Debt Questions forum. General questions on debt issues.

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By sam414
#329473 Hi, hoping for some advice. I have been in dispute with Three (phones) over a charge they applied for damage to a loan phone I had in September while mine was being repaired. I felt the charge was too high and sent them a letter asking them to justify it, complete with several quotes showing the cost of the repair work needed was considerably less elsewhere. They never replied and I kept chasing and they said they had replied and would re-post the letter, and eventually I got something through that says the charges are set by the phone manufacturer (HTC) so I wrote back again asking for evidence of this. I got a weird text message saying can I call them and when I did, they wanted to just confirm if I wanted the response by email or letter, but the guy couldn't tell me what it said. I asked for it in the post, but a month on it hasn't come.

Meanwhile my contract with Three expired and I moved to a different network in November, and in December I had a debt collection letter through chasing for the money they still say I owe for this repair work. They also added on about another £20 which I think is for the final month of my contract (I cancelled my direct debit before the big charge could be taken) but I can't be sure what its for as I cannot log in to my Three account anymore since I left them. I've written asking for a final paper bill and have not had that either.

So I don't feel I've had a proper answer to my request about the fee, and its surprised me that I've had no further letters or calls from their debt collection team chasing the amount. Could it be they've just wiped my account but not bothered to let me know? Should I chase them about it more or just leave it? I don't want to leave it then months later find Im still being chased or they're trying to add something to my credit rating. Surely they have to send more than 1 letter before doing that? They have really tried to ignore me and the people on the phone have always been useless. I would be happy to pay the outstanding balance of my account but haven't been sent the bill and I refuse to pay this repair charge (£95) but am annoyed they have not shown an interest in resolving the matter amicably. COnsumer Direct have said pay under protest and take them to court but I can't afford to! I just wonder if since the correspondence seems to have stopped, this will just go away now? :?:

Thanks for any advice!
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By TalbotWoods
#329583 You really do need to address this, especially as the amount may well include the final months amount.

I would suggest that you write to their customer services, asking for a copy of the fianl bill, and make it clear in the letter that you want to sort this matter out.

Ask them to detail:

The finale months billing amount
The evidence of the cost of the alleged repairs.

You MUST do this in writing, and NOT on the phone, as if they take it to court you will not be able to prove a phone call, but you can sure as hell prove a recorded letter, which then legally puts the debt into dispute.

Once you receive a reply if you do not contest the fianl months bill then pay it, this shows a willingness to pay what is legitimately due, plus as this is the credit part of the bill they wont be able to screw up your credit file.

If you do not address thsi then 3 have a habit of whacking a default on your CRFs which WILL make it difficult to get credit in the future.

Hope this explains your next steps

Tim
By sam414
#329703 Hi Tim

Ok thanks. I should clarify that I have written to them twice now - the first letter was to send them the quotes for the repair work (it was a cracked screen, quotes from £35-50 and their fee was £125 with a 'good will' gesture of reducing to £95) and ask them to explain why their charge was so much higher; then when I finally got a written letter from them after much chasing, the one that said they take their charges from the phone manufacturer, I wrote back to the 'customer service advisor' named in the letter, at the address it came from (different to their head office in Glasgow) asking for the evidence that HTC set the charges not Three, and that's when I got asked to ring them and they asked if I wanted the next reply by email or letter, and having said a letter, I've never had anything further. So I have definitely put it in writing twice what I am asking for, and once asking for a final bill to clarify what the additional £20 is for and if thats for my final month or something else. I even explained to them I could no longer access my online account as they had removed this when I moved network!

I also figured they record all calls, surely? And I believe they have to archive them somewhere, and a Subject Access Request would mean they'd have to find all the calls I've had with them and send me recordings of them? So that would be further evidence though obviously the letters are safer in case they haven't got these or wont send them (we deleted them Guv, honest! :D )

What really interested in me in your reply was that this:

plus as this is the credit part of the bill they wont be able to screw up your credit file.


Are you saying if I dont pay the £95 for the repair charge, they can't touch my credit rating? That would make this a lot simpler!
User avatar
By TalbotWoods
#329723 3's customer service is second to none, well actually none is better!

The Credit Report element of this is the final months NORMAL bill, which you suspect is the additional £20, the £95 part is not part of the credit agreement, not that that will stop them showing it as a debt!

If it has been passed to collections, then you may not hear for a while, eventually though they will pass it to an active DCA, and some of these do actively chase, and do actively go for CCJs.

If you listen to their automated greeting about recording calls you will find they use the term 'may record your call' and if they follow the normal pattern it will have been deleted by now! Remember there is no actual requirement for them to archive calls, so all the system will show is that either they contacted you or you contacted them, even then is the operator didn't put notes onto the system, then there may be no record of what the call was about, and beleive me if they did recorded it it may just be redecorated as "account Query"

Ok what you need to do it start the Complaints procesdure by once again makeing your request, in writing and by recoreded delivary to their complaint department, at

Three Customer Complaints
Hutchison 3G UK Ltd.
PO Box 333
Glasgow
G2 9AG

Ask them to detail:

The finale months billing amount
The evidence of the cost of the alleged repairs.

If they do not respond then you have the evidence to escalate this, after the relevant period, but keep copies of all correspondence, etc as this may be needed by the Ombudsman Service.

