Tiscali Billing Problems (again)

  Jackcoms 12:38 10 Dec 2004

I know that Tiscali's bill collection problems have been aired in these forums before, but here's another development.

I have always had a Direct Debit arrangement in place to pay my monthly subscription, but because of their own incompetence nothing has been collected by Tiscali since November of LAST year.

I have today received a letter from them which starts "Despite our previous communications you still have an outstanding balance on your Tiscali account". I have had NO previous communications from them.

Their letter then goes on to say "Failure to contact us by 17th December will result in your account being closed". There has always been sufficient money in my bank account to pay Tiscali's bills.

I duly rang the number given on the Tiscali letter only to find that I was talking to a debt collection agency hired to "sort out Tiscali's problems". They insisted that I use my credit card to settle the amount stated in their letter (which is about £20.00 less that the amount I knew was due). When I asked them what was wrong with the existing Direct Debit I was told that it had been "suspended until January until outstanding bills are paid".

In fact, only I or my bank can 'suspend' a Direct Debit.

In spite of pointing out that I had a perfectly valid Direct Debit arrangement with them, I was told that if I didn't give a Credit Card number to settle the outstanding amount NOW "see what happens on the 17th".

When I asked for this threat to be explained, I was told that I would be cut off.

I relate this tale to forewarn other Tiscali users that they are now using bully boy tactics to collect outstanding sums from their customers.

I would never give credit card details if there was even the remotest chance that a direct debit would be set up on it.The reason is that direct debits on credit cards can only be canceled by the company that set it up, and not the owner of the card.I like to be in complete control of where my finances go at any given moment.
Of course I am not implying that the Tiscali debt collectors, having got your card number would proceed to set up a direct debit on it; but why place temptation in their way.

  Jackcoms 14:24 10 Dec 2004


"I am not implying that the Tiscali debt collectors, having got your card number would proceed to set up a direct debit on it; but why place temptation in their way".

You have missed the point of my post which was about the practises being used - 'pay us now or we'll cut you off'.

In any event, companies can only charge regular amounts to your card if they have the written authority of the card holder - and they have nothing of the sort from me.

The Direct Debit I referred to is on my bank account.

  spuds 14:48 10 Dec 2004

I use Tiscalli, and every month I receive an email informing me that a payment is due, and it will be taken from my account on a certain date and time.Whether you pay by Direct Debit or Credit Card, you should have details when payments are due. Have you not received this communication?.

If you have used the service since November 2003, and no payments have been made, then surely you must have known about this before now. It is no good saying that Tiscali were to blame, unless you have made previous attempts in bringing the matter to their attention. If on the other hand, you have tried to communicate with Tiscali and have had no response, then this would be a different matter.

If the debt collection agency are using threats or intimation methods, then there are laws and safeguards available. Consult your local trading standards, citizen advice or local free law centre for advice.

  Confab 15:38 10 Dec 2004

Why not just send them a cheque for the outstanding sum and set up a new Direct Debit? I can understand your concerns in respect of the alleged "bully boy" tactics but if you want to resolve this you can. Perhaps an apology from Tiscali is in order. Alternatively you could send them a cheque and find another isp.


  It's Me 15:59 10 Dec 2004

That is interesting. I use their BB and their phone service (whatever it is called) and they both come on the same bill.

I have a direct debit on my credit card arrangement with Tiscali and I don't have a problem with that at all, however I have never received any notification of an amount due or a time when it will be taken. I have phoned them and they have admitted that they should have done that and it will now be done,and the invoice sent, but it never has. All that happens is that each month an amount is taken from my credit card account which I have to assume represents the cost of the BB and the phone calls.

i don't bother too much as the payment is much less than I was paying BT for my calls.

I reckon they suffer from an inability to deal correctly with customers accounts, which is strange when, after all, this is something that businesses have been doing for donkey's years and is not something started up by this electronic age.

I also recollect that when I started with this new phone system, I did not have any option as to how I paid. It was direct debit on my credit card or nowt.

  Jackcoms 16:25 10 Dec 2004


You have also missed the point.

Yes, I do receive an e-mail more or less each month telling me that my bill can be viewed on line. Yes, the bill does state that £xx will be taken from my account on a certain date and, yes, I always ensure that sufficient funds are available in my bank account - see my post.

However, in spite of all this, Tiscali DO NOT claim the money.

Why, therefore, with a perfectly good bank Direct Debit mandate in place have they now 'bullied' me into using my credit card for the outstanding figure?

I wasn't given an option - give us your card details or we'll cut you off on the 17th. I'm not disputing the outstanding amount but I am questioning why they cannot use the valid Direct Debit mandate.

  Valvegrid 17:40 10 Dec 2004

I understand you receive an email to say they are debiting your account monthly,but have you checked your bank account to make sure the payment is actually leaving your account? If it has, the question needs be asked were has the money gone?

If it hasn't been leaving your account, why didn't you get in touch with them sooner? It would have been resolved before the knuckleheads got involved.

  Confab 19:15 10 Dec 2004

I think that it's quite clear from Jackcoms first post that no money has been collected from his account since November last year - over 12 months.

Jackcoms - maybe you haven't been proactive in advising Tiscali that no payments have been collected from your account? IMHO Tiscali would collect your payments by Direct Debit if they could but for some reason unbeknown to you or I they can't and that's why the matter has been passed to debt collectors.

Whilst I have every sympathy with the way you appear to have been treated this can so easily be resolved by writing one cheque. What do you want Tiscali to do, write off 12 months subscription?

It's simple - you owe the money, you have used the service, just pay up and if need be sign a new DD mandate.

  Forum Editor 19:32 10 Dec 2004

as to why you are so irate about this. You've had an entire year to point out the error to Tiscali, and I'm sure you aren't disputing that you owe them the money, so why not just pay it instead of entering into an argument about semantics with the debt-collection agency? It's not their fault, they're simply doing their job.

Instead of telling everyone they've missed the point (which they haven't) I suggest that you pay your debt to Tiscali and move on. You could easily have avoided all this by contacting Tiscali months ago - they've made a mistake, but that's all it is.

  Valvegrid 19:37 10 Dec 2004

May I just add, now this has been put in the hands of debt collectors, this could reflect in your future credit rating, I'm not saying it will, but it could. So please get it sorted ASAP.

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