back to article DEATH fails to end mobile contract: Widow forced to take HUBBY's ASHES into shop

A widow was forced to take direct action against a T-Mobile shop after it repeatedly demanded payments for her dead husband's mobile. Maria Raybould from Cardiff, Wales, arrived at the store with her hubby's ashes in an effort to stop T-Mobile from continuing to charge £26 per month by direct debit for a Samsung Galaxy Mini …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's not pining

    He's passed on! He's bleeding demised!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can understand that the shop asked for proof, I'm sure there are some people out there who think and have tried to use that as a way to get out of a contract.

      Granted that there is a lot to organise and many to inform when someone dies.

      However, a less dramatic way would have been to show the death certificate rather than taking the ashes round.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did you not read the article?

        "I've been up to the shop with the death certificate, with a letter from the crematorium, the funeral bills – even his ashes. I took everything I could."

      2. Kane Silver badge
        FAIL

        @Anon who didn't read the article...

        You Sir, are what I like to call a Fotho. Fuckwit of the Highest Order.

  2. Frank N. Stein

    This is why I don't do automatic bill payment. I pay my bills manually. Automatic billing systems just can't be trusted.

    1. ZSn

      I had a similar problem with my old national monopoly, before I left the country they cancelled the telephone a month early (luckily I had just set up VoIP). But then continued to bill for the internet even though I had left the country. Every month they would bill me, I would phone they would reimburse me then do the same, with a late charge, the next month. The moment I said that I was going to complain to the national regulator with that person's name on the complaint - it stopped...

      Since then I've been on PAYG where I can - there's no contract to abuse!

    2. Number6

      I left the country, gave a month's notice and then cancelled the direct debit. It was quite amusing to watch what happened next, although they did resolve it without the need for a dead body. I even got a bit of a refund.

      I have no problem with automatic systems provided I have control of the off switch.

    3. Tapeador

      Untrustworthy automatic billing

      In the UK there is a system called the Direct Debit Guarantee, under which all erroneous bills can be refunded in full within about 48hrs upon calling your bank to invoke the guarantee. They sorted it for me within about 15 minutes, and I wasn't on hold for long. You then have to afterward liaise with the company which billed you though.

      Oh and you can shut off the automatic payment 100% just by going to your online bank account and cancelling the Direct Debit. Although some companies may get a bit upset at that.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

        Agree on the Direct Debit thing. Just phone the bank and cut them off at source. When they call to complain, then you aren't money-down to fight them.

        Had to do this with Three, who billed me for a contract phone (and contract) that never arrived. I only knew it hadn't arrived when I phoned up to ask where it was (28 days later). I asked them THERE AND THEN to block the IMEI / SIM. They asked me for the number. I called them idiots, in a roundabout way (how the hell do *I* know what phone you sent me?).

        Weeks later they were still billing me. So I phoned my bank. They made it clear what I was doing but they cannot refuse to do it. I cancelled the DD. Minutes later I had a phone call from Three demanding "their" money back. The bank had cancelled AND REFUNDED all the DD payments. That got Three's attention. It didn't stop them trying to get the money though, however my offer to initiate their threatened lawsuit on their behalf finally made the lightbulbs in their head come on, I think. Eventually they sent me a letter where they had "decided to take no further action". Strange, because I'd decided exactly the opposite if they had continued to harass me.

        But the banks and DD? Wow. Most co-operative my bank has EVER been.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

        "Direct Debit Guarantee, under which all erroneous bills can be refunded in full within about 48hrs upon calling your bank "

        Unless you set up your DD with a credit card, in which case you can not cancel the DD, only the company you have the DD with can do it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

          Reporting the card stolen usually fix that. However, the first step is ratting out the people charging your card for "fraudulent charges" (you have a copy of the paper letter requesting they stop, and the receipt for sending it?).

          "They" fear this: If the bankier cartel find that there is just too much bother with someone's credit card processing facility, they will get blacklisted - Globally.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

          If its not directly on a current account but on some kind of card (Credit or Debit card) then it's not a Direct Debit but a "Recurring payment". Not the same thing at all and so won't be covered by the DD guarantee.

        3. Originone

          Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

          It's drastic but you could cancel the card in tgis circumstance.