You can find the complaints procedure here:

http://www.three.co.uk/Support/Contact_ ... aints_code

BUT make sure you do everything in writing and NOT ON THE PHONE

Tim
By sam414
#329733 Ok cool thanks. I did actually report the matter to the relevant Ombudsman and was disappointed to be told they couldn't help as the issue related to a repair charge and this falls outside what they can intervene with. This is why its such a pickle, as Three aren't answering the question (justifying this huge charge, probably because it really isn't justifyable and is a complete rip off!) so I refuse to pay. But an active DCA wont be interested in any of that so I will still be faced with interest being added. I dont mind contesting it in court if it really goes that far, but would like assurance that this particular 'debt' can't affect my credit rating? If it can then how do I stop it without going to court or paying?

I should also point out that I have, in writing, offered to match the lowest quote I sent them (£35) in order to bring the matter to a close, and this obviously hasn't been accepted. I assume this is a good thing to have done?!
By sam414
#330143 Hi, sorry to be a pain but can you confirm on the status of this repair charge - can it be something that could affect my credit rating or not as your first reply suggested not? I don't know what more I can do though having written to them asking what you said already and they just ignore me, but I have a sneaky feeling this won't just go away! :roll:
User avatar
By TalbotWoods
#330163 OK the repair part, should not affect your CRF, BUT if they lump it with the final credit part of the bill (you normal monthly amount) then it can.

If you pay only the monthly part, then in theory they can assign this to the repair bill and leave your monthly part unpaid, and a lot of companies are very good at doing this......

This is why you need to ask them to detail:

The finale months billing amount
The evidence of the cost of the alleged repairs.

If you have that then you can pay the relevant specified parts of the bills. If they don not reply then that can work for you as thsi will then be classed as a single credit bill as far as the Ombudsman is concerned.

You are right this will not go away, and unless you address it then you are risking your Credit files; by the way if you are already late in paying, then 3 may well be already reporting late payment, which is recorded on your CRFs for the next 6 years.

If you write to them and they ignore you, then you can report them to the relevant ombudsman, but ONLY after you have followed the correct complaint procedure. Before then they cannot and will not help or assist.
By sam414
#330943 Thanks, well I feel I have already written to them asking for both those things and haven't had a response so I will try following their complaints procedure now. Its just weird that the debt collection letters or phone calls have not been forth-coming other than the 1 letter back in December. :?
User avatar
By TalbotWoods
#332713 Hmmm

OK when you were writing to them back in December, did you do that under their complaints procedure, if not then all you have done is query the account and that time will not count towards the formal complaints time.

At this stage unless they have this registered as a complaint back in December, then they will not issue a deadlock letter, as there procedure doesn't start until a formal complaint is made, unfortunately from what you have intimated, I doubt they have this registered as a complaint.

Their procedure ( and the one laid down in law) is clear

Formal Complaint received ..... 14 days to try and sort it
Cant sort in in 14 day they then have up to 8 weeks to resolve this
If after 8 weeks they cant resolve this, then and only then do they have to issue a deadlock letter.
Then you can formally go to the ombudsman.

During this process they are not allowed to chase this debt.

If they do issue a deadlock letter, then and only then can the ombudsman become involved.
By sam414
#333353 Ok thanks, I'll see if they issue it or not, as Im not sure. I have written directly to the complaints department before but I didn't call it an official complaint so I dont know if they will have recorded it as such or not. If they don't issue it this time I'll just revert to the process as you suggest. They haven't been chasing me for the debt anyway which is why Im a bit puzzled by the whole thing!
By sam414
#335173 The latest is they contacted me to say the request has gone to the complaints team and they will need 14 (!) working days to decide whether they can issue me a Deadlock letter or not. I expect them not to but then I'll be pushing them on why I've had no correspondence apart from 1 letter in all this time and where the letter is they said would be sent when I rang them on Jan 22nd. I asked the girl on the phone if they can send me a copy of that letter as I never got it, and guess what? "Your file has gone to the complaints team so if we do that it means they won't be able to continue investigating your request for a Deadlock letter. We dont have those details here so we'd have to get your file back" - smells like a steamy pile of BS to me!! :lol:
By sam414
#336493 Hi again,

So I have had a letter today from their Maidenhead office. Im not sure if this in response to my request for a Deadlock letter as it doesn't mention anything about that. But the timing seems odd for it to be a reply to anything else as the last letter I sent them was in December.

This one is as vague and useless as the previous one, it doesn't answer my question as to why the charge is so high for repairing a cracked screen, nor does it include details of my actual account billing, it just says I owe £114.81 and interestingly, an offer to reduce this by £30 - progress you could call that!! That would still mean they want £65 for the repair work which is still more than any of the quotes I got for the same job so I am not happy to pay though.

There is an in-accuracy as well, as it references my offer and claims it was £30. It was actually £35, so I don't know if this matters but to me it says they are not even reading my correspondence correctly.

So still no answers! Where can I go now?! :shock:
User avatar
By TalbotWoods
#336693 As in my post above, you now need to follow the full compliant procedure, that way there is no 'mistake' about which letter they are responding to.

Make sure you make it clear that you are raising a formal complaint, and then carefully follow the procedure.

Once that is complete if they then issue a dead lock letter, or refuse to issue it, you can legitimately take the complaint to the ombudsman