 

To Whomever it may concern,

 

I recently noticed a direct debit on my old Barclays account that I had previously thought was related to banking charges as I hold a premium account with my bank that covers me for travel insurance/breakdown coverage/etc, however on further investigation has turned out to be for mobile phone insurance with yourselves. I was advised that it related to a Phone from 2003/4 and to also cancelled when i had run into financial difficulty. However I am most concerned by these charges and have only become more so the further I've looked into it.

 

Today I have gone through all of my bank statements and paperwork from my phones as I am fastidious with any bill or contract information that comes through, and can find no information relating to a policy with yourselves or any other company in case it turned out you'd changed names or had been merged with any other groups. I have nothing - no copies of letters advising me a policy was taken out, no details with O2 whom I had contracts with.

 

As part of this search I have come across numerous cases on the internet whereby other customers of yourselves have found themselves in similar circumstances and have been paying for a service they have not signed up for. At £4.99 a month going back to 2003 you can see why this would concern me, as I have no record of such a policy nor have I gone forth and sort one out.

 

Please can you get back to me with details on repaying me my money plus any interest owed, or I will be taking this to matter to my bank to reclaim these direct debit charges, as well as the Financial Ombudsmen to notify them of this.

 

If you need any further information from me to resolve this please let me know - I have included my address details below to help you find any details on your system that might relate to this matter.

 

Kind regards,

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