        4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

          "Unless you set up your DD with a credit card, in which case you can not cancel the DD, only the company you have the DD with can do it."

          That, too, can be dealt with. I was trying to terminate a phone service, and the company was being unhelpful. So, I called my credit card company and we had a little discussion about withdrawing authorisation. I granted the authorisation, so I can withdraw it, simple. Unfortunately, they disagreed, so I terminated the credit card account.

          Of course, it's important to do this before any disputed money has been transferred. If you're trying to get back the cash they've overcharged you, you're probably buggered. Which, to return to the topic of the article, is difficult when there are unexpected changes in circumstances.

          Have you noticed how often it is that the account termination part of a billing system is badly designed? It's almost as if it were intentional...

        5. Probeshorts
          Meh

          Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

          Nah mate, Direct Debits can only be set up on a bank or building society account.

          Any company can keep hold of your card details and take a recurring payment though, unless you block it with the bank or card company.

      3. Nameless Faceless Computer User

        Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

        Here in U.S., the cell phone company continues to bill you and ruins your credit rating while you write letters to the Public Service Commission. They in turn forward your letters back to the cell phone company who turns the matter over for collection. You are forbidden from taking them to court, by law, and your only option is to enter arbitration in front of an arbitrator who is hired by the cell phone company you are fighting with.

        Resistance is futile.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "This is why I don't do automatic bill payment. I pay my bills manually. Automatic billing systems just can't be trusted."

      You may pay your bills manually but the billing system is still automatic. If the billing system hasn't been told you've cancelled it will just keep on billing.

      1. John Tserkezis

        "If the billing system hasn't been told you've cancelled it will just keep on billing."

        At least they can't keep taking money from an account for a service you've told the you had stopped using months ago.

        1. king of foo

          system works perfectly

          Muppets entering data confirmed to be muppets.

          This happened to me with virgin mobile. I cancelled the contract, then a full month after the payments should have stopped I cancelled the direct debit.

          They set up a brand new contact on a new number after I cancelled and ported my number away to another provider. This is what was billed for. Then, even though they had my original number, didn't think that calling me on it might resolve the issue of payment immediately.

          At best, muppets. At worst, scam artists. Damaged my credit rating as well.

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          As others have said, nor can money be taken by DD without your authorisation for long because the bank is obliged to refund any DD charge on request.

    5. Anonymous John

      That wouldn't have helped. Bank accounts are frozen after death until the estate is wound up, apart from paying the funeral expenses. It's quite clear here that the direct debits had ceased and Vodafone sent in the bailiffs.

      1. Richard Tobin

        Bank accounts

        Many couples have joint bank accounts, and these are not frozen when one partner dies.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. kmac499

          Re: Bank accounts

          Oh yes they can, maybe not as a standard procedure, and even worse if one partner is incapicated (e.g. in a coma post car accident.) The banks can and have frozen such accounts. Have a trawl about in the R4 MoneBox programme archives.

      2. dajames Silver badge
        Trollface

        @Anonymous John

        It's quite clear here that the direct debits had ceased and Vodafone sent in the bailiffs.

        So ... Vodafone called in the bailiffs on T-Mobile's behalf ... presumably to embarass them?

        I like your thinking!

      3. TheWeddingPhotographer

        Does this not depend on what sort of account. A joint account (for example) would continue to operate. Had the account been frozen, the phone company couldn't take payments.

        I agree. First port of call - phone the bank, cancel the DD. Second port of call, recorded delivery letter with a copy of death certificate.

        If they want to pursue it after that, then let them TRY to enforce it, they wont get far.

        This case illustrates something we see over and over again in modern life - Customer service fell out of the window in the race to the bottom.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just don't pay on VISA, they can keep your details and debit you if you owe them.

    7. d3vy

      Frank N. Stein - you realise that you paying your bills manually would have no bearing on this situation, the issue is that his bill hasn't been paid (because he is dead) we are not told if thats because his account has been closed cancelling the DD or if his cremation has had a detrimental affect on him posting cheques...

      Either way, using a direct debit or paying manually would not change this situation.

    8. Fatman Silver badge

      RE: This is why I don't do automatic bill payment.

