My father, 92, was admitted to a dementia care home early last September. I have Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
I rang TalkTalk to cancel his account but they refused because I wasn’t the account holder and didn’t have his password.
I was passed around, each time explaining that my father had no memory of even having a TalkTalk account.
Frustrated: One reader has been unable to convince TalkTalk to close his dementia-suffering father’s account despite having Lasting Power of Attorney
They were intransigent. So I stopped the payments from September 23, thinking he would be charged for one more month, then his account would be closed.
But TalkTalk continued to charge my father and in November a letter was sent to my mother’s address from a debt agency, demanding payment of £99.50.
I tried again to cancel his account but failed. Eventually, after several phone calls, I was told the account would be closed on January 3.
I have sent copies of the LPA, with a doctor’s letter confirming my father’s diagnosis, to TalkTalk and the debt agency, with a request to direct all further contact to me, not my mother.
But my mother recently received a bill for £128.50 — the previous charges, plus a further £29 up to January 10.
There is still no confirmation that the account is closed.
On December 21, I received a text from TalkTalk saying they had been unable to contact me and would close the complaint in 14 days if I didn’t contact them — even though they had spoken to me the previous day.
R. H., Hants.
Yours isn’t the first letter I have received complaining about TalkTalk in such circumstances.
TalkTalk admits that when you rang on September 11, the call was not completed correctly.
When you made contact again, the LPA had yet to be registered with Talktalk (not surprising, if they hadn’t carried through your previous request properly).
At this stage TalkTalk says your request as an emergency welfare case was registered and a ‘cease order’ was placed. So why did your mother get a further bill?
TalkTalk says it refunded £70.50 to cover charges since the Power of Attorney was received.
You agreed to pay a final bill of £58. Apparently the September bill for £29 had already been produced before you asked to cancel, and there was also a final month’s cancellation notice charge.
I don’t believe you should be paying a penny, given how you’ve been treated. This is just poor customer service.
You have YOUR say
Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some about our article on investing in books.
I have made a bit of money selling off my old book collection. They were mainly out-of-print military and aviation texts.
I did OK, but it’s pretty hard to find anything worth more than a few pounds in charity shops nowadays.
B. B., N. Lincs.
My wife used to run an online bookshop and once bought a batch of 500 books for £20.
Going through them, she found a Samuel Beckett signed by the writer himself. She sold it for £320 but had to pay for transportation and storage.
A. R., Beds.
You can make good money by finding first editions of modern works.
Most people wouldn’t think that a first edition of On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan would sell for much, but they can be priced at over £200 and the value is bound to increase.
P. R., Aruba.
I like browsing charity shops to buy my books and CDs, but I am not a collector or interested in them from an investment point of view.
However, I have noticed some fellow shoppers check ISBN numbers on their phones to look for bargains.
J. D., Kidderminster.
I have a book signed by horror writer James Herbert, but he has included a personal message.
Once I got home from the signing, I saw several people were already flogging their books on eBay. I won’t be selling mine, though.
M. M., Manchester.
I found a full set of James Bond first editions at a jumble sale in the 1990s. I only bought Thunderball for 50p because I liked the dust jacket.
I went on to sell it for £250, but I’m sure the full set would have been worth thousands now.
G. D., by email.
Like many others, I suspect I don’t have any books worth more than I originally paid for them.
But a book can still be valuable as a way of escaping everyday life, even if it is worth just 20p.
J. S., Sheffield.
In January 2017 we were persuaded to move to Green Star Energy, which said we would save £400 a year.
We told the rep we met while out shopping that we had smart meters.
Green Star did not communicate with us in any way until August 2017, when we received an estimated bill for nearly £700.
A month later we received a second invoice for £850.
I queried the extra £150, as this seemed excessive in summer.
We have been trying to resolve the issue but the only communication we have had is a further invoice for £1,400.
N. B., Cardiff.
Green Star Energy — which has since been taken over by Shell Energy — based its initial estimates on usage figures provided by your previous supplier.
Shell Energy apologises for the delays in addressing your concerns and has credited your account with £75 as a goodwill gesture.
You moved your electricity account from Shell in October but it still supplies your gas.
Straight to the point
Criminals accessed my Amazon account last August and ordered a watch for almost £400.
My credit card provider recalled the money but Amazon is now chasing me for the money and has blocked my account until I repay it.
D. C., by email.
Amazon unfroze your account the same day I flagged your complaint. It refused to explain to me what had gone wrong but said it had ‘put things right’.
You told me the retailer had finally apologised and offered you £100 credit and a hamper as a goodwill gesture.
Catalogue retailer Easylife is refusing to refund me for a security light which stopped working after a day.
It says the light needed to be returned within two weeks but I was out of the country.
A. A., St Albans, Hertfordshire.
I reminded Easylife that under consumer law, customers are entitled to an automatic refund if they return faulty goods within 30 days.
You then have a further six months to demand a repair or replacement — or a refund if this is not possible.
Easylife has now agreed to refund you £9.99 for the light and an extra £20 for its removal.
HMRC has fined me £2,500 for filing my tax returns late for the past six years. I told the taxman I was not self-employed during this period but HMRC says it has no record of this.
R. N., by email.
A 2018 rule change means company directors must file tax returns. You didn’t know this and didn’t receive HMRC’s letters because it didn’t have your correct address.
HMRC has now asked you to complete tax returns for the years you were company director and cancelled the penalties. You will also receive a £1,000 rebate for overpaid tax.
Back in 2000, I took out a mortgage with Cheltenham & Gloucester.
In August I wrote to Lloyds, which has taken over its mortgage book, to see if I had been sold PPI. I enclosed all relevant documents but have yet to receive a response.
B. H., Christchurch, Dorset.
Lloyds says you wouldn’t have been eligible for PPI because you were 62 when you took out the mortgage and the age limit was 60. It did write to you, but it sounds as if this response was lost in the post.
My brother-in-law died on September 24 last year and we wanted to get the money back from his car insurer, Autonet.
We sent a death certificate on October 8 and the policy was cancelled. On October 15 we received a cheque for £510.89, made out to his executors.
We returned this, because we did not think we could deposit it as his account was frozen.
On November 28 we phoned the company, to be told a new cheque would be sent to his widow.
On December 4 I called again but gave up after 15 minutes on hold. I called again on December 14, to be told the money had been returned to the account that had paid it.
On December 16, I received an email asking for my brother-in-law’s address and date of birth.
On December 20 I received a copy of his bank account showing that £524.61 had been paid to Autonet on September 24.
Mrs C. J., Newport.
This was a straightforward misunderstanding but it highlights how companies need to put as much effort as possible into making things simple.
Autonet followed standard procedure in sending you a cheque made out to the executors of the deceased person.
It is normal practice to set up an executor account into which such cheques can be deposited and from which bills can be paid.
When you asked for an alternative form of payment, Autonet sent the money to your brother-in-law’s bank account — but it showed as ‘Atlanta-1’, so you didn’t spot it.
Autonet says in future it will make sure it tells people to look out for this name when it is making repayments. It has also sent you £75 and some flowers as a goodwill gesture.
- Write to Tony Hazell at Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email [email protected] — please include your daytime phone number, postal address and a separate note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Tony Hazell. We regret we cannot reply to individual letters. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.
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