Questions of Cash: May 2015

Posted on August 4, 2015 · Posted in The Independent

Q. I created an account with TalkTalk in November last year for phone and high speed medium fibre optic, with free installation – which is normally £50 – with a £6 delivery charge for the router. The router arrived on 6 December and my go-live date was set for 8 December. As instructed by TalkTalk in its ‘Welcome Pack’, I took the day off work on 8 December, but no one arrived. I then received an email advising me that that the go-live date had been changed to 30 December. I contacted TalkTalk to confirm this and reluctantly arranged to take another day off work. On 29 December I received a further email telling me that my order had been cancelled.  I called TalkTalk again and managed to get my account reinstated with a new go-live date of 7 January. Despite the advice in the Welcome Pack, I was advised that I did not have to take time off work as the engineer can work via the exchange and not at my home. My account was not activated on that date. I had by then lodged a complaint with TalkTalk and I now requested that this be escalated to the chief executive’s office. On checking my account, I was advised that “it appears there is an issue with your service”.  On 12 February I found that my account had been downgraded and was being processed for “Simply Broadband”, which I did not want.  I phoned TalkTalk to complain, but was instead directed to the technical department where the operator tried to sell me updates to my current package, for which I would pay a £25 installation fee, plus a new modem for a £6 delivery fee.  I was promised I would be on fibre optic broadband by 25 February 2015.  I have now been told this will happen in March.  More than three months after agreeing a contract I still l have no fibre optic broadband installed. DC, Dundee.

A.  You contacted us in February about this matter and it has taken us several weeks to get to the bottom of the problem.  We initially raised this with TalkTalk.  Its spokesman then responded: “We are sorry it took so long to set up superfast fibre broadband on [the reader’s] line and we share his frustration at appointments not being kept. This was because of delays at Openreach, which carries out work like this on our behalf.”  On the basis of this we contacted Openreach, a division of BT, for its explanation.  Its spokesman provided a different version of events: “An Openreach engineer tried to connect [the reader’s] fibre broadband on December 8, 2014, but couldn’t complete it as there was a fault on the line. On two occasions in December our system sent new appointments to TalkTalk to complete the work, but as no response was received these were cancelled. An order was placed by TalkTalk on February 18, 2015 and [the reader’s] broadband was installed March 2.”  We then went back to TalkTalk, which had difficulty in finding out the cause of the delays.  Its spokesman explained: “The information on this has been archived.  It’s likely that BT is right on this, but we don’t know as it’s been archived and [the files are] not accessi”  TalkTalk then sent us a further comment: “We are sorry there were serious delays upgrading [the reader’s] line to superfast fibre broadband. This was because of a fault on the line, and problems booking another appointment. We have apologised and provided a goodwill gesture.”  TalkTalk declined to provide details of the ‘goodwill gesture’.  You tell us: “They managed to get the fibre installed and working, they also offered me free fibre for 12 months and took away all of the install charges. I am now getting what I ordered all those months ago.”

Q. I am executor of a will.  I have two lots of £50,000 to put into an account and hold on behalf of two children for another ten years, until they reach 21.  Both are United States citizens.  Neither my bank nor my financial adviser can help me as they do not advise on behalf of US citizens.  I am not looking for a complex financial arrangement.  Is there a specialist in this field who can help me?  KR, Northampton.

A.  If we were seeking advice of this kind we would consider a medium sized accountancy firm, that provides personal finance and private client advice and which has a presence in both the UK and the United States.  We spoke to Moore Stephens and Menzies: both accountancy firms would be happy to assist.  John Gibbs of Moore Stephens said it is in a strong position to provide this type of assistance as financial advice is a core function of the firm and it has a global operation.  Tom Govan of Menzies said it has a private client business and operates in the United States as well as the UK.

Q.  I see that you have had other readers with problems with the Eco Green Store (Questions of Cash, 3 May, 2014).  I have placed an order and have just been sent notice from this store that they will not fulfill my order – and that they aren’t going to refund it either.  This needs exposing. HG, Surrey.

A.  We twice tried and failed to contact Eco Green Store.  Its website now provides the explanation, stating: “Due to financial difficulties and cash flow restraints, it is with regret that Woocoo Limited t/a [trading as] co.uk has ceased to trade.  The company’s affairs are being overseen by Jamie Playford of Leading Corporate Recovery, who will be assisting the directors and shareholders to place the company into liquidation shortly. Any customers who have not yet received their order are advised to contact their card issuer or Paypal (depending on their original payment method) as the company is not in a position to make any refunds.”  You tell us that you have now received a refund through PayPal.