      A lesson a former employer of mine learned the hard way.

      He had a 'key person' insurance policy, with the monthly premiums to be automatically deducted from the company's account.

      The insurance company screwed up, and, in the first month, deducted 12 months worth of premiums. While that did hurt financially, he assumed that that would be the end of it, and the policy was paid for the full one year term.

      But, NO, they insurance company did it again in the second month, deducting 11 months worth of premiums. Now that DID hurt financially (employees did NOT get their paychecks because of it). Insurance agent was less than useless, and the insurance company was busy offering explanations, and excuses, But we had to wait on the refund.

      They did it again in the third month, taking out 10 months worth of premiums. Since our bookkeeper was "expecting that it might happen again"; she kept watch on the bank balance, and on the day that automatic deduction tried to post, we hit the bank with am order to refuse to honor the deduction, and not to allow any further deductions from that company.

      Soon afterward, we got a new insurance agent, and transferred away the usual business insurance policies away from the old agent, kissing that agent "goodbye" when the term of the 'key person' policy expired.

      Lesson learned - YOU control WHO gets paid, and WHEN, not some scumbag company!!!

  3. William Donelson
    FAIL

    You are just a number, to be bled for corporate profit.

    Sick.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: You are just a number, to be bled for corporate profit.

      Please feel free to open the "fair trade" mobile shop, for kinder, gentler, more socialistic and less alienating service.

      You will get a free Che shirt when opening an account.

    2. Tapeador

      Re: You are just a number, to be bled for corporate profit.

      Sorry but if you don't run businesses as numbers exercises at some level, they just won't exist.

      The problem here isn't that though. It's a single shop manager failing to follow procedure and also being a total dick/bastard, and others not taking responsibility for ensuring T-Mobile's billing systems behaved in the right way, and the different departments being in total silos without any insight into each others' processes or priorities. Underfunding/mismanaging the integration of systems may be in some part responsible, and, yes, un-empathy may play a role in that.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: You are just a number, to be bled for corporate profit.

        Ever thought perhaps the shop owner's been stung once before with someone weaseling their way out of a contract without penalty by faking his/her own death, thus making him "once bitten, twice shy"? It may sound ridiculous, but modern society tells us not everything is taboo to everyone.

      2. fajensen Silver badge

        Re: You are just a number, to be bled for corporate profit.

        ... others not taking responsibility for ensuring T-Mobile's billing systems behaved in the right way, ...

        Billing systems are like wast piles of manure, crufty COBOL/JPL-software left to ferment for decades on long obsolete mainframe technology, with some cholera-effluent added on top (WebSphere, Java) - by an intractable number of con-slut-ants in Bombay or where ever it is people will work for rice & biscuits this financial year!

        Nobody knows what "the right thing" is any more, the ones who perhaps did are retired or dead.

    3. d3vy

      Re: You are just a number, to be bled for corporate profit.

      "Sick"

      Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.

      I'm willing to bet every single person she spoke to completely understood the issue passed it to the next department to deal with who understood the issue but had to pass it on to another department who completely understood but...

      Big companies, lots of moving parts, no cohesion between them!

  4. dcluley

    This seems weird. Waving a copy of the death certificate at the bank should put a stop to all payments from that account.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      But if there is no branch in the BPMN diagram for that case, what you gonna do?

      The future: Imagine dunning letters flying in your face .... forever!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Tapeador

          Re: Solicitor

          Correct me if I'm wrong but small claims excludes the possibility of claiming for solicitors' fees; and solicitors' fees are only claimable in relation to a specific form of action (e.g. breach of contract) which you sued on and won, and where the court then felt you ought to be awarded fees, over and above just "litigant in person" (£9ph) fees.

          So you need a specific action to sue under, but to do that you have to show you've exhausted all reasonable modes of dealing with it, including alternative dispute resolution methods, i.e. going to the industry arbitration (CISAS) panel after requesting a deadlock letter (but has to be within 6 months of grounds for complaint arising in case of CISAS. Also not sure if they deal with pure billing issues).

          The ultimate case and authority of course is Ferguson v British Gas http://www.5rb.com/case/ferguson-v-british-gas-trading-ltd/

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      I think the payments did stop, hence the threatened bailiff action to recover the money from the unpaid bills.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        You would think that, once legal channels were invoked, the records would reveal the intended recipient was dead...unless the claim was being made the death was faked?

