Refunds

Step 2 – Getting a refund for charges already made.

Once you have successfully stopped the texts, it is time to set about getting a refund. Don’t expect your network to be helpful, but you can ask. If you get help please report it by leaving a comment below. There are reports of some networks arranging three way calls with these companies to assist customers. If they do this for you they are doing much more than they are required to do and deserve a pat on the back.

Getting your money refunded can be very simple or almost impossible. If the amount of money is small, you will probably get a refund from the ‘service provider’ without any problem. If the amount is larger, they will probably offer a partial refund. Don’t accept a partial refund!

Start as you mean to go on. You need to collect evidence, so record all calls, keep all texts and ask for confirmation in writing where appropriate.

The chances are that your network will not be in the slightest bit interested. The logical argument that they allowed the charge to be made and therefore should accept some responsibility won’t work.

So it is left to you to seek a refund.

Call the ‘service provider’ on the helpline number provided in the text. Make sure you record the call. Be absolutely clear that you never consented to their charges and ask for proof of that consent. Tell them that you want a full refund of all the charges made to your account. Different companies will respond in different ways to this request. Many of the slightly more reputable companies will admit that they hold no evidence, or at least that they had ‘technical difficulties’ and will proceed to make a refund by one of the mechanisms listed below. The reality is that, because it often takes weeks for consumers to notice these charges on their bills, by paying refunds they avoid complaints. This results in fewer complaints about their ‘service’ and consequently they are able to operate for longer before being closed down.

Other will insist that you consented to their charges and will steadfastly refuse to make any refund. Some will tell you to apply for a refund by email – to an address which never receives a reply. When emailing, request a delivery receipt and a read receipt. If you get these back, keep them as evidence.

If a full or partial refund is agreed it will not be credited back to your ‘phone account. This is an example of just how broken the Payforit system is. Money is taken from your ‘phone account. If a refund is agreed you would expect it to be credited back to the same account. But this is ‘not technically possible!’.

The refund is likely to use one of two mechanisms:

  1. A Paypal payment to your email address
  2. A text message sent to your ‘phone which has to be presented to a Post Office for payment.

You are entitled to insist on a refund to your phone account. This right is enshrined in the Consumer Rights Act Section 45(3). If you want to be difficult you can insist on this. Additionally, section 45(4) of the Consumer Rights Act allows 14 days for the refund to be made once it has been agreed. Keep evidence of the agreement to refund and the date it was agreed and the method which was agreed. I wouldn’t advise giving any additional personal information to these companies, so the refund options are somewhat limited.

If all attempts to get a refund from the scamming company fail, you can then go back to your network. Present them with the evidence that you have attempted to negotiate with the service provider, but that say that you remain dissatisfied. Remind them of Mobile Operators’ Code of Practice for the management and operation of Payforit. Ask them to provide the support that this Code requires. If the scammer has failed to engage with you, failed to provide evidence of your consent to the charge, or if the contact information supplied doesn’t work, you may have  case against your network. You will have done everything they asked you to do and it hasn’t worked! In these circumstances OfCom expect them to provide help and to make their own investigation. There is some evidence that the networks will make an ‘ex gratia’ payment to avoid bad publicity and avoid accusations of negligence.

If the network refuses to help you you will need to consider other courses of action. It is important to follow the process correctly in order to maximise your chances of success should the matter go to the Ombudsman, ADR or to the Small Claims Court.

Regardless of whether you are successful in getting a refund, there is still more for you to do!

Step 3 – Making a complaint to the Phone-paid Services Authority.

4 Replies to “Refunds”

  1. I discovered that I have been charged by one of these scam companies (Jam Jar Mobile) and funds were added to my 3 Mobile account and deducted from my account. I only discovered all this this morning. I have done the STOP message to the company and I left a message on their answering machine. I also immediately contacted 3 Mobile who were actually very helpful and agreed to credit me my money and cancel all future deductions. They took my complaint seriously and passed me through to another department who went through everything and then agreed to escalate my complaint to the Ombudsman. My issue with 3 Mobile is that they are allowing Payforit to operate through their billing system and they said they could NOT stop this. However, I await to hear from the Ombudsman and see what they have to say about it. I have also contacted my MP who is very interested in looking into this for me.
    Lastly, I have just received a text from this scam company saying “We tried to call you back (I did get a missed call). the service has been STOPPED and a Goodwill refund to be issued. ” It goes on to say a refund will be received by SMS within 5 days and I should take it to the Post office who will give me a cash refund. Is this for real?

    1. Hi Angela
      It sounds as though Three were quite helpful to you. Your complaint needs to go to the Phone-paid Services Authority, not the ombudsman. I don’t think Three can do that for you, you need to do it yourself. Please do this as it may help others.
      It is not unusual for refunds to come via SMS postal order! You would expect that the money would be credited back to your account, but that doesn’t appear to be an option! Just another example of how archaic and insecure Payforit is.

  2. Same thing happened to me – Jam Jar Play charged me £4.50 for 3 weeks – a total of £10.50, without me knowingly having subscribed.

    Spoke to 3 and they were brilliant – conference-called the company with me still on the line to demand a refund. The company said they’d get back to me in 2 working days, but 3 have given me a good-will credit for the amount anyway, which will be reflected in my next bill.

    Have to say – great customer service.

    1. Great that you’ve managed to get a refund. However I’m sure you could have done without the hassle caused by these bogus subscriptions. Unless ‘Jam Jar’ have explained, to your satisfaction, how you cam to be signed up, please make a complaint to the regulator. Many of these companies give quick refunds in order to try to stop complaints which will ultimately close them down.
      Well done Three – maybe you could look at a few other cases where the amounts involved are larger and you have been less than helpful!

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