I transferred my internet service to TalkTalk recently, but within an hour or so, I lost broadband and landline connections completely. Since then, I’ve had to rely on a very old mobile phone and use our local church’s landline.
I have written several times, but received back only impersonal, unsigned and computer-generated responses. I decided eventually to cancel the service.
Even though I had no landline for several weeks, I have received a bill for £299.55. I believe I’m owed compensation, but TalkTalk continues to send me bills.
A. H., West Yorks.
TalkTalk’s terms and conditions make it clear you have a legal, 30-day right to reject the service if it is faulty or not as described.
You sent formal complaints and received 12 responses in very short order. Some were sent back on the same day and all looked as though they had been cut-and-pasted together. It felt as though each person was ticking a box to say they had responded to your complaint, but none had made the slightest attempt to resolve it.
When you ran out of patience and switched provider, TalkTalk sent you a bill for £299.55. It said it started to investigate the fault four days after you joined and that it would agree compensation once this was resolved.
More than two weeks after your original complaint, it said further tests were needed on your phone line. It later suggested you needed to contact its technical support department before it could discuss cancellation or compensation.
It has now confirmed that it will not be charging the £299.55 fee. Instead, it will provide you with £44.53 compensation and a £30 gesture of goodwill.
A spokesman says: ‘We are sorry for the problem your reader experienced. The account has been closed to his satisfaction.’
I sent a cheque for £221.60 to HMRC as payment for tax owed. Unfortunately, I forgot to sign it, so, as requested, I sent another. However, much to my surprise, both cheques were cashed.
My bank statement shows both payments and my bank has supplied me with a copy of the unsigned, cashed cheque.
I told HMRC of all this, but it is being extremely difficult.
D. B., Margate, Kent.
HMRC has traced your unsigned cheque, which had indeed been cashed, and said it ‘had not been able to get a satisfactory explanation’ to the problem.
It seems likely that, as the whole process is automated, no one would have picked up an individual unsigned cheque. HMRC has apologised to you and will be repaying your money.
I took out a Standard Life pension in 2014. At the time, I did not have anybody named to receive it when I die.
My situation has recently changed, but I have been told I cannot now name someone.
I have an NHS pension that started in 2012 and had named my wife on this, but she passed away in July 2010 and I was later able to name another person.
My wife also had a pension with Standard Life. I have no idea what happened to this.
S. B., Derby.
There are many ways to receive a retirement income, and your two pensions are very different.
The NHS pension is based on the salary you earned. It will provide a pension to you and a smaller one to your named beneficiary when you die. Hence you have been able to have a new nominee added. The Standard Life pension, meanwhile, was an annuity bought with money you’d saved through your working life.
There are several types of annuity. A joint-life one would have paid an income to you plus a smaller income to a named recipient (usually your widow) when you die. But you opted for a single-life annuity, which will have paid a larger income than a joint-life pension, but does not include a widow’s pension.
I’m guessing you did this because you were a widower, so it made perfect sense.
You also mention that your wife had a pension with Standard Life, too. To discuss this, the firm is asking for proof that you were executor of your wife’s will.
I do not think this is altogether reasonable five-and-a-half years after her death. After all, if there is a widow’s pension, you should be receiving it; if there is not, it is a simple matter to tell you.
Standard Life will contact you directly to clarify matters.
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
More Than keeps sending me demands for money, even though I’ve switched to a new insurer. Can you get it to stop?
A. D., Lincoln.
The insurer says the letters were sent wrongly due to a system error. It has apologised and offered you £50 as a goodwill gesture.
Ebay promised me a £35 refund over a dispute about a faux fur coat I bought in November. In December, I was told the money would be in my account within 48 hours. But it never arrived. Now, eBay is blaming PayPal.
K. B., Staffordshire.
This has been dragging on for months. It transpires that you bought the coat through the guest checkout, so the transaction didn’t go through your PayPal account. PayPal has now given you £35 as a goodwill gesture.
I’ve been trying to access my online Vodafone account to view my itemised bill since September. Trips to a local branch and hours on the phone haven’t helped.
P. P., Stockport, Gtr Manchester.
Vodafone says you are now set up on its mobile app, where you can view bills at any time. It has offered £60 as a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience.
Since retiring, I have worked part-time and continued to pay into a private pension every year. I’m now worried I might have breached the £1 million lifetime allowance for pension saving.
B. I., by email.
Speak to an adviser as soon as possible. You can face a 55 pc tax charge if you go above £1 million.
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