ASK TONY: TalkTalk won’t let me cancel my care home dad’s phone bill

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.

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