Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, battling reader corners, revealing the truth behind closed doors, and winning victories for those left out of pocket. You can find out how to contact him below.
Mrs. SE wrote: Three years ago, I entered into a Personal Contract Purchase Lease with Volkswagen Financial Services (VW), and it was due to end on April 30 of this year.
I sent an e-mail to VW on March 11 stating that I had decided to return the vehicle.
On April 27th, VW told me that I would be contacted to arrange the pick-up, but on April 30th, my bank urgently texted me because VW had withdrawn £ 4,005 from my account. This was the amount that would have been owed if I had wanted to keep the car.
Nurse: Ms. SE was working in a busy coronavirus ward at the height of the pandemic
You told me that as soon as your bank raised the alarm, you called VW and the staff admitted their mistake, and they would return the money. That should have been the end of your troubles, but they just started. Due to lockdown, the company that collects vehicles for return to VW was unable to collect the car. And for exactly the same reason, you could not collect the new car that you had arranged for replacement. You are an NHS nurse working on what were already very busy Covid wards. A car was essential, so you asked VW to extend the lease for two months.
VW agreed, but then changed its mind, writing that if you wanted the car you had to pay the £ 4,005 owed under the original contract. That prevented you from using the car because VW had rejected the lease renewal. At the same time, VW was unable or unwilling to pick up the car, but you held you responsible for it.
You have returned the logbook papers to the DVLA in Swansea on behalf of VW. VW told you that you were no longer allowed to drive the car by law, but in a separate email it ordered you to insure it.
VW told me, ‘During lockdown, we wanted to prioritize keeping people mobile, especially when the circumstances meant that customers couldn’t return their car or pick up a new one. Most of our customers succeeded, but the process failed with Ms SE. ‘
When I wondered why you would have to pay to insure VW’s car, I was told that VW would pay the bill itself ‘if the customer no longer needed to use the vehicle’. You had of course asked if you could continue to use the car, but VW rejected you.
And the explanation for this was pure bureaucracy, especially during the pandemic. VW told me, ‘Unfortunately we need a 21 day notice to renew a contract and in this case it was not feasible’. But despite the conflicting messages to you, VW told me that you basically had the car used as long as you paid for insurance, tax and MoT. Of course, by the time VW told me, you had already returned the log and canceled the insurance.
None of this was good. But then it got worse. In July, more than three months after VW admitted it went wrong when it collected £ 4,005 from your bank account, VW charged debt collection agencies on you, claiming you owed the same £ 4,005 and threatened legal action if you failed to pay .
And in August, VW sent someone from an outside company to pick up the car, but they decided it needed a new tire, so they left it where it was – sitting in the driveway at your mom’s house because it is safer behind her locked gates.
This brings us to the current situation. The car is off the road, uninsured. VW wants you to buy and fit a new tire. I suggested that a sensible way out of this impasse would be if VW offered to pay you to park its car on your mom’s ride for the past few months, and the fee should be exactly the price of the new tire. to be.
VW did not like this idea. It broke off contact and now refuses to say anything more to me. And to top it all off, you told me the car has been idle for so long that it won’t start.
VW has admitted that it handled things poorly. It took more than a month for it to comply with your request to return the car, by which time the automated systems were helping themselves to over £ 4,000 of your bank account. It admits that it should never have called in debt collection agencies to threaten you, but it still checks to see if this affected your credit record.
He has offered £ 200 as an apology but told you he will pick up the car with a low loader and then bill you for a new tire.
Ironically, in response to a message from you, VW replied: “Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback; this is invaluable in enabling us to improve our customer service. And wow, does it need to be improved?
TalkTalk email conundrum
DR wrote: Our broadband contract with TalkTalk already ended in 2018, when we switched to another provider.
Earlier this year, however, TalkTalk claimed £ 50 from our Halifax bank account. We complained to Halifax and the £ 50 was refunded, but later TalkTalk filed it again after informing Halifax that there was a direct debit agreement.
We have unsuccessfully asked for details of this agreement and are now wondering how much more TalkTalk will collect.
Double whammy: TalkTalk claimed £ 50 from DR’s bank account and while the money was refunded it was subsequently re-drawn
This started as a double puzzle. Not only was there no apparent reason as to why TalkTalk should be taking £ 50 off your Halifax account, but the company confirmed that your contract with it ended in June 2018, adding that no record of £ 50 was collected.
You provided confirmation from Halifax that TalkTalk actually received payment, and this unlocked the mystery. When you were a TalkTalk broadband customer, you signed up for the email service, and when you canceled the broadband cancellation, you didn’t cancel the email service either.
TalkTalk told me, “We apologize for the confusion Mr. R. has experienced. He has signed up with TalkTalk Mail Plus, which is free to current customers and available for a small fee to departing customers who want to keep their email account with us. ” Your email account has now been closed and TalkTalk has refunded the £ 50.
If you believe you have been the victim of financial misconduct, write to Tony Hetherington from Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email email@example.com. Due to the large number of questions, no personal answers can be given. Only send copies of original documents, which unfortunately we cannot return.
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