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Even if someone counters the death was faked?

    4. d3vy

      "This seems weird. Waving a copy of the death certificate at the bank should put a stop to all payments from that account."

      Indeed it did,

      And that is the problem - she was being billed (IE they were asking for payment).

  5. BasicChimpTheory

    Article is pointless but cathartic.

    How can I make it my avatar on Facebook?

    I thought only the headlines were supposed to be tabloidy?

  6. fishman

    That is *almost* as bad as Comcast.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      But at Comcast you can almost leave whilst alive, here you have to be dead and provide 4 eye witnesses and a sample of your dead self!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "But at Comcast you can almost leave whilst alive, here you have to be dead and provide 4 eye witnesses and a sample of your dead self!"

        Easy solution, invite them to the viewing. They can check if they are really dead or not if they want.

  7. Furbian
    Flame

    Shops are jsut for selling, not support.

    EE, and now I've discovered 3 as well, shops do not appear to have the authority to do anything at all, other than sell you a phone. Any problem? 'Ring our Indian call centre', who will then, allegedly, authorise a repair or exchange but will argue to death to avoid doing so, expect to waste an hour on the phone. On the rare occasion they agree to an action and if you go back to the shop as instructed (sometimes they arrange a collection) the shop staff have no idea and refuse, for example in my case, to accept a return (for repair). Ring back and they'll tell you oh they should have! They behave like two companies, one with shop fronts here, and the other an Indian half, that barely know how the other works and with the Indian half conveniently holding the balance of power, out of reach in effect. Rubbish service from all providers, that lead me to go Pay as you go, which has saved me a packet, buy the phone for £400 and paying for calls has saved me loads, my monthly call/data spend has been less than £5.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Shops are jsut for selling, not support.

      Shops are just for selling, not support.

      EE, and now I've discovered 3 as well, shops do not appear to have the authority to do anything at all, other than sell you a phone

      Agreed! Vodaphone here in Spain does not appear to have any of their own shops; they all seem to be franchises. So when you make a contract or buy a phone any after sales service has to be done on their worse than useless customer service lines or online. Either way they will continue to bill you while they are doing nothing to provide you with any kind of service.

      The worst is if you try to finish a contract even if it is at an end, they will bill you and the stupid banks will keep paying even after you have told them in writing not to.

      It may be best to actually die on the premises of the shop if you have any idea it is coming but make sure you leave your wallet at home.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Shops are jsut for selling, not support.

        The worst is if you try to finish a contract even if it is at an end, they will bill you and the stupid banks will keep paying even after you have told them in writing not to.

        You have to go online, cancel the direct debit, and then ignore further direct debits from that company. As soon as you put a human being in the middle then that's when problems start which is quite odd as I'm sure they can manage to cancel their own direct debits without any problem.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Shops are jsut for selling, not support.

          Call them to let them know you are cancelling the account as of date dd/mm/yyyy and that you will be instructing your bank to cancel the direct debit.

          Any further attempts to debit your account will incur a penalty fee of £100 to cover costs of clearing your credit rating and any time wasted trying to deal with the company in question.

          Penalties must be paid within 28 days of invoice (and do send them one) and will attract late payment fees of an additional £15 if missing plus interest at 5% per month.

          Put that in a letter, recorded delivery, to the finance director or company secretary - making sure to scan it first and also send it via email if you can find an account.

          Don't wait for them to dick you around, go in with your steel toe-capped, hob nailed boots right from the off.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Shops are jsut for selling, not support.

            Any further attempts to debit your account will incur a penalty fee of £100 to cover costs of clearing your credit rating and any time wasted trying to deal with the company in question.

            Penalties must be paid within 28 days of invoice (and do send them one) and will attract late payment fees of an additional £15 if missing plus interest at 5% per month.

            Remember he was talking about Spain...

          2. Phil.T.Tipp

            Re: Shops are jsut for selling, not support.

            Sir, I wish I could upvote this post many, many times.

            They expect you to be compliant.

            They have programmed you not to question.

            They expect you to have a victim mentality.

