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T&C Interpretation

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  • T&C Interpretation

    Hi,
    I am having a problem with Plusnet & would like to know the correct interpretation of a specific section of their T&Cís.
    I have listed the relevant section below.

    Could someone please advise (preferably in the strictly legal interpretation) if Plusnet can terminate their service to me immediately on receiving a Direct Debit cancellation notice from my bank, based on the T&Cís as listed below.

    My specific query is:
    Can Ď22.1.5.í stand alone or does it have to be used in conjunction with Ď22.2.Ď?

    _____

    Terms and conditions for Plusnet Mobile services:

    22. Our right to suspend your service or end our agreement

    22.1.5. if you fail to pay for the service, pay using a method other than that which we've agreed with you or you fail to maintain an active Direct Debit on your account (and we havenít agreed an alternative payment method);

    22.2. We'll normally try to give you 30 days' prior notice before suspending or stopping providing our services and/or ending our agreement). However, we may not do this if we believe there is a real risk of loss or harm to us, our network or our other customers (for example, if youíre not paying for the service or where there is a reasonable suspicion of fraud or other abuse).

    _____

    Extra Info:
    The service they terminated was paid for in advance. The next payment due was 3+ weeks away.
    The above has been extracted from their full T&Cís which can be found here:
    https://www.plus.net/help/legal/mobile-terms/

    Thank you for taking the time to read this,
    Kind regards.

    O_O
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Hello

    Can you provide some more context? You talk about a direct debit cancellation but then go on to say you've paid in advance - was a direct debit set up for an annual advance payment or is there some other reason?
    If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
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    LEGAL DISCLAIMER
    Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by R0b View Post
      Hello

      Can you provide some more context? You talk about a direct debit cancellation but then go on to say you've paid in advance - was a direct debit set up for an annual advance payment or is there some other reason?
      I was changing bank accounts therefore I cancelled the direct debit & was due to set up a new one a few days later.
      It is a rolling monthly contract.
      The direct debit takes money each month to pay for the next month's service in advance. This is why the services had been paid for.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would say you can't read 22.1.5 without also reading it in conjunction with 22.2 as it's a qualification to the right to suspend or terminate. I would say in most circumstances they should give you notice of termination but I think it will come down to the question of what is meant by if youíre not paying for the service. I would think this reference would infer that you have made a conscious decision to tell them that you aren't paying for a service or that you've failed to pay for the service and is outstanding for a number of months.

        But if you've already paid for the service for that month then I can't see how they could argue that you are not paying for the service. Anyway, Clause 22.1.5 might be grounds for arguing the clause is an unfair contract term, particularly the circumstances you describe. It would be necessary to cancel your existing direct debit for various reasons, such as closing bank account or if you choose to have all your bills come out of a different account etc.

        However, note 20.2:

        If you cancel your Direct Debit without contacting us to arrange payment by alternative means, we may assume you want to end our agreement.
        If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
        LEGAL DISCLAIMER
        Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for your comprehensive & prompt reply ROB.
          I have tried to point out most of what you say to Plusnet & the Ombudsman Service, though without knowing the correct wording to use - "...qualification to the right..." - I have failed to make them understand my argument.

          Thank you for pointing out 20.2 - I hope this can not be reasonably considered a justifiable reason to suspend services paid for upfront. Also they did not terminate my incoming service therefore it would be difficult for them to argue they had put an end to our agreement.

          I will push forward with an appeal to the Ombudsman Service despite the fact they refuse to accept appeals unless there is new evidence; which I don't have. I do however have a new certainty that they have erred too (which is a generous way to view their position).

          Thank you for your time; it is much appreciated.

          Comment


          • #6
            Depends how you look at 20.2, from your perspective you could say that if you cancel you should contact them to arrange alternative arrangement but it doesn't say how soon you need to call them. In the absence of any specific time period I would say you have a reasonable period of time to give them a call.

            P.s. I personally don't believe the Ombudsman is worth the paper particularly if there are issues around interpretation of the contract. Your best bet is to look at legal proceedings if you want to go down that route.

            Out of curiosity, what is it you are asking for in terms of resolution.
            If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
            - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
            LEGAL DISCLAIMER
            Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

            Comment


            • #7
              My main aim is to get Plusnet to remove terms that (in my opinion) are completely unfair & unacceptable.
              They are the ones (mainly 22.1.5) that they claim give them the power to suspend services which have:
              1) been fully paid for
              2) could lead to someone being put in real jeopardy by not having an outgoing telephone service.

