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Are Disconnection Fees Recoverable from O2?


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In the same way that bank charges are?

 

My girlfriend says that she was paying an £80 disconnection (possibly reconnection) fee each time they cut her off for non-payment (possibly 2 or 3 times). It seems a bit harsh and i'm currently claiming from HSBC myself for penalties a lot smaller than that. I've also had T-Mobile reverse a £16.50 missed payment charge a few months ago when i gave them some stick down the phone.

 

I appreciate that i need to get some clarification from O2 as to exactly what they have charged and for what, but can anyone help?

 

Mr. Weasel

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If O2 are 'fining' her for her tardiness in paying off her bill, then there is scope to challenge it, however I'm assuming she's actually PAID the fee and would be asking for it back. Difficult, it is much easier and get charges waived, than expect them to to write a cheque in repayment. They could of course credit your account, but this doesn't happen often. You may have to initiate formal recovery if they refuse.

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She has paid it, yes, but that's no reason not to challenge them, is it?

 

I guess the krux is - is what they are doing regarding disconnection fees unlawful in the same way as bank charges?

 

I've got no qualms about taking them to court if that's what it takes.

 

I've already written a letter for her to sign requesting details of all bills (we've received no paper ones) since the contract began last June. After that do you think it's worth modifying a bank charges template and sending it to them to see what happens?

 

Regards, Weasel

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There's nothing illegal/unlawful about what they've done. The bank situation is slightly different as they just take the money. Your GF was asked for it and she paid if voluntarily, which is a major difference. If you ask for bills they can charge you a fair bit for each copy - it would be better sending a SAR, and with the cost limited to £10 they have to print off everything. This can form the basis for your subsequent refund request.

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There's nothing illegal/unlawful about what they've done. The bank situation is slightly different as they just take the money. Your GF was asked for it and she paid if voluntarily, which is a major difference.

 

There is no difference whatsoever. The bank charges issue is one of magnitude - the fact that the customer is afforded no opportunity to question the fees before they are deducted is secondary. As far as you are concerned, Orange took the decision to cut off the customer of their own will, whereas the customer did not get to decide whether or not to pay the fee.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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As far as you are concerned, Orange took the decision to cut off the customer of their own will, whereas the customer did not get to decide whether or not to pay the fee.

 

1) Pardon?

 

2) When did Orange get involved in an O2 matter?

 

3) You are not sent a bill 'on approval'. It reflects the charges the firm expects to recover from you for the services provided. There's no 'decision' by the customer required or expected. If you don't pay, the service is removed.

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1) Pardon?

 

Gesundheit. :confused:

 

2) When did Orange get involved in an O2 matter?

 

Ever since I started posting at around 4am. ;)

 

3) You are not sent a bill 'on approval'. It reflects the charges the firm expects to recover from you for the services provided. There's no 'decision' by the customer required or expected. If you don't pay, the service is removed.

 

Exactly. You are sent a bill with a "reconnection charge" on it. You don't pay that charge, you don't get your service switched back on. The customer is effectively under duress - pay your bill, and this arbitrary penalty which bears no relation to what you've cost us, or lose your service for good, and we'll charge you even more for the privilege of ending the contract. That doesn't allow the customer to do anything "willingly".

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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When you don;t pay the disputed amount, there's an element of negotiation ahead. However the OP DID pay this amount, so with the boot on the other foot, it's gonna be mighty difficult to reverse.

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When you don;t pay the disputed amount, there's an element of negotiation ahead. However the OP DID pay this amount, so with the boot on the other foot, it's gonna be mighty difficult to reverse.

 

Either way - the decision they were faced with was:

 

A) Pay their legitimate charges, dispute the penalties, spend three months trying to force their hand, without phone service in the meantime, eventually resorting to the courts, possibly having the contract terminated in your face (for alleged "non-payment" - as happened to me last month*) before you get there.

 

B) Pay their legitimate charges, pay the penalties, get phone service back, spend three months trying to get the money for the penalties back off them as cheque or credit, making use of your inclusive minutes to call them about it, eventually resorting to the courts.