            Just say, 'No.' It's easy. Take control, take action and tell them where to get off.

            Secondly, and most importantly - the lady in the story needn't have worried at all. The person with the contract had died (the contract also dies with either party passing away), she had NO CONTRACT with T-mobile. She had NO CONTRACT with the bailiffs. Without contract there is no further business to discuss.

  8. Anonymous John

    "We apologise to Mrs Raybould for any distress caused"

    I do so hate that usage of "any", when it's self-evident that distress or inconvenience has been caused. The word to use is "the"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Had it done just right one time

      Xmas eve at Stansted, heavy fog choking flights across Europe, terminal choked with despondent milling wannabe passengers while the Easyjet and Ryanair announcers took it in turns to deliver more bad news. He opted for the standard corporate arse-asbestos passive voice pablum "apologise for any inconvenience...", she shot straight with "Ryanair apologises for the obvious disruption this causes you".

      And that rescued Xmas, because if even when tired and trapped in a sweaty crowd you can find some love for Ryanair then surely "It's A Wonderful Life"

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Had it done just right one time

        My favourite one was on a Flybe flight to Belfast. The chief stewardess announced that one of the hostesses was leaving the company to become a pole dancer. We all clapped and when asked the young lady in question confirmed that this was indeed her intention.

        My daughters who were 13 and 17 at the time thought it was the coollest and funniest thing they had ever witnessed.

        I once used a T mobile dongle in Egypt whilst diving. £ 3000.00 pounds later I binned T Mobile and paid for the extra ten months on the contract.

    2. aregross

      Re: "We apologise to Mrs Raybould for any distress caused"

      Using "the distress' would leave them open to a lawsuit as they would be admiting to causing 'the distress'

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: leave them open to a lawsuit

        Which they richly deserve

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: "We apologise to Mrs Raybould for any distress caused"

      The lawyers and spin-people need to communicate that the victim is lying about that too!

      Corporations, like Kings, never make mistakes but they may deign to grant small, one-off, favours, to show how benevolent they really are!

    4. PhilDin

      Re: "We apologise to Mrs Raybould for any distress caused"

      Damn straight. So many people don't get this. If you're not admitting that you caused a problem then you aren't apologising.

      Similar to the poster above, I was stuck in Manchester airport because of Aer Lingus and I had a rant about the "any inconvenience" thing. When the announcer came on, she said "the inconvenience", I think she must have been in hearing range of my rant:)

  9. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Annoying solution

    There's something particularly irritating when companies caught out by the media screwing over one of their customers suddenly put their hands up, sort out the problem and apologise to *that* customer, when they don't actually take any action when anyone else not lucky enough to get the attention of Watchdog, or even El Reg, needs their equally ghastly experience resolved

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They tried that with my late mother

    Her solicitor described the tart from T-Mobile I spoke to as a "stupid little girl". I passed that on to their head office and got a reply in which they agreed with him.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: They tried that with my late mother

      Well if they paid more they maybe wouldn't get that.

      Its Tapeadors comment "Sorry but if you don't run businesses as numbers exercises at some level, they just won't exist." which points out just how fucking shit things have got.

      While it makes some sense to run the numbers the inability to do any kind of exception handling highlights the fact that the management - who do get paid well - are 'stupid little managers' too.

      Or perhaps its just no possible to run an honest business any more - the only way to compete is to be so far in hock that you have to bill dead people because that's the norm. If that is he case we are truly on an acceleration to the bottom where loans will be taken for mining machinery.

      1. fajensen Silver badge

        Re: They tried that with my late mother

        ... the inability to do any kind of exception handling highlights the fact that the management ...

        ... Have been replaced by what I call Dumb AI: Focus group decision support, Work-flow systems, KPI-centric reporting structures, automated fulfilment systems and distributed logistics.

        In fact, the fleshy end-effectors we label Management seems to be paid for being "not able to imagine <fraud, abuse>", "not aware of any <fraud, abuse>", et cetera. They are a just a meat-wall, nothing more. People paid to take the blame and the fall, but, as they usually never will, they are becoming expensive. Soon, managers will all be grown inside vats hidden within secure underground complexes and The Corporations can order specific breeds, like we can with dogs.

