Tiscali Accounting System

  It's Me 17:00 24 Mar 2005

I recently fell foul of their accounting department.
I was away in Portugal and managed to leave my Credit Card at a Restaurant, on the day that they were closing for a month. This was December. Although I knew that the Card was safe, I couldn't contact them after I found it missing, so I had to cancel it and have the fun of replacing it, using a neighbour to send out the card and get the new pin to me, as the Bank would only send these to my home address.

I knew that this was the card that was being used to pay for my Tiscali connection and phone use. I went onto their web site, and carefully changed the payment details to the new card, noting that, because of the coincidence of dates and the length of time it had taken for me to get the card, that the account was 1 month in arrears. I assumed that by altering the details in my account, on the web site, that would sort it, after all, why have the ability to alter those details if not!

Wrong. Their system can't do that. When I got home at the beginning of March, I had Red letters warning me of all dire consequences of not dealing with this matter of non payment. I 'phoned them, and related the events. I was told that the only way to change payment details was on the phone.
Naturally, I paid them, 3 months now, and was assured that my details had been recorded and that all was well.

6 days later, I got a 16 day notice to say that if I didn't pay up, I would be cut off, and their debt collection agency would get involved. Furious, I phoned again, and eventually I received a very sheepish apology, for he said, a system error.

The reason for this message, is as a warning to others. It seems to me, that a phone call will be required every other year or so, as the card becomes renewed and the expiry date is therefore altered, rendering the old card useless.

  freaky 18:01 24 Mar 2005

You would be far better off paying by Direct Debit rather than Credit Card for the following reasons: -

(a) You would not have had this problem.

(b) You can always cancel a Direct Debit.

(c) You cannot cancel regular payments on a Credit Card, only the recipient can do that.

  Jackcoms 20:21 24 Mar 2005

I also use Tiscali and agree 100% with freaky.

In fact, why use a credit card at all for regular payments?

A Direct Debit is safer, quicker, more convenient and can be cancelled by YOU at any time (and it's impossible to leave them lying around in restaurants).

  freaky 21:10 24 Mar 2005

I will add something further to what I and Jackcoms have said: -

A couple of years ago I subscribed via Life Magazine for a series of Musical CD's using my credit card...the CD's were useless. The only way I could stop them charging and sending the CD's to me was by phoning them and saying I was going to the USA for two years to work!

  It's Me 12:39 25 Mar 2005

They have given me the impression that I couldn't pay by Direct Debit on my Bank A/c, and that a credit card was the only way. Now, thank you, I will pursue this further. As you say, quite correctly, payment by Credit Card is fraught with problems,; perhaps this is why they really prefer it!

  Stuartli 14:39 25 Mar 2005

I've paid WorldOnline (since, of course, taken over by Tiscali) by direct debit for six years and the amount taken has always been spot on; the sum varies slightly from month to month as I check for e-mails outside the DayTimePlus hours of 8am to 6pm at the 1p per minute rate.

  Wilham 17:40 25 Mar 2005

Without attempting to advise on payment method may I say the arguments for direct debit (DD) versus cridit card (CC) are not not all one-sided.

In both systems the bank and/or credit card company is providing you with what used to be called collateral security,- in loose terms it is underwriting the payment.

With DD the bank is just making a payment from your a/c which you have already agreed in advance for whatever reason, in the same way it might advance you an overdraft. On the other hand a CC transaction is credit, and you agree payment expecting a return. If this return doesn't happen then civil law offers you some protection.

You can still resort to the courts with DD but the bank is not usually involved. With CC the protection is much stronger. It first became well known when an airline called Laker Airways went bankrupt. Passengers who had booked using CC had refunds whilst others had to wait.

With DD you are responsible to the bank to see that your a/c can cope with DD withdrawals,... or you pay for default.
It is cheaper to use CC if... (i) you never go into the red, and (ii) you use a 'cash back' CC, which may amount to half or quarter percent. It is possible to pay the CC a/c when it is due by DD.

  It's Me 15:24 29 Mar 2005

Phoned them, and they say they have now changed the method of payment to Direct Debit from my Bank A/c. They did take the Bank details, so it should happen, I will wait and see.

I also asked for details of my 'phone calls, as I use their system for that too. I've asked twice before and been told that 'I will see to that for you sir', but nothing has happened. This time I am told that I have never requested details to be shown on my account, which is only available on the internet anyway. Why the Heck I wasn't told this the last twice that I asked, I have no idea, however, this time the lass made me wait till she had done the deed, so, again, I will wait and see.

Why are things so difficult to organise. I would have thought that it was normal to want details of phone calls in case of 'strangers', and since they compete with BT saying that they are cheaper, without the details it is not possible to compare.

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