 

Which you choose depends on the ethical stance you take. The universalist approach suggests A, considering B to be in bad faith; the utilitarian view would prefer B for greater benefit.

 

* A reminder that taking such action on a disputed account is part of the modern culture of can't-do-but-just-did-it-anyway.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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However the simple response is if you don;t agree with the charge, not pay it. You can always get another phone. Once they have your money, it's a hard slog to get it back.

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"You can always get another X" is a rather glib and unfairly judgmental thing to say. There may be any number of reasons why people do or don't move - chief among them being that they'd not be treated any better by any other company.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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Its easy enough for us to say here 'Well if you don't agree with the charges then dont pay them, get another phone' but unfortunately its not as easy as that.

 

I had a contract dispute with Vodafone over a similar issue of a massive reconnection fee which I refudsed to pay. I kept refusing to pay as there were other problems with the contract which are a little too long winded to go into here (check my thread).

 

The result of me using my consumer power to "ignore the charges and get another phone" was that they gave me a default meaning no credit, no mortgage, not even a mobile phone contract for 6 years and still had to pay the money, plus other fees and charges to a debt collection agency threatening court.

 

For all the money its cost me since, the original fee seems completely irrelevant now and I wiash I'd just paid

 

Therefore I would say number 2 was your best approach, pay the charges grudgingly and campaign to get them back.

 

Unfortunately becasue they are not regulated by Consumer credit act or anything like that they can give you a default for next to nothing and you'd probably find it much more difficult to remove.

 

Just my tuppence worth!

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This is the tail wagging the dog! Your complaint is not with Vodafone who (possibly correctly) issued their default because the contract terms were not met, but with the other lenders who treated Vodafone's default as being equivalent to a CCJ. That appear to be the real issue, and it is up to CRAs to ensure that defaults like these are treated with the disrespect they deserve - not looked at in the same light as court action. Even noting that these so-called 'defaults' are "satisifed" (as in court parlance) is a travesty.

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This is the tail wagging the dog! Your complaint is not with Vodafone who (possibly correctly) issued their default because the contract terms were not met, but with the other lenders who treated Vodafone's default as being equivalent to a CCJ.

 

I refer the honorable member to the point put forward in post 12 paragraph 1.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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How is that relevant to the point being made it my post? The issue is the misunderstanding and or missapplication of a an otherwise piddling 'default', and giving it a status that is unwarranted. Therefore, it is NOT Vodafone's action, but those of the OTHER firms who are treating a slap on the wrist as if it was bankrupcy. THAT's where the problem lies, not with the original default - not even three slaps and a stern warinng from the CRA.

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THAT's where the problem lies, not with the original default - not even three slaps and a stern warinng from the CRA.

 

Again, it's easy enough to say that, but telling people how things should be does not help them deal with how things are.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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But hang on - that's no way to bring about change. If consumers are being bullied in this way (and I cannot think of a more apt expression) then this 'private system' of reputation dismemberment needs to be addressed, not bow to the bully and let them get away with it. Just as we complain about unfair DDM fees, why is nobody interested in the way these defaults are being manipulated? They certainly should be.

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But hang on - that's no way to bring about change.

 

If bringing about change means going without a home, electricity, hot water, gas, a phone or a job while you do it, go right ahead - we'll have a brew waiting for you when you're done. In the meantime, those of us who can't do without such luxuries as a home and a job will have to settle for cleaning up the damage later.

 

Anyway, if you get 1000 people to leave their phone company (substitute for bank/mortgage lender/utility company/etc. as appropriate), where do they go?

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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Either way - the decision they were faced with was:

 

A) Pay their legitimate charges, dispute the penalties, spend three months trying to force their hand, without phone service in the meantime, eventually resorting to the courts, possibly having the contract terminated in your face (for alleged "non-payment" - as happened to me last month*) before you get there.