  11. PeterGriffin

    Are you really surprised?

    Dead, alive it doesn't matter. EE (and therefore T-Mobile and Orange) are bleeding awful when it comes to billing. They screwed us around when my wife cancelled her contract and ported her number. We even had letters/demands from their Debt Collection agent despite contacting them constantly to remind them they had made a billing error and being promised they would do something about it...

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Are you really surprised?

      In my day job, I have to deal a lot with telecomms companies. The all have one thing in common: They all suck at billing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you really surprised?

        Usually it's not a problem with billing. It's a problem with targets/incentives to staff not to cancel, no matter what...

  12. Salts

    Reminds me...

    When my grandma died, long story short, she was in the back of the car for few weeks, when my grandad asked where she was and I told him, he said she always did like going for a drive :-)

    1. Havin_it
      Unhappy

      Re: Reminds me...

      Please tell me you just mean her ashes... O_o

      1. Proud Father

        Re: Reminds me...

        >> Please tell me you just mean her ashes... O_o

        Indeed, I had visions of a body in the boot.

  13. LaeMing Silver badge
    Unhappy

    In the end,

    people should just switch to a better phone company!

    ...

    oh

    ...

    nevermind....

  14. Bloodbeastterror

    Giffgaff

    This is exactly why I'm with an "off-the-wall" company who at least make the pretence of respecting their customers.The big ones treat us as walking wallets.

    The people in the company who perpetrated this uncivilised outrage are scum. Scum.

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Giffgaff

      That would be the part of O2 that doesnt even pretend to have a customer service team?

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Giffgaff

      yes, and it is a pretence. I am with them for the cheap PAYG rates. I can live with the network outages

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Re: Giffgaff

      Isn't GiffGaff owned by Telefonica running on O2, who happen to be a subsidiary of Telefonica?

      So hardly "off the wall".

  15. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Devil

    She should have gotten the ashes notarized.

    1. Gray
      Facepalm

      Crocodile sincerity

      The T-Mobile shop were pretty lenient in this case ... they didn't demand proof that the ashes weren't somebody else ... ! (Presumably they thought the death certificate to be a forgery.)

      As for corporate apologies ... that's right in line with a politician's saying "so sorry" after being caught out. Both are equivalent to a crocodile's tears.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Many firms require a death certificate

    This is not an unusual request. BTW, bringing some ashes would not prove anything. That's why death certificates are issued.

    1. Toothpick

      Re: Many firms require a death certificate

      Someone else who has not read the article:

      "I've been up to the shop with the death certificate, with a letter from the crematorium, the funeral bills – even his ashes. I took everything I could."

      I read this as she tried to cancel the contract in the first instance by showing the death certificate.

  17. Toothpick
    Thumb Down

    Let's add to the woman's grief

    by texting her dead husband's phone offering a £2.50 broadband upgrade. Disgraceful.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/11234042/Widow-takes-dead-husbands-ashes-into-mobile-phone-shop-after-firm-refuses-to-cancel-contract.html

    1. Jedit
      Coat

      Re: Let's add to the woman's grief

      Yes, it was terrible that T-Mobile texted this woman's dead husband to tell him about their broadband ... but it was a lovely service.

      Mine's the one with the urn in the pocket...

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Let's add to the woman's grief

        <snip>

        "Mine's the one with the urn in the pocket..."

        I keep what I urn <sic> in my pocket as well.

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    I do sympathise and appreciate it's not always easy to not let oneself get wound up in times of grief but the best solution is to cancel payments and then simply ignore their requests and threats. Ideally get a less emotionally impacted friend or acquaintance to deal with those issues.

    There's the other side of the coin as well; where a company does terminate contract immediately upon death, leaving the family without services or access to accounts which can be even more inconvenient and distressing.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      I recall SWelec contacting me after my Father died. "Can you put me in touch with Philip Harvey please". "Easy. Come here and I will shoot you in the head. You can talk to him yourself after that".

      1. Return To Sender

        @Robert

        The one thing that briefly raised a smile the day after my dad died; fielded a junk call at Mum's:

        JC : "Can I speak to Mr. M..."

