Eircom accused of leaving switcher with huge bill

An Eircom salesman told a customer his line was capable of 4MB broadband speed. In fact, its limit was only 1MB

An Eircom salesman told a customer his line was capable of 4MB broadband speed. In fact, its limit was only 1MB


A Mayo reader called us to complain about Eircom. At the end of March a salesman for the phone provider called to his house to ask if he would be interested in returning to the company from Vodafone. “I told him that I had just signed up to another 12-month contract and was told that due to an increase in Vodafone call charges there was a 30-day window for any customer to exit their contract without termination charges. He stated on numerous occasions that he would not have knocked on my door if this condition was not present and also guaranteed that my line was capable of up to 4MB broadband speeds.”

However, when our reader’s first Eircom bill came he had been put on a lower Home Starter package and was told his line was not capable of anything above 1MB.

Worse was to come. In May he received a bill from Vodafone with a termination charge of €448.43. “I rang Eircom the following day, Thursday, May 16th, to lodge a complaint and was told that under the Vodafone terms and conditions a contract could only be terminated within 30 days of the increase in call charges if the customer called them directly. “This had never been stated to me by the Eircom salesperson,” he says. He was told that he was not the only customer this had happened to and was assured that his complaint would be dealt with “as quickly as possible”.

Last week he was told that Eircom “would not claim any responsibility for their actions and that they are willing to terminate my contract and that the €448.43 due on my Vodafone bill is between me and them. The only reason I changed back to Eircom was because they were offering me a faster broadband service and that I would not have to pay any termination fee to leave Vodafone mid-contract. These items were promised and not delivered and now they want to wipe their hands of me with a Vodafone bill for €448.43 to boot.”

The gift card that doesn’t keep on giving, or even start
A reader called Denise contacted us to share her experience of trying to use a One4all gift card. “Having received one recently, I tried to use it (unsuccessfully) in part payment for an item. I bravely decided to try it again to pay for my groceries. The very helpful sales assistant tried it in two different tills, still no joy!”

Her husband then asked in their local post office if it could be cashed and was told it was not possible. “We were advised to contact the phone number in the accompanying booklet which he did,” she writes.

He was told they would post us a new card to them. It arrived last week. Our reader was getting some groceries and decided to use it. “Unbelievably it would not work! The sales assistant told me they have had trouble with these cards in the past, and to phone again. I am a bit fed up of the card at this stage but I made the call and listened to a message telling me how great the cards are before I got to talk to a real person. The second person I spoke to was able to inform me that the card had not been activated! Apparently when they post out a card it is not activated in case it goes astray. Not a problem. Why not inform the recipient so they are not embarrassed when they try to use it? I suspect I am not the only person to have two unactivated cards.”

Customer service? It’s buried in the small print
A couple of weeks back we featured an item from a reader who had opened a 40-day notice account with his local Bank of Ireland branch in Cork three years ago. He said the interest rate wasn’t much but it was substantially better than their “on demand” rates. However, he was less than impressed when he realised that since last August he has only been receiving 0.1 per cent – significantly less than the rate agreed when he opened the account. Although the rate had fallen, the 40-day written notice period was immovable.

Last week the reader sent us an update. After we highlighted the issue he got an e-mail from Bank of Ireland saying his complaint was being forwarded to BoI Group Customer Complaints for “investigation”. Last week he got “a lovely letter from James Casey at BoI. Having reviewed the matter, he said that the bank had acted within the terms and conditions for the account. Having thanked me for my ‘valued custom’ he kindly enclosed the 10 pages of terms and conditions. Sure enough there it was (section 6.0) in black and white. ‘The bank reserves the right at all times to introduce new terms and conditions...’ Well, I have to admit they had me there! Customer service? You can only laugh really.”