No use in crying over sour milk


YOUR CONSUMER QUERIES:LAST WEEK Paula Byrne from Portlaoise sent us a very cross letter she sent to Tesco. She often shops in Tesco Portlaoise and had complained about sour milk several times in recent months. “I spoke with the dairy section manager on at least four occasions and with two other staff previous to that,” she writes.

Some of the milk she bought was Glenisk and when they heard about the problem they contacted her, apologised and sent vouchers for their products. She was also assured that Tesco would call her back but she is still waiting. “In my estimation I have probably poured €100 of sour milk down the drain and would expect to be reimbursed,” she writes.

It is not just sour milk that is a problem. “This week I bought two plastic bottles of Tesco own brand orange juice which have just exploded in my pantry leaving an almighty mess. The juice and fruit pieces are now covering the walls, ceilings, floor and all the other cans and packets there. The juices were in date.”

She describes herself as “extremely frustrated with Tesco’s lack of customer care” and as the “daughter of a shopkeeper” she is “amazed” by the store’s attitude. She says she is probably going to take her business elsewhere but still wants “a reimbursement and one of your staff to come out and clean up the pantry”. That seems a little unlikely to us. We checked and can find no mention of a cleaning service in the Consumer Protection Act. We do understand her annoyance, mind you.

Meteor sent 3,010 texts instead of one

KATHLEEN LYNCH has had a long-running issue with Meteor. In June she sent a text to a friend in England. “She got on to me later that night after her phone had received the message about 1,000 times,” she writes. She went to her local Meteor store to report the mishap. The manager rang head office and it was acknowledged that the message had gone through 34 times. “They said it was already on my bill so I would have to pay it but they said they would credit me.”

When her June bill arrived the 34 texts they said went through turned into 3,010 texts and the bill came to €525 instead of her usual €55-€60. So she went straight down to the Meteor store again. The company acknowledged that she could never have sent all those messages and said her bill would be corrected. She cancelled her direct debit then just in case, “luckily as it turned out”. When she got her August bill the whole €525 was still being charged as an outstanding debt.

She was repeatedly assured she would not be disconnected as her account was “flagged” but she was disconnected on August 27th “and it took eight hours and I don’t know how many phone calls for them to reconnect me. Since then I have been disconnected two or three other times.”

She missed four calls from Meteor’s credit control department over the course of a few months and, when she would ring them back, she would be left on hold for about eight minutes and then cut off. “As you can imagine I was reaching my wits’ end.”

Eventually after several months the problem was resolved. She told Meteor she felt she had grounds for breaking her 18-month contract after which she got the letter about termination fees and then she was threatened with a debt-collection agency if she did not pay her bill for the UK texts. “I felt like I was back to stage one again.”

She says the “maddening part of the whole thing for me is that I have been more than patient and understanding. Anyone who knows me doesn’t know why I tolerated so much incompetence but I always believed they would sort it when they said they would.”

We contacted the company and it “apologised unreservedly” for the stress and inconvenience. A spokeswoman said the problem was not due to a network fault but down to a loop or bug on the messaging application. The company said it had now removed the charge and waived an outstanding bill of €53, adjusted her account by a further €50, in addition to giving her a €25 discount on her plan for life.

She also had been in a contract due to expire in March 2013, but this has now been cancelled at her request, with all associated fees waived.

Address the issue

A READER from Cabra signed up with Greyhound last July and has paid her standing charge up to next July.

Since she switched she has got a number of emails from the company but never any old school post.

“Yesterday a letter came to the house addressed to a man who doesn’t live there and never has,” she writes. “The address was mine so it wasn’t the postman’s fault. So I phoned Greyhound and they agreed that the man didn’t live there and proceeded to read out his actual address and asked would I post on the letter to him,” she writes.

Unsurprisingly she declined. “However I now have this man’s name, real address, and Greyhound account number which surely breaks some sort of data protection rules,” she says. You would certainly think so.

Regular 7-Up costs less than ‘special’

HILARY SPURGEON wants to know what is happening to the price of 7-Up.

Three weeks ago she purchased a double two-litre pack for €4.55 on special in Supervalu.

“I then discovered I could buy two single units for €2.23 each, making it cheaper to buy than the special offer,” she says.

She pointed this out to a manager and they put up the price of the single units.

Then last week she bought a single unit in Dunnes Stores in Sandyford for €2.39 and got a second one free.

“If I was a cynical person I would say that Supervalu is putting up the price so they can bring it down for Christmas.”