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Consumer - Tina Tackles!

Monday, 10 May 2010

All year we've been getting so many emails, calls, Facebook messages and texts with questions for Tina about all things consumer. Until now, Tina has answered them to the best of her ability and allowed the viewer to try to remedy their issue with Tina's advice.

This week and next week, Tina will be taking on a viewer's consumer query. The viewer has been chosen on the basis that they have tried everything except the small claims court and still haven't received a satisfactory conclusion to their consumer dilemma. Tina will step in on behalf of the viewer and make contact with the company/business to try to resolve the dispute.

Tina Leonard, our consumer expert

Tina Tackles -Consumer Dispute 1

The problem:

I took out a subscription with Setanta sports in March 2005 and after noticing the full amount for the year had being taken out of my credit card on 5th March 2010 for this coming year (€200) I rang them looking for a refund as I do not use the service any more. They told me that as I did not cancel 30 day's before renewal I have to pay for a full year. They told me when I signed up 5 years ago this would have been the terms and conditions. As you can imagine I cannot remember what was on the terms & conditions five years ago. I looked at their website yesterday and can not see anything which states if you sign on a yearly and not a monthly basis that you have no comeback but they tell me this is fact and end of story, yet I do not want the service. If I was monthly or had changed my credit card I would be ok, I am sick as a parrot over this. Have I any hope of a refund? Also the website clearly states they have a no contract system, but I am signed into one. Why?

Damian sent a letter of complaint to Setanta but the reply indicated that he would have to pay the full year's subscription even though he had now cancelled his subscription.

The advice:

There are often rules in terms and conditions about cancelling a contract and having to give 30 days notice is not unusual. However, once Damian gave 30 days notice he could expect to pay for that extra month but it seems unfair that he should be locked in to paying for 12 extra months just because he was 30 days late in cancelling and because he paid annually rather than monthly.

The solution:

Setanta has confirmed they are refunding Damian the year's subscription (€200)

They say:

"In summary, our terms and conditions are very clear. We give our customers the option of signing up monthly or annually. Those who choose to pay monthly can cancel their subscription at 30 days notice. Those who choose to pay annually need to give us 30 days notice prior to their annual renewal. It is worth noting that those who pay annually receive a discount in their first year. Our terms and conditions are posted to the customers when they initially sign-up and are also clearly set out on our website. Those who subscribe on the phone will have the terms and conditions confirmed verbally also.
Naturally when a customer comes to us directly with a query we will do everything we can to assist that customer to ensure they continue to receive our premium service at an appropriate price point."

The customer:

Damian is DELIGHTED!

Tina Tackles Consumer Dispute 2

The problem:

Last October Caroline registered a package with An Post containing a mobile phone and sent it to the UK but it never arrived. The Royal mail said they delivered it, but after 4 months they could not produce a delivery signature. After contacting An Post, Caroline was told she would be re-imbursed by them and later received a cheque for €25.39, which they said was the maximum they could settle for as no amount was put on the parcel.

Caroline says "When I was in the post office I was not asked any questions regarding the value or description. I did say to the woman 'I want to register this package I'm returning a phone'. The package cost me €11.85 to post.

The advice:

If you register your post you can claim up to €320 in Ireland and the UK, €150 in Europe and €100 for parcels and €35 for letters outside of Europe. For courier post compensation is up to €350 worldwide. You can buy additional insurance but it's only available for registered post within Ireland.

The crucial thing is that you MUST declare the value of the contents at the time of posting. Tell the person in the post office and that value will appear on your receipt. It is this receipt, along with proof of the content's worth that you will need if making a claim. Be warned that if you do not declare the value when posting, you will get a maximum of €25.39 and that's it.

The solution:

In this case Caroline specifically told the staff member at her post office that she wanted to register the package but was not given the appropriate advice.

So, I contacted An Post. They had also received a complaint from Caroline and were already handling it.

An Post say:

"The customer in question was recompensed for the loss as a result of a Post Office Clerk failing to advise her of the need to buy additional insurance cover for her item.

Our advice to customers is clear: If you are posting an item of value, be sure to advise the Post Office Clerk of the full value of the item so that the correct level of insurance can be applied. Registered items on which 'no value' is recorded are only covered for insurance of €25.39. The insurance cover available varies between one destination country and another, so it's best to discuss it with the Post Office Clerk."

Tina Tackles Consumer Dispute 3

The Problem:
I bought a 50" Samsung tv and the sound went after two years. I went into the shop where it was purchased and was told that the warranty had expired and there was nothing they could do. That was last September (2009). After hearing your advice on the show, I went in and told them. He said he could send the TV back to Samsung but I would have to pay €75 just to have it looked at and then I would have to pay for any repairs. Is this correct?

Yours Truly,

Donal O' Sullivan

The Advice:
This is one of the most common types of query we get to the show and so it is worth repeating again. Yes, the retailer is legally obliged to provide a remedy (repair, replacement, refund) for a defective product. Even after two years you would expect the sound on a TV to work, and so the retailer should repair the TV without cost to Donal. These are your statutory rights and entirely separate from a manufacturer's warrantee