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ASK TONY: My neighbour hasn’t got a computer, but BT bills her £30 per month for broadband

ASK TONY: My neighbour hasn’t got a computer, but BT bills her £30 per month for broadband

In 2018, my 80-year-old neighbour asked me to look at her utilities and telephone bills. I discovered BT was charging her £30 per month for broadband. She has never owned a computer, tablet or iPhone. 

I contacted BT and eventually it stopped this charge. Then, in March 2020, it started charging for broadband again. BT insists she ordered broadband that month. It says it’s a fixed contract and she must continue paying until March 2022. 

D. H., Letchworth, Herts. 

One reader discovered their neighbour was being charged by BT for broadband even though she had never owned a computer, tablet or iPhone

Tony Hazell replies: BT assures me she has been using broadband, likely without realising it. I suspect others are in a similar situation. She uses an old BT TV box to watch free channels, and views programmes that have already been shown via catch-up services. She may not even know she is watching catch-up TV, as some TVs allow you to scroll backwards through the guide and click on the programme you want to watch. 

Catch-up viewing can only be done via broadband. You were both surprised, as she tells you that when she clicks on certain channels she gets a message about upgrading her subscription. But this is another issue. These channels will be part of BT’s subscription packages. It is possible to hide them to avoid this irritation. BT has agreed to put her on to a special deal. She will pay just £20.99 per month until March 2022, rather than £30.12. 

Missing parcels with sentimental goods 

My daughter split up with her long-term partner who, unknown to me, had been mentally abusive. She escaped to a friend’s house with a few belongings. When she returned with friends to get more items, her ex was obstructive, so she just grabbed what she could. 

She later moved to a flat and arranged to have her favourite dresses, plus a quilt I’d made for her birthday four years previously, sent there via Parcelforce. But Parcelforce delivered the parcels to someone else. It says that it checked the other address but did not get any reply. The firm won’t release the name and address of the recipient due to confidentiality issues, so we can’t investigate ourselves. We are heartbroken. 

Name and address supplied. 

Parcelforce lost one reader's treasured items and offered £500 in return

Parcelforce lost one reader’s treasured items and offered £500 in return

Tony Hazell replies: Parcelforce says it has done all it can to locate the items but they have not been returned. The firm told you they had been ‘disposed of’, which sounds to me as if the recipient chose to sell them. I asked Parcelforce why it had not involved the police when the recipient could or would not return the items. The firm refused to answer this and other questions. 

You have been paid £500 compensation, but that is poor recompense for the loss of these items of sentimental value. A spokesman said: ‘We’ve apologised for any upset this has caused. We realise we cannot compensate for the sentimental value of these items, but we are giving a payment as a gesture of goodwill, as well as some flowers, in an effort to make amends.’ 

It feels as though Parcelforce decided it was simpler to write a cheque than to put extra effort into finding your lost treasures.

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT 

My Vodafone ‘Pay as you go 1’ tariff should provide unlimited minutes, texts and up to 50MB of data for 24 hours for £1 a day. But, after leaving my phone switched off for weeks, I was charged £12 for three days of light use. 

S. L., Atherstone, Warwicks. 

Tony Hazell replies: A Vodafone spokesman tried to reach you but hasn’t heard back. Their best guess is that when you turned your phone back on, a large number of apps refreshed, taking you over the 50MB limit and resulting in extra charges. 

I paid £427 for tickets to Ladies Day at Aintree Race Course in April 2020. When it was cancelled due to Covid, I transferred tickets to the 2021 event but it was axed again. Racing Breaks won’t refund me until it has col – lected funds owed by suppliers. 

K. C., Liverpool. 

Tony Hazell replies: A Racing Breaks spokesman says your refund was delayed as your bank card had expired. The person dealing with your enquiry then left the firm before passing on your request. Someone has now been in touch to arrange a refund.

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