        Me: "Only if you know a damned good medium - he died last night"

        JC: "Ah.. Err. umm.. *Embarassed silence*"

        I really like to think that the old guy managed to ruin a junk caller's day with that one.

    2. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Yep, that happened to my mum with BT. We asked them to take my dad's name off the joint bill and they cut her off just as she was trying to arrange the funeral. Took them best part of 10 days to get it fixed, with nothing but arrogant staff on the other end of the line. When the line came back she locked into a new 12 month contract. Long since dropped them.

  19. Billa Bong

    Arrears

    My wife started paying back a loan (student loan to be precise) and was surprised several months later to be sent an arrears letter, given that she had paid several months by that point. On phoning the company they said "no, don't worry, you're not in arrears". This continued for several more months until she finally spoke to someone who knew that their system would show "arrears" to the telephone operators *only* if it was the *last* payment that was missed. We're still at a loss, having not received any kind of notification from the bank on a refused payment, as to how the first month was missed. My money is on their system not setting up the DD with the bank before trying to take the initial payment.

    And what do you think that did to her credit rating?

    Halfwits. *fume*

    1. d3vy

      Re: Arrears

      Why was the student loan taken as a DD? Have they changed the way this works? - Mine was deducted from my gross pay by my employer, the way your wifes is set up will cost you more as you are paying income tax on it... Its only the last year that comes out as a direct debit so that you dont overpay as the SLC only get notified of contributions in April.

      Source, I just paid my student loan off :)

  20. kmac499

    Cancellng SKY

    SKY used to operate on a similar level plus one. They would only accept a cancellation request from the registered subscriber not the bill payer. So if the policy is still the same, and you bought Sky as a pressy for an ageing relative expect a real battle to cancel after their death or incapacity when they no longer need it.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Cancellng SKY

      If you are paying the bill for a service, keep it in your name. I cannot really see the problem though. If the registered subscriber is alive & well, they can cancel the service. If they are dead or incapacitated, cancel the DD and Sky will have to chase *them* for the money, because AFAIAA Sky do not have contracts that give separate names for "subscriber" and "bill payer"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Targeted advertising?

    Love the"Targeted" advert....

    Cover the costs of funeral care!

    Score up another one for the internet marketers.

  22. Henry Minute

    SOP for T-Mobile

    I too had problems with T-Mobile billing.

    I cancelled my contract and all went well but then, about 5 months later, charges started appearing on my statements again. Fortunately it only took one phone call to make it cease permanently and get a refund with interest.

    Overall I found their systems to be very disorganized. at one stage I changed my payment provider. I gave them all the details and they were able to take payments with no problems and no breaks. despite this I got a letter every month asking me to provide the new details. Despite my complying with this request on receipt of the first letter (by email, snail-mail and by telephone) I continued to get these request letters every month including a couple after the contract ended.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Without doubt....

    … t-mobile are the worst company I have ever had the misfortune to deal with. Vodafone were bad to the point of incapability, but t-mobile mined a whole new depth of incompetence. After letting loose the dogs of law, and a debt collector, to chase money I didn’t owe them, I eventually took them and their various agents to court. The sheer incredulity on the part of their staff I had to speak to when rejecting their initial settlement offer was priceless – they just couldn’t grasp that someone was playing them at their own game, and winning.

    The saddest thing about the whole EE/t-mobile/Orange mess, is that Orange used to be good at customer service when they had their call centre in Durham. Now they seem to have mapped the worst bits of either provider over the top of the good bits of the other. I’m sure a bean counter somewhere made out like a bandit on that one.

  24. Bunbury

    Data protection causes this

    This is the logical conclusion of a culture that insists on rigidly implemented data protection laws. Unless you've taken out a Power of Attorney (which is so convoluted that by the time you feel the need to do that for an elderly relative the process is too complicated for them to complete) then you're a bit stuffed with an elderly relative should you come across someone who plays to the letter of the law. Used to drive me mad when my dad was both vague and half deaf and sometimes they still suggested I leave the room when they discussed his condition.

    But the T-mobile business model confuses me. They sureley send out bills centrally, so why isn't there a central office that deals with this sort of thing. At least then people could write in with the proof, should they need it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Data protection causes this

      What cause this in part is the inability of businesses to learn from their mistakes.

