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Ongoing problem with Bulldog


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My daughter singed up for BulldogBroadband and phone with a man at Tescos in June.

When she signed up for Bulldog the man said he needed her bank details to take £1 out just to verify her identity. As she gets paid at different times each month she stressed the inportance to him that she did not want to pay by Direct Debit. She has three small DD's come out at the beggining of every month and she always makes sure the money is in thee bank.

He assured her that it was not a DD and she would get a bill each month which she could pay how she liked. As she gets paid at different times each month by chequeShe insistes the man did not give her a copy of anything. A week or so later she got her modem and went online.

6 weeks later they took £49 out of her bank account (abbey National) by DD a day before her others came out, the result was over £100 in bank charges.

She told the bank she had not authorised the DD but they said to take it up with Bulldog. On my advice she wrote a letter to Abbey National telling them she had not authorised any payments to Bulldog and they were not to pay any DD's to them in the future, No more money has been taken.

She phoned Bulldog and they said she had authorised the DD, she asked them for a copy of the authorisation they said they would send it.

Two weeks later had not got it so phoned again, said she had never even received a bill so how could they take money anyway. They said the bill had gone to her Bulldog email address, she said she didn't have an email address and on checking the woman agreed and said she would get back to her.

2 weeks later not heard anything so she sent a letter, didn't hear anything again so sent a letter recorded delivery, it was never signed for and PO sent a book of first class stamps as compensation as they 'could not confirm delivery'.

Sent a letter Special delivery complaining about the lack of communication and asking for a copy of the authorisation again. This was signed for the next day. After a week still no contact so she phoned again, they denied receiving the letter so I faxed them a copy of the specail Delivery slip and a copy of the signature which you can get online with SD.

Still heard nothing back.

I phoned Bulldog today pretending to be my daughter and they said she did authorise a DD. I asked for a copy of the authorisation and they said they do not keep it. I asked for a copy of the agreement she signed and they said they did not have that either. They said My daughter owed £249 (possible as they have never received a payment since the first one) and I said she had never received a bill so how could she pay and untill the issue over the bank charges was sorted she would not pay them. They said the bills were sent to her bulldog email address, I said she didn't have one in fact she did not even have an account number as she had had no communication from them at all, at this point she said 'well you'll have to check online' and put the phone down on me.

 

Sorry its so long winded but where do we go from here, communication with Bulldog is impossible, she can't pay bills she is not getting and they will not prove she authorised a DD

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Has your daughter been using the bulldog internet service? If she did, then she would be liable for a certain amount of the charges (i.e. the monthly subscription cost x the number of months) but that would be it.

 

If they cannot produce a copy of the agreement or contract, then really what are they trying to enforce? Make sure you have something in writing which states that they cannot/will not provide a copy of the agreement and switch providers! That way, if they ever try to legally enforce a payment, then you have evidence for them to say they have nothing to enforce as they are essentially saying there is no contract. But I would advise paying what is owed and going off to someone else.

 

There are many people on here who have had problems with Bulldog in the past, and a few of my friends are also suffering after receiving payment demands after bulldog 'forgot' to take the payment.

 

Also, OFT guidelines state that if a direct debit is taken without authorisation then the consumer can claim the 'full and immediate refund' which is promised under the direct debit guarantee from the bank, rather than Bulldog. This is not well known to the public or to employee's of the bank, but they hate it and will fob you off until they're blue in the face but it is very true - the bank HAVE to refund you any money taken in error through a DD. Need proof? Go here:

 

Direct Debit - Your rights

  • Haha 1

Lived through bankruptcy to tell the tale! Worked in various industries and studied law at university. All advice is given in good faith only :)

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Thanks you Chesham, the link about Dd's was very helpful.

Recently my daughter had an unauthorized DD taken from her account from Sky, she told Abbey National the DD was not hers but they said she had to take it up with SKy. Sky were very helpful on the phone and said they thought the mistake could be either an error by them or an error by the person taking out Sky in putting 1 digit in wrong of the account number (all Abbey sort codes are the same). She advised my daughter to contact the police while they investigate themselves just so the police are aware in case it turns out it was a deliberate act of fraud though they thought it very unlikely. Me daughter did this and took a copy of the incident sheet to the bank. The bank immediately recalled the DD to Sky.

While she was there she showed them all the letters she had written to Bulldog saying she had never authorized the DD and which were unanswered. The bank recalled the original DD as well.

She is still left with the fact that because the DD was paid in the first place she had to pay over £100 in bank charges. Who is liable for this, the bank (they will not budge), Bulldog or my daughter.

 

Bulldog have made it clear she signed up for a 12 month contract and she has to keep the service for 12 months. They have also made it clear she has to pay them. She does not dispute this but she has never received a bill, Bulldog keep saying the bills have gone to her email address but each time admit she has not got an email address. She is not going to hand over money with no bill.

 

Bulldog will not deal with this issue over the DD payment that caused her the charges, or send her a bill in the post, they just insist every time bills are sent to the email address "oh yes I see you havn't got one we will look into it and get back to you" which they never do.

 

How can we make them send the copy of the agreement she signed preferably with the DD details if they simply refuse to answer any mail including a special delivery letter that we have a copy of the signature.

We seem to be going round in circles, same letters, same phone calls, same answers and getting nowhere.

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1. Bank Charges are unlawful penalties; for how to claim these back see www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum

 

1a. Get the message - stop phoning them as it's pointless.

