Pricewatch: Readers’ queries
This week’s consumer concerns relate to XBox Live charges, the registration of Russell Hobbs products, and a long wait for a phone repair
‘Why should I have to pay for something neither I nor my son intended to buy?’ a reader asks
XBox Live charges get a bit Messi for one family
A reader named Sharon contacted us in connection with her son’s XBox. “In 2012 my son who was 10, wanted to get XBox Live so that he could play Fifa. I paid a monthly subscription of €6.99 via the console with my Visa credit card,” she writes. “All was well, €6.99 was charged each month, but then in April 2014 when I was checking my credit-card statements from the previous months I noticed that there had been multiple transactions on my account for XBox Live since the end of January, for varying amounts between €0.99 and €19.99.”
She questioned her son, who “absolutely denies making any purchases”. The family were very upset, not least because money is tight. “He has been playing Fifa 14 and was winning players and packs. All I can figure is that for that period of time he thought he was winning and doing really well when he was in fact unknowingly buying these players and packs.
“I contacted the company and was directed to their fraud department, who said there had not been fraudulent use of the account, but they refunded €94. I have tried to explain that it’s not that the account was hacked but that my son did not know he was buying packs – this was not made clear to him.”
She also contacted Visa, which says it’s not their problem, “even though I didn’t authorise the payment and my son didn’t even know he was buying anything. I am at a loss. I have spent hours on the phone with XBox and Avantcard trying to resolve this issue and I’m getting nowhere. Why should I have to pay for something neither I nor my son intended to buy?”
We got in touch with Sony but had yet to hear back from the company at the time of going to press.
Another Russell Hobbs registration problem
Last week we featured an item about Tony Burke’s problems registering his new Russell Hobbs kettle online. He was unable to do so because the registration process only accepted UK addresses and phone numbers, and the Irish website showed the message “under construction”.
This prompted Joe Jones to get in touch. “I have the same problem with Russell Hobbs regarding registration. They have failed also to respond to my query other than acknowledging my email,” he said.
Then Burke got back on to us. He had got a response from the kettle people. “Unfortunately we are unable to register customers who live in the Republic of Ireland as our database requires a postcode to proceed,” he was told. “They provided a Dublin number, which turned out to be listed under Remington Consumer Products,” he writes.
“I rang the number and spoke to Linda, who was friendly and helpful – she was well aware of the registration problem for Irish customers – and she agreed to register the product ‘through the back door’. As I write, the Russell Hobbs Irish website is still ‘under construction’.”
A spokeswoman for Russell Hobbs confirmed that its online product registration was “currently only available to those with a UK postal address. We hope to have a solution in the very near future. For the time being customers outside the UK can call 00-44-8456589700 to register their product. For any further queries, please contact Spectrum Brands on 01-4295140. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
Put on hold by Samsung for over two months
Paul Weldon is a customer of 3 Mobile. He bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 at the end of April last year. “The phone became faulty last December and in January I returned it to the shop where I had bought it and they sent it off to be repaired. The main fault with the phone at that time was the alarm was failing to go off,” he writes.
It was returned to him, but further faults developed. “I again contacted the shop and requested that it be returned to the manufacturer for repair. I was told that 3 can’t send it directly for repair but I was given authority to do so myself by the store manager.”
He made contact with Samsung, which collected the phone. “It is now 77 days later and my phone has not been returned, and I can’t get an update from Samsung on the progress of my phone, despite several phone calls. I have been told that they will contact me the next day, but they have never followed through. I am at my wits’ end.”
We contacted Samsung. It apologised “for the inconvenience” and said it had “rectified the matter to the customer’s satisfaction and provided a new Samsung handset. We have commenced an investigation to evaluate where potential amendments could be made to ensure a more efficient service in the future".