I switched from Toto Energy to a new supplier and gave the firm a final reading. I then received a bill for £10,738.60. 

I am at a loss to know where this amount has come from as I have always provided meter readings and paid my bills by monthly direct debit.

I have contacted Toto several times by phone and email. I have been told the case is being investigated but I have seven days to pay.

R. A., Hertfordshire.

Switching nightmare: A reader was mistakenly sent a bill for an eye-watering £10,738 when they decided to quit their energy supplier Toto 

Toto has got to the bottom of your problem. It seems you were on a tariff involving separate day and night readings for your electricity.

You mistakenly gave the combined meter reading rather than the night-time one. 

This made it look as though you had used almost 58,000 kWh of electricity, as far as I can see.

Your tariff was called Plain And Simple — though your bill is close to impenetrable.

Toto tells me your actual bill is £138. 

It has apologised and contacted your new supplier with the correct details to resolve a dispute with it over the level of your first reading.

It has also gone the extra mile and waived your final bill.

You have YOUR say 

Every week, Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some of the best about one man’s fight to secure a £61.50 refund from Goldcar:  

I hired a car in France and the firm charged me for a full tank of fuel, even though I filled the car at a petrol station near the airport. 

The firm only backed down when I threatened to take it to the small claims court.

R. B., Colne, Lancashire.

I’ve rented many cars over the years, in both Spain and the UK. My advice would be to look at customer reviews of the firm on an independent site, don’t always go for the cheapest deals and make sure you always read the small print.

S. A., Valencia, Spain.

When renting a car abroad, I always make sure I travel with at least two credit cards. 

This means I can use one to pay for car hire deposits and, if I reach my spending limit on this card, I always have another one to use for the rest of the holiday.

J. J., Farnborough.

I often hire cars and I’ve seen many tourists drive off without checking their vehicles for dents and damage. 

Many of these people will swear the damage was there when they collected the car, despite the fact they didn’t point this out at the beginning.

O. F., London.

This summer I will be renting a car abroad and, while insurance is included, I will have to pay a €1,900 (£1,689) excess if the car is stolen. 

I’ve organised a ‘cover my excess’ policy from a third party, which means I will be prepared when the firm tries to sell me an expensive policy at its check-in.

I. J., by email.

We hired a car in April and paid €202 (£179) by credit card in advance. 

However, once we reached the airport we were charged an additional €372 (£330). 

We complained at the airport and again when we arrived home, but haven’t heard anything from the customer service team for weeks.

L. K., by email.

I visited a supermarket with a friend (I am 90 and recently had a fall) and tried to pay the £80 bill with my M&S credit card, but it was blocked.

There was a queue and it was very embarrassing, but my friend kindly offered to pay.

Later, I phoned the bank which told me it had blocked the card as it had sent correspondence which had been returned unopened. 

I have lived at this address for 50 years so have no idea how this happened.

The bank said it would remove the block, but later that week I went with my daughter-in-law to M&S and my credit and debit cards were blocked, so she had to pay.

I again spoke to the head office and it was agreed I would meet the manager of the local branch, who told me that it was the bank’s practice to block accounts when letters were returned unread.

I was offered £25 compensation, which I rejected. The offer was then increased to £50.

J. S., Bristol.

Marks & Spencer has looked into the problem fully and decided that £125 compensation would be more appropriate.

But why did the problem occur? It seems that two of your monthly statements were returned unopened. 

Marks & Spencer says it applied a temporary block to your account as a fraud prevention measure.

But why on earth didn’t it try to phone you, instead of just blocking your account?

M&S Bank has apologised for failing to try to reach you and admitted the service ‘fell below our usual high standards’.

In addition to the £125, it has also sent you some flowers — let’s hope that they aren’t returned unopened.

Straight to the point 

I read about the Government’s Help to Save account — how do I open one?

M. Misiewicz, Hereford.

Help to Save is an account for people on low incomes who claim certain benefits. 

Savers can deposit between £1 and £50 a month for four years and will receive a 50 per cent bonus — so 50p for every £1 saved or a maximum of £1,200 over the four-year period. 

The accounts are run by the Government and must be set up online. Visit gov.uk/get-help-savings-low-income to apply, or use HMRC’s smartphone app. 

If you have no internet access, call 0300 322 7093.

*** 

We paid online firm House Network £750 on March 22 to help us sell our home. 

We were told people were interested, but no one showed up for viewings. The following month I read the company had gone into administration. Will I ever see my money again?

A. A., Norfolk.

House Network ceased trading on March 29 and insolvency firm Hudson Weir was appointed as administrator. 

Hudson Weir says any customers who made payments before March 29 will be contacted with instructions on how to make a claim, but adds that it is uncertain whether anyone will get their money back. 

Email info@hudsonweir.co.uk for more information.

*** 

I recently moved home and worry that my will is no longer valid as it shows my old address. I don’t need to update it for any other reason.

S. L., by email.

Jill Rushton, a solicitor at law firm Stephensons, says there is no obligation to amend a will if your address changes.

*** 

When I went to make my final £1,000 mortgage payment, my bank, TSB, told me I could not pay by debit card. 

Instead I wrote a cheque, but as it took seven days to clear I had to pay 6p per day — 42p in total.

M. J., by email.

TSB says customers may not use a debit card to pay off their mortgage balance as chargeback rules mean they could later reverse the payment. 

Another option would have been a bank transfer, which should have cleared the same day.

My daughter and I are having huge problems trying to prove our February Virgin Media bill for £90.16 was paid.

We have provided copies of the bank receipt and a bank statement showing the cheque was cashed on February 14 —twice by email and then by recorded delivery.

Virgin replied asking for our bank card details, suggesting we should pay again!

Our services were restricted on March 10, 19 and 26, April 4 and 9, and were only restored after we went through a tortuous route to speak to call handlers who advised us each time that the matter was being investigated by the finance team.

I sent letters by recorded delivery to the CEO on March 15 and 27, and received an acknowledgement from Alan Stott, director of consumer processing and resolution.

I am 82 and find it unconscionable that Virgin Media would leave me without a landline in case of an emergency.

broadband

I have paid the March and April bills, but neither payment appears to have been allocated to our account as Virgin keeps accumulating the incorrect charges to each subsequent invoice, expecting us to correct its mistake.

J.A. Glasgow.

I am continually baffled by how firms that are supposed to be in the communications business can be so awful at communicating with their customers.

You provided proof, time and time again, that you had settled your February bill, but the duffers at Virgin Media simply failed to act on this. The good news is that, after I got in touch, the firm took action.

You told me that a member of the executive team phoned and promised to cancel the payment it had lost, as well as all of the associated fees and charges.

When you said you were considering cancelling, the firm asked for time to prove it could provide a proper service.

More to the point, it applied an ‘experience apology’ of £155.32 to your account.

That’s all very well — but you are Virgin’s customer and it should have reacted when you first made contact, without needing a size 10 boot up the backside from the Daily Mail.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here