Customers of UK operator 3 have started receiving text messages recommending they pay bills on time to avoid a late-payment fee - though the company tells us it has never charged anyone for failing to pay on time. The text message was bought to our attention by a reader, who contacted 3 but received confusing answers and …
The Unreal deal
The Real deal is full of errors. Take calls to 0762 numbers - they claim they're radio pagers which is news to mobile phone users on the Isle of Man. Admittedly 3 claim to charge a lot more than the International rate they actually charge - it's just off the Lancashire coast for Pete's sake - but it seems they just can't get their Real Deal agreement to match reality
Seriously, who doesn't pay their mobile bill by DD!?
T-mobile Payment failure charge
As a trainer for T-mobile I can tell you that this £5 for failed DD is a lot better than it was last year when it stood at £23.50. I must point out that the charge is only for failed DD/cheques not for paying late. Customer service policy is to never waive this charge. IMO £5 is a acceptable level of charge people should pay their bills on time as agreed.
Direct Debits are the worst invention in the world ever.
Not everyone gets paid regularly on the same day of every month.
I work the same days as all of you, i.e. 5 days a week sometimes more, but being a contractor i am often subject to delays on delays in receiving money. I can and do pay all my bills every month, but i do not want to risk bank charges and the associated hits to my credit rating if a DD hits when there is no money.
@ James Dunmore
I don't pay for anything by direct debit. stops those annoying bank errors in my disfavour.
RE: @direct debit
I too am a contractor with random pay dates.
One problem is that bills need to be paid, usually by a certain date regardless of how I have been paid. One of the points of contracting is that the increased rates are there to deal with things like late / random payments and unpaid times between contracts.
However, back to the point, what I did was to open a bank account purely for direct debits. It takes 1 month of jiggery-pokery initially to get the money in but after that as long as you pay the money in at some point during the month it does not matter when you get paid or when each direct debit is taken out.
You should have a pretty good idea as to what your DD outgoings will be so you can always check the account to make sure your outgoings will be honoured.
@Wayne, Regarding bank errors on DD, the bank is bound under the terms of the DD agreement to refund any errors. As long as you check your bills / payments (which you should) then if you find an error you just need to phone the bank and demand a refund. It is then up to them to chase it up and sort it out.
What is the problem??
You take out a mobile and sign a contract stating that you are going to pay this much on this date every month. If you want to do Direct Debit then fine, if not fine. I do not think that you should be charged extra for either, or given a discount if you choose one over the other. It should be the same price. But if you wish to pay late then why should they not charge you fees for it. By paying late it is your problem not thiers, they are in the business to make money not to dance around hoping someone pays a bill.
If you are suppose to get paid on the last day of every month, would you not expect the money by the last day. Would you not be upset if you are paid a couple of days late. Just becuase they are bigger does not mean they do not need the money as they do have a lot bigger bills to pay.
I don't want to sound rude, but you do realise that you can have both an overdraft facility on your account if you happen to be paid a day later than a DD goes out, and you can also call the company taking the direct debit and request which day of the month they take payment out on (for example, when I changed jobs, my pay date moved from the start of the month, to the end of the month, so I moved all the DD's to the 4th - problem solved).
@wayne tavitt DD's are guaranteed - (what Lee said) if money goes out in error, and you notice within X number of days, you can call you bank to reverse the DD and as part of the DD guarantee you'll get the money back then you can dispute the payment with the company whilst you in pocket (rather than trying to get it back on your next bill) .
Anyway - 3 are terrible - won't be with them once the 18month runs out....
I totally agree, £5 is fair enough especially when the likes of fixed landline operators like VM charge a customer £10 late payment fee which in my opinion is on the high side...
At the end of the day, I dont know anyone who doesnt have a DD for a mobile but in fairness you should pay your bill before the due date regardless - if its late its late and you should be charged, its not unfair for t-mobile its common business sense!!
I too pay for nothing by DD, but this isn't because of random pay dates (although I have those) or to avoid banking errors. There are two reasons (well one really, but two examples)
1. I die - you get nothing. Nada. My family don't need to run about trying to stop you all from taking money from a dead man
2. I emmigrate. - you get nothing. Nada. _I_ don't have to run around trying to stop you from taking money from me once I've left a country I won't come back to
Remember 10 years ago...
when, if you were 2 weeks late, you lost outgoing calls (which included voicemail) until you paid - with an extra £10 charge.
More than a month late, you were looking at full disconnection, with a c£30 reconnection fee - if they decided to allow you to reconnect. If you, or they, decided against reconnection, they'd chase you for any outstanding line rental on your contract period not completed.
(figures based on O2, or Cellnet (possibly BT Cellnet?) as it was at the time)
Like Andrew, I think things are definitely better now than they were!
@ Alan Parsons
I immigrated to Canada in May and I am still paying my direct debits (by choice). Cancelling is nothing more complicated than logging in to Internet Banking and selecting to cancel it. Honestly: if you don't need a service when you immigrate then CANCEL it before leaving. Not exactly difficult, and rather more useful to your credit score than just abandoning it.
I actually recently had a spurious DD created on my account. I saw, it logged a support request with HSBC Internet Banking, waited for a reply (just to be sure of the origin) then told them it was fraudulent - they cancelled it without any issues about 2 days later. No lost money. What was more worrying was the report I received a few weeks later: the company that had made the request originally apparently had "no record" of the DD. *grrr* So there you go: always watch your accounts anyway; regardless of DDs or not.
I don't like DD either
I rang Three the other day as I wanted to start paying with my credit card instead of DD, primarily as I'm going to be out of the country and don't want to keep money sitting in my current account. I was informed that while I could make a credit card payment at any time, they'd still take the full amount of the bill out by DD even if it had already been paid in full. WTF???
So, I asked if I could cancel the DD. I can do that but will incur an additional £4 per month charge for the privilege.
Their solution was for me to cancel the DD, make the payment, then reinstate the DD. What a load of crap. Why do they care whether I pay by DD or CC?
Also, nearly every company I've ever had a DD arrangement with has screwed me over at some point. It may well be guaranteed and, in theory, you can get your money back quickly. In reality, it's a right pain in the arse and always takes multiple phone calls and weeks to achieve that.
Unless I have to I wont use DD.
Thats why I'm a PAYG user.
T Mobile wireless broadband, lack of
I've been a T Mobile wireless broadband subscriber for around 6 months. For the past week or so I've been unable to log on. I assumed it was some kind of bank screw up so called them (TM) today. They told me my account is up to date, they have suffered a widespread outage which will be fixed "soon". I suggested they might like to give me a refund but they referred me to the small print of the contract which apparently (I can't be bothered to find it/read it) says that the service may not be available 100% of the time. Maybe not but blanket outage for a week is something else. Unbelievable. They're up there with parking fines. Honestly.
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