 

2. Write to bulldog saying that the amount owed is in dispute and that they may not pursue enforcement action until the dispute is resolved. Secondly tell them that you can confirm that you have not received a bill from them at any time, that you have no email address, and you immediately require a paper copy of their bill(s).

 

3. In the same letter, demand (a) A copy of the Direct Debit Authorisation (which they MUST keep by Law) (b) A signed copy of the service agreement/contract and © a full copy of the Terms and Conditions under which they are operating your account.

 

Now - this is where it might get sticky. If you have agreed to the T&Cs and they say that you will have an email address and that bills will only be forwarded to you via that email address then you have no excuse for not receiving and/or paying the bills. If they do NOT make you receive the bills by email, then you're fine. Let me know how you get on.

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Thanks Tom I will get her to write again and send it special delivery again. Will let you know if they get back to her this time.

 

I have read the info re bank charges being unlawful. My daughter tried to open bank accounts with Barclays and TSB early in the year and both refused. She has never had credit and there is nothing on her credit file except the Abbey acount which has always been in good standing and a couple of searches, maybe that is why. She is worried that if she makes a fuss with Abbey National they may close her acount and as she gets paid by cheque this would make life impossible. She was hoping she would have some redress with Bulldog re the charges.

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My daughter tried to open bank accounts with Barclays and TSB early in the year and both refused. She has never had credit and there is nothing on her credit file except the Abbey acount which has always been in good standing and a couple of searches, maybe that is why. She is worried that if she makes a fuss with Abbey National they may close her acount and as she gets paid by cheque this would make life impossible. She was hoping she would have some redress with Bulldog re the charges.

 

 

Yes, Abbey will close her account. I would urge her to apply for an account with either First Direct or Smile, and IF it is refused, get her to reply to the letter and ask for a manual review of that decision. (Most of these decisions are automated and the computer is confused by an exemplary credit record). A manual review will also throw up any "bad" references or associations on her credit record which may give a clue as to why she's being refused - however I have every confidence that a manual review will see her having an account opened without any issues.

 

If she is refused after a manual review, I would strongly advise spending £6 and getting her Credit Reference files from Experian, Equifax and CallCredit. She will then be able to SEE what might be causing it.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to bring this up again but its still not settled. My daughter did as Tom said in #4. Requested the info by special delivery and it was signed for on 16th December.

 

She received a bill through the post from Bulldog last week for £437, this is a FINAL REMINDER before the account will be passed to a debt collector / baliffs. She is still able to use her phone but her broadband connection has been cut off.

They did not suppply a copy of the agreement she signed or the DD instruction.

The threat of Baliffs has sent her into panic mode as my neice had a bad experience with them a couple of months ago.

She is now trying to deal with them on the phone again but still not getting anywhere but has made an offer to pay the debt in installments.

They are denying any contact from her by letter even though she has given them the SD tracking numbers of both letters and you can still see online that they were delivered nad print a copy of the signature of the person who signed for them.

She has asked for an itemised bill - they have said they will email it to her, She does not have a bulldog email address (they admit this), even if she did have bulldog have blocked her internet access so she could not read it.

They are insistent they will not send an itemised bill in the post. They are only sent by email. On top of this they have said her monthly charge is £33, she signed up with an offer of £9.99 a month and they are saying they have never had a £9.99 a month offer. (Her previous supplier was only £25 a month she would not have signed up to a dearer one).

 

Would it be best for her to go to Citizens advice or something. Would they be able to do something because shes tried everything herself and is just going round in circles.

 

Thanks

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First of all, as long as she used the words "This account is in dispute" like I said, they MUST NOT pass it to a debt collector, and she need not deal with the DCA if they do; she has simply to write to them confirming that she will enter into no correspondence with them whatever as she has disputed the account with Bulldog and she has no contractural obligation to anyone BUT Bulldog. Bulldog have NO ACCESS to Bailiffs as only a Court can instruct them.

 

Personally I would advise her to write to Bulldog inviting them to take her to court. She should prepare a defence beginning right now. Log everything she can remember with dates, times etc where possible and just as much detail as can be remembered if not.

 

This is NOT going round in circles; it's getting close to the point where it can be resolved once and for all IN HER FAVOUR. They are bullying her and I'm pretty sure she doesn't want to allow that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been with Bulldog for over 30 months, and they only accept payment by DD from a bank account or via debit card. Having said that, their customer service will accept credit card payments.

 

Their service, in my experience, has been pretty good, but their customer service is a nightmare. They have two call centres in the NE of the country and what seems to be the largest one is in Malta - those people are hopeless beyond belief.

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As has been suggested I would write to Bulldog specifically outlining in bold letter that the "ACCOUNT IS IN DISPUTE" as you believe the product was mis-sold to you outlining what the salesman said about taking the £1 DD to confirm your identity.

 

Furthermore I would make an S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) request to bulldog for the documents they hold on you, ammending the bank template to specifically outline you want a copy of the contract that was signed, and any direct debit paperwork.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/bank-templates-library/516-1-data-protection-act.html

 

MOST IMPORTANT KEEP COPIES OF ALL YOUR PAPERWORK - BOTH TO AND FROM BULLDOG.

Advice offered by ENRON is without prejudice and is for your judgement as to whether to take it. You should seek the assistance or hire of a solicitor or other paid professional if in doubt.

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