      Do we assume that this is the only time this has happened, that never before has a customer (or their representative ) had problems as a result of cancelling a contract. It strikes me that the businesses prefer to assume this rather than notice that their systems are not working as well as they ought.

      Perhaps a bollocking gets handed out to the 3rd party working the offshore call centre, but no attempt to find out how the system failed.

      I'm sure I won't be surprised to find out that mobile phone companies don't have ISO 9001 certification, or anything approaching that for detecting problems and implementing solutions.

  25. War President

    The defense calls the deceased Mr. Raybould!

    Mr. Raybould, would it be fair to say that you are not well?

    *KNOCK*

    In fact, Mr. Raybould, not to put too fine a point on it, would you be prepared to say, as it were,what is generally known as, in a manner of speaking, dead?

    (SILENCE)

    Mr. Raybould, I put it to you that you are, in fact, dead!

    (SILENCE)

    Ah-ha!

  26. Bunbury

    Banks can be worse

    When we telephoned my dad's bank to let them know he had died the Indian helpdesk agent did not understand what we meant by "bereavement", so asked if we could get him to the phone to corroborate that he wished to close the account...

    Though I should say that when the poor man realised his error he was very upset and passed us to the back office team who deals with that sort of thing.

    1. Pat Volk

      Re: Banks can be worse

      When I hear about death and India, I shudder. Being legally dead, and dead dead are two different things there. A legally dead gent won an IgNobel for fighting for the legally dead to rejoin the living. Being walking and talking apparently is not enough to reverse legal death.

  27. Peter Revell

    Only a Death Certificate is required by law

    As I discovered when my daughter committed suicide 2 years ago, most companies have bereavement departments which handle all the details smoothly and sympathetically and protect you from the stupid numpties. It is usually in the Pensions Department or similar.

    Unfortunately, this is not generally known or publicised and it is a folk myth that death extinguishes debt. Even my other children believed it.

  28. Gannettt

    Why does this make me think of an alien getting their tentacle into you and sucking the life out of you. You cut off the tentacle and it starts to scream.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. numpties

    I sometimes wonder if an invasion of the "living dead" in the form of a zombie apocalypse might be a very effective way of dealing with the dead wood in society in the form of the pen pushing numpties without a soul as described in this article.

    Preferably the fast, extra bitey sort.

    See the documentary "The Walking Dead" for more information.

  30. Breen Whitman

    Joke...

    Q: Whats the difference between Nazi Concentration Camp guards and Mobile Accounts Managers.

    A: Nothing. Both are abhorrent, vile entities, and should face sentencing at the Hague.

  31. Ramon Zarat

    Someone at T-mobile need to be shot for this.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bet he still gets a better signal than I did on T-Mobe..

  33. Truth4u

    phone shops are completely amoral

    if they could sell crack cocaine on contract they would...

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: phone shops are completely amoral

      That would be a great move in the direction of selling a product that the customers actually want to buy!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to their defense

    I didn't have this problem when my father passed. even the cable company was cool about it, requiring proof I was legally responsible for handling his affairs. Now the public utilities, they were the worst. Water and power wouldn't let me disconnect even though the residence was being demolished, and charged me late fees for the practically unused services from the time of his death and when I came up from out of state to resolve the bills.

  35. Bad Network Provider Companies.

    "3" Mobile Ringing In My Ear !

    Very insensitive of T Mobile on an extremely sensitive issue.

    However, I see a comment about the Mobile Telephone Company "3" gosh so I am not alone. I took out a contract with them, and was sent a Sim that did not even fit my handset although they assured me that it would, they duly sent me another one that did but I couldn't get the switch over to "3" Mobile despite protracted requests to them to help me do it, whilst ..........

    Ding, Ding they kept billing me for this non existent contract month upon month, I cancelled the Direct Debit from my bank account, only to find threatening letters from "3" Mobile blah de blah !! Despite an hours conversation (am I allowed to say this) with someone who couldn't speak the Queens English let alone understand it, I was fully prepared to write a formal complaint.

    All told "3" Mobile sucked £360 out of me and I did not make one bally phonecall on their magical contract tariff, would I recommend them? definitely to an idiot !.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019