ASK TONY: Siri, why is Tesco still charging me for a mobile phone that was stolen five years ago?
More than five years ago my mobile was stolen. I reported this to Tesco Mobile and ended the £15 per month contract. In December I noticed two direct debits to the firm.
It turns out I’ve been paying for the lost phone ever since, as the direct debit was not cancelled.
Tesco says it has now closed the account and everything is fine, but I want my cash back.
N. L., Hayle, Cornwall.
Snub: Tesco Mobile refused to refund a reader who was charged for a phone he reported stolen five years ago, despite him staying loyal to the company to buy his replacement mobile
I’ve hit a brick wall on this one. But I think Tesco Mobile is so out of order that I’ve decided to run this as the main letter anyway.
Here’s what it says: In February 2015 you took a two-year Anytime Upgrade Flex deal, with one contract for the phone and one for the airtime.
You reported your phone stolen in May 2015 when you were still in contract. Your payments for the phone continued for two years until the device was paid for — then these payments stopped. Fair enough.
Your airtime services were transferred to a new SIM and you used these until January 2017. But when you then upgraded to a new deal, Tesco Mobile kept charging you for your old contract as well.
Tesco says it does not automatically cancel an old contract without a request from the customer.
But you are still a customer, so when you upgraded it would be reasonable to assume your existing contract would stop.
Instead you have been paying £15 per month for a contract Tesco could see you weren’t using. This adds up to £720 over four years.
Tesco says it sent monthly bill notifications and annual statements without you raising any concerns.
That’s a valid point – we do all have a duty to read statements and bills and make sure we know what is leaving our bank account.
It says some people choose to have two contracts and it won’t budge. This is a shame, as offering you perhaps half the money back wouldn’t have made much of a dent in its £551 million pre-tax profits.
It offered a goodwill gesture which you turned down. You are pursuing this with Ombudsman Services. Good luck.
I pay off my credit card two weeks early so why am still being charged late fees?
Since October I’ve had problems with my Jaja credit card over late payment fees.
I told its customer services that my credit card payments were made by bank transfer or cheque at least two weeks prior to the due date.
Jaja waived the fee twice, and sent a very apologetic letter. Since then I have received a late payment fee, default notice and a reduction of my credit limit, then a replication of the apology.
In January, I requested a final settlement figure. I paid £187.75 only to later discover that Jaja had refunded me the same amount.
C. H, Hastings, Sussex.
It seems the problem may have been at least partly self-inflicted.
When making a payment you need to use the 16-digit card reference number. The one you used was not correct.
Jaja says it tries to match details in these cases but this is not always possible. The money is then returned to the bank account.
However, Jaja admits it didn’t explain to you that this was the problem so you continued to make the mistake.
It has waived the outstanding balance, amended your credit file and restored your limit, so you decided to stay with the firm.
Straight to the point
Last year I took out Co-op car insurance because it came with a £50 voucher, but I have never received it.
L. C., Melton Mowbray, Leics.
A spokesman blames the delay on an administration error. You have been sent a £100 voucher as an apology.
I’m new to investing but don’t want to miss out on using my £20,000 Isa allowance.
If I opt for a ready-made portfolio with one company for this tax year, can I open an account with a different firm in the next tax year?
T. M., by email.
Yes, you can open one stocks Isa this year and another the next.
Sarah Coles, of Hargreaves Lansdown, adds: ‘You could also open an Isa with the firm you want to use in future, and just park the money in cash.
‘This will protect your allowance without you having to rush into any decisions.’