              My service was cut at 01:30 AM at the time Sarah Everard was missing.
              If the publicity around that case cannot make them see the danger of what they did then they are probably beyond reasonable people but I will continue trying.
              They argue that 999 was still available to me therefore their practice is not dangerous.
              I consider that a silly argument as I nobody can use 999 to call a taxi or their lift home which is what is needed to keep people out of jeopardy.
              I am also asking for monetary compensation (initially £150, now £200 increasing as I put more time into the issue) but that really does not drive me. It was just applied in a futile attempt to make them settle quickly).

              I fully agree with your view of the Ombudsman though I have to go through the hoops.
              My next stage is my MP (another waste of time most likely) then consider if a court claim is worthwhile as I really am not seeking monetary recompense but I really believe their position is dangerous to others, completely unfair & most likely illegal.

              Comment


              • #8
                As ROB alluded to (& I have experienced previously) - the Ombudsman Service is a waste of time.
                Here is their response to my further questioning of them regards their decision to side with Plusnet:

                "Please be assured that I have considered all of the terms and conditions that apply in your case including section 22.2.

                However I remain satisfied that it was reasonable for Plusnet to have suspended your services without 30 days notice as it explains that it may not give you notice if it believes that there was a risk of loss. Whilst I understand that you have told us that you paid in advance for your services this only covers your fixed monthly line rental and does not include any protentional (sic) out of bundle costs which are billed in arrears. I therefore consider it was reasonable for Plusnet to consider there was a risk of loss as you did not have an active direct debit set up to pay any out of bundle charges.

                I hope that this clarifies my rationale in this case.
                "

                So a multi-million (billion?) £ company sees fit to suspend a paid for upfront service just in case a customer with a perfect credit history & zero previous 'out of bundle' charges causes them 'a loss'.
                The Ombudsman Service in their unbiased opinion considers that acceptable.
                Their minuscule risk of a loss (which could be recovered legally if I failed to set up another DD) overrides my right to receive a fully paid for service.
                Their minuscule risk also overrides any potential safety consideration that a mobile phone service provides customers at 01:30 AM.
                The response of The Ombudsman Service also carefully avoids explicitly stating that my calls, texts, & data had been paid for upfront along with the 'line rental' (who else calls a mobile phone service line rental?).

                Am I the only one who thinks they are clutching at straws here?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Personally, you are not likely to get the terms removed unless you go to court at least, but even then Plusnet would not be required to remove them since any decision is at County Court level and is not binding on other courts. Suggest you take a read of the Competition and Markets Authority's guidance on unfair terms (link here) page 92 might be of assistance.

                  I'm also not sure what the Sarah Everard case has to do with your mobile being cut off - can you clarify that? If you are suggesting the link between these two scenarios as I think you are trying, then what your describing is going to be far too remote to even consider. You can't expect service providers to cater for every kind of situation, that's just not possible.

                  Have Plusnet now reinstated you or do you still have no service?
                  If you have a question about the voluntary termination process, please read this guide first, as it should have all the answers you need. Please do not hijack another person's thread as I will not respond to you
                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                  LEGAL DISCLAIMER
                  Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you for the link ROB. I will learn what I can from that.

                    The reference to Sarah Everard is purely to highlight the importance of having a mobile phone connection. I only used that example with Plusnet as it was current at the time of my complaint.
                    People out at night consider a mobile phone connection an important part of their safety.
                    To have this removed casually can put people at unnecessary risk. I am suggesting they should not be allowed to cut a phone connection without any consideration for the risks it could put the customer in.
                    If this was not a consideration, then 999 would not have been available to me either Ė but it was.
                    It shows they recognise the safety aspect of the service they provide. However, dialling 999 for a cab or lift home is not an option & many more people will have been requiring that option at the time in question due to the fear surrounding that case. My disconnection was enacted at about 01:30 AM.

                    After a quick read I noticed from the link you sent:
                    2.19 To be unfair an imbalance must be practically significant, but a finding of unfairness does not require proof that a term has already caused actual harm. The fairness assessment is concerned with rights and duties, and therefore its focus is on potential not actual outcomes.
                    A term may be open to challenge if it could be used to cause consumer detriment even if it is not at present being used so as to produce that outcome in practice.

                    I find it a great imbalance that they sought to protect their potential (very limited) losses, by cutting my fully paid for services at 01:30 AM as detailed in post #8.

                    It needs to be remembered it was only my direct debit that was cancelled Ė it was not a payment that failed. I owed Plusnet nothing at the time of my services being suspended.

                    My service was re-instated immediately upon me setting up a new direct debit.

                    Comment

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