 

B) Pay their legitimate charges, pay the penalties, get phone service back, spend three months trying to get the money for the penalties back off them as cheque or credit, making use of your inclusive minutes to call them about it, eventually resorting to the courts.

 

Which you choose depends on the ethical stance you take. The universalist approach suggests A, considering B to be in bad faith; the utilitarian view would prefer B for greater benefit.

 

* A reminder that taking such action on a disputed account is part of the modern culture of can't-do-but-just-did-it-anyway.

 

iv wondered about that part, assuming you dont want it terminated and have the account placed is in dispute, can you get a small claims injunction to have it re-instated (be it O2 phone or VM phone or broadband or any other consumer contract infact) ?.

 

how does one go about getting such an injunction ? ,and is this reserved only for the people that can afford to pay the barrister and court costs to try and get one in place within 24 hours, or access to the QC's home phone no. :rolleyes:

 

what would the wording be and any other relative info or thoughts, anyone?.

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Businesses are entitled to choose their customers, and are entitled to use any means they wish to do so. The "emergency injunctions" you speak of are reserved for instances where they are necessary to prevent harm or distress, such as in cases of domestic abuse, illegal eviction, etc.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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i ask because of this the other week, perhaps its different as its a commercial contract one would assume? but if thats the price they were paying and is right perhaps not?.

thinkbroadband :: When broadband fails: Business continuity

 

"

When broadband fails: Business continuity

 

Monday 30 April 2007 07:20:40 by Sebastien Lahtinen

 

Last week, a firm of mortgage advisers took BT to court for breach of contract relating to an accidental line cut by BT engineers. The company started experiencing problems about ten days earlier when the Internet connection of its London-based office was cut, causing a loss of thousands of pounds which they claim left home owners across London unable to complete their mortgage arrangements.

 

The County Court granted an emergency injunction ordering BT to re-instate the company's Internet connectivity without delay, despite BT's apparent claim that this was physically impossible.

 

The company is now re-connected to broadband and is pursuing a case for compensation. BT had expressed concerns that this might open the floodgates of similar cases. More information on the case can be found at ISPreview and TheRegister.

 

This raises an interesting issue about how critical broadband is to business these days. With the increasing use of VoIP platforms and online applications, the quality and availability of broadband is no longer simply a matter of convenience, but critical to the everyday operation of the business.

 

It does however beg the question, what do companies expect for £30-50/month? (There is no indication as to how much the above company spends on connectivity, or whether they have a BT TotalCare service on their line).

" more....

 

hmm i didnt read the other reg and ISPreview until just now, interesting.

 

BT Criticised by Court for Failing Customers

"Rob Killeen, founder of Capital Fortune, commented at the company's victory celebrations: “We have achieved our first landmark ruling for consumer protection. BT has been reminded that it cannot abuse its dominant market position and, in the future, it will be forced to respond efficiently when customers report problems.”"

 

elReg: BT slammed in broadband cut off battle | The Register

"

Independent broker Capital Fortune took out the emergency injunction against BT last Friday after workers accidentally cut off broadband to its London service centre on April 15. The injunction required BT to restore access immediately, which it did over the weekend, though its lawyers had earlier argued this was physically impossible.

 

BT challenged the injunction, fearing it might open the sluice gate for legal action from stranded broadband customers, but lost the fight this Wednesday when Capital Fortune's injunction was upheld in an interim judgement. The judge at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court ordered it to pay costs, and the case now moves onto a trial for substantive damages, set for sometime in summer."

 

"

"There was no judgement on whether BT was in breach of contract because the judge did not consider that.

 

Substantive proceedings will continue at a later date and it would be inappropriate for BT to comment further at this stage."

"

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It may well be different as in both cases, the companies could suggest that they were actively losing money from the lack of connectivity. Either way, if you want to go down this route, if you can't find anything on the subject anywhere else on the forums (try posting in General Consumer Issues for more eyes) you may well have to seek professional help.

HSBCLloyds TSBcontractual interestNew Tax Creditscoming for you?NTL/Virgin Media

 

Never give in ... Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. Churchill, 1941

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