Pensioner Joseph Innes has no computer or home broadband and doesn’t use a mobile phone.
Therefore, the former shipyard worker was shocked when he discovered he had been paying TalkTalk for home media services for 18 months.
“I only have a landline at my house and I have been with Virgin for many years,” said Joseph, 80, from Glasgow.
“I only found out by chance in January that I had paid more than £500 to TalkTalk and I had ongoing monthly direct debits with them.
“I couldn’t get my head around this because as far as I’m concerned I have never been a customer of TalkTalk in my life.”
Joseph noticed TalkTalk was taking the monthly instalments from his bank account and in January he managed to get these stopped.
But then he began receiving phone calls from the company to say he was behind with his payments.
“I also started getting letters from TalkTalk that said I was in arrears and mentioned debt collection agencies, so I was very worried,” said the pensioner.
When he called TalkTalk to complain, he said the company insisted he was one of its customers.
“They said I had opened an account with them over the phone two years ago,” said Joseph.
“I don’t understand where they got this from because I have never been with that company and I have no idea how they got my banking details.”
Joseph’s bank confirmed that he had been paying monthly direct debits of £27-£31 to TalkTalk since June 2017.
“I wrote to TalkTalk asking for my money back but was told that if I didn’t keep paying then I could be blacklisted for credit.
“I was also told I still owed them more than £200 because I had cancelled my direct debit.
“I kept insisting I am not and never have been a TalkTalk customer but no one seemed to want to listen.”
At the end of his tether, Joseph wrote to Raw Deal. We contacted TalkTalk on his behalf and asked the company to investigate. TalkTalk insisted that an account was opened at Joseph’s address in 2017 but said that it had not been cancelled after a cooling off period.
The company has apologised to Joseph for the misunderstanding. It agreed to write off more than £230 it said it was still owed and has also issued him with a refund of almost £300.
A spokesperson said: “Mr Innes contacted us to query a direct debit being paid to TalkTalk.
“He was advised there was an account in his name and the services had been live and paid for by direct debit since 2017.
“While Mr Innes has advised he never been in touch with TalkTalk to place an order, we did receive contact in May 2017 about this account and the data protection checks were passed.
“A disconnection request was placed during the cooling off period. However, this wasn’t actioned and the services continued.
“We have apologised for not disconnecting the account as requested in 2017. We have reached an agreement to clear the outstanding balance (£234.40) and provide a refund to the value of £298.50 to cover some of the charges already paid.”
While Joseph is now happy the matter has been investigated, he still plans to pursue TalkTalk for a further £200.
“I made monthly payments totalling more than £500 for an account that I never had, so it is only fair that I get all and not just some of that money back,” he said.
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