Pricewatch: Reader queries
Consumer concerns this week relate to a broken iPhone, Tesco’s pricing, and VHI’s auto-renewal policy
Meteor told our reader they would give her a number so she could arrange for Apple to repair her iPhone. Photograph: Getty
A METEORIC FALL AFTER SWITCHING TO IPHONE
A reader got an iPhone a couple of weeks ago in a Meteor outlet in Blanchardstown Centre, but things have not gone smoothly since.
She had been a customer with Meteor but was out of contract. Her Samsung Galaxy S3 was requesting her to update its software, but when she did the phone died and never came back.
She had had that phone 16 months and never had an issue before, so she went to the Meteor shop to see if they could they fix it. They couldn’t, so they gave her the iPhone 4s, as she was due an upgrade. This tied her in to a new bill-pay contract for 18 months, at a cost of about €40 a month. They took her Samsung off her.
“The next day I realised I was not getting messages or information about missed calls,” she says.
Her phone was showing a different number to hers when she called people and got through. “I dialled the number that was showing as my number and got a voicemail for another woman.”
Confused, she went back to the Meteor shop to report this. “The guy there said the other guy should have done XY and Z, and they did a bit of jiggerypokery on it and said it should be working now. A day later and the phone was still not working and had the same issues as above, so I went back in and there was more fiddling about with it.”
Still no joy. So she went back a third time and was told that the phone would have to be returned to Apple. She was told that if it was any other phone they would exchange it, but not Apple. “They said they would give me a number to dial and arrange this with Apple myself. I pointed out that the phone never worked and that I should be given another phone, but no, they said, this was their policy.”
We contacted Meteor. A spokeswoman said she was “very sorry to hear” about our reader’s bad experience and attributed it to “an error with the Sim swap”. She promised to work with her to resolve any outstanding issues and they “have also credited her account as a gesture of goodwill”.
WHEN IT COMES TO TESCO AND SIZES, DOES BUYING LITTLE HELP?
Peter Mulholland was doing a bit of shopping in a Tesco in Bettystown, Co Meath, last week when he noticed a pricing anomaly that he thought might interest readers. Two small packets of Tesco-branded rice and its own-brand coffee cost less than the same volume when they are sold in a larger packet.
A 2kg bag of Tesco own-brand basmati rice costs €4.99 while a 1kg bag of exactly the same rice costs is €2.26 which takes the price for 2kg to €4.52. A 454g bag of Tesco’s own-brand French ground coffee, meanwhile is €6.99 while the 227g bag is €3.29, which equates to €6.58 for 454g.
“I can only guess that this is a cynical ploy to use shopping behaviour to extract more money out of people,” he writes.
We contacted Tesco. A spokesman said the store now “recognise that the pricing for the larger packs is not consistent with our pricing guidelines. We apologise for this mistake and have reduced the price of a 2kg Tesco own-brand basmati rice to €4.49 and 454g Tesco own French ground coffee to €4.69. We are happy to offer a refund to any customer who purchased the larger packs at the previous price.”
ALMOST CAUGHT OUT BY VHI’S POLICY OF AUTO-RENEWAL
A reader called Mike took out VHI multi-trip travel insurance in May last year and used it once. “My wife and I are going to the Canaries in early June,” he writes. “I phoned VHI’s travel-insurance section last week to get a quote for single-trip travel cover, but it was far too expensive compared with others. I told the young lady that I would not be using VHI for this trip and in the course of the subsequent discussion she told me the VHI multi-trip cover I had taken out last year would be automatically renewed again this year.
“This caught me by surprise, as I assumed that my cover would lapse after one calendar year. But not so, according to VHI. Can this be true? How many people bother to cancel the following year, if they remember at all? I suspect many are caught out by this.”
A VHI spokeswoman said that when someone takes out a multi-trip policy over the phone, they are given the choice of automatic renewal. “If the customer indicates they do not wish for their policy to automatically renew, the adviser will set it to manual renewal.” When policies are bought online, they automatically auto-renew.
In both cases, customers get a pre-renewal notice, 30 days before their renewal date, she said. “This advises the customer to contact us if they do not want their policy to auto-renew. If the customer doesn’t contact us, and subsequently sees that their policy has auto-renewed but does not want the policy, we also apply a 14-day cooling-off period in which they can cancel their policy and receive a full refund. “