My Brother Clive was happy with his old fashioned, no camera, no frills phone. He put his credit on regular, it had far too much credit that he would ever need. The only people he rang was me or the local taxi company. I was able to phone him and always able to get him day or night. He was happy with his basic, no nonsense phone.
Then 6 months ago he had a phone call to say he is no longer with EE for they have moved him to another phone company for EE no longer do pay as you go, but he would now have to get a contract and that they would send him a brand new smart phone and a tablet, all free. I went to visit him as I did every week to make sure he is OK and he told me about the new phone he was going to get all free. I was puzzled that they would send him a phone, a free one but also more puzzled that they told him he can longer be pay as you go! I’d not heard that before.
As he has no bank account they told him he had to get one so he could pay them monthly by direct debit. He asked me to go with him to the bank, as he has mental health problems, so I went to his flat so we could go in the taxi together as he’d made an appointment with the bank. He asked me to buy us both a MacDonald’s, while he was at the bank, as a thank you for going with him. I got the meal he wanted and I got my favourite, Big Mac, Fries and Hot Chocolate. When I got to the bank a short time later I was very surprised that he was waiting for me outside, he said, “The man at the bank said, I couldn’t set up a direct debit today for the info I brought with me was a not proper ID,” I replied, “But you get your benefits, that should be ID enough!”
Back at his flat he told me, “The man in the bank told me I had to renew my driving licence that is what I will need to be able to then have a direct debit with them, it should take about 2-3 weeks.” I reminded him that he wasn’t well enough to drive! Clive said, “That’s what he told me to do so I must do it!” Inside I was shaking my head for I thought all this was nonsense, for my poor Brother, all this hassle!
The next time I was at his flat he had got the driving licence form he asked me to check it for him and he gave me the money for the postal order. I sent it off and sent it registered post so they can’t say they didn’t get it, and we waited. And waited. Three weeks later the postal order and form he’d filled in was returned with the letter to Clive, saying he was not allowed to drive!!! They knew when they got his info that he was too poorly to drive! Yet the bank and the stupid phone company didn’t know this!!
In the mean time he’d asked me to show him how to us a Smartphone on my phone. It was like trying to teach someone from the Dark Ages, he didn’t have a clue! I must have showed him 50 times how to switch it on and told him 100 times, “There is no need to press SO hard!” How he didn’t break my phone I don’t know. I would show him the menu and tell him to think of a song, any song, the first song he chose was, “The Boys Are Back In Town,” by Thin Lizzy, he was so impressed with the quality of the video and the sound, I told him, “Any song you can think of will be on this phone, it is like a mini computer, it has maps, it takes fantastic pictures.” I tried to get him to take pictures but he kept moving the phone as he did so, so it was always blurred! It was hard work, very frustrating on both our parts, I wouldn’t usually have put up with all this, but he’s my Brother.
His top of range Smartphone was laid neatly on his window sill in his Lounge out of its box, plastic film still on, the screen unused, he didn’t want to use it until he had learnt how to switch mine on, and was able to find the menu, on my phone. He also wanted to sort out the direct debit first before he felt it really did belong to him.
He rang the phone company and told them he was not able to get a driving licence, he didn’t want them to know he was ill.... their reply was to tell him his first bill was now due! In the to-ing and fro-ing the Company they had told him they had handed him over to, they had now had him back! Clive told them he wasn’t able to set up a direct debit yet.
I told Clive to get a letter from the hospital where he gets his tablets and ask the Doctor to write him a letter, for proof that he has ID and that he is who he says he is. Clive should have a Social Worker but they seem to have deserted him maybe its cutbacks, I don’t know, he has no help, so when he had a letter to say, his bill of £20 was now overdue, I asked my cousin Stan, who works with those who are venerable to help.
Meanwhile my poor phone was getting a bettering each week! It was like he had no memory! At first Clive had told me he didn’t want the new phone or tablet, then as time went by and we had our weekly ‘sessions’ in lessons he thought he was getting confident, but I realized it wasn’t going to happen, Clive told me a few times, how much he loved his new phone, yet it stayed unmoved, unopened, unused with the charger and other items on his window sill in his Lounge.
So with a stale mate, of no direct debit or letter from the hospital, for Clive didn’t like that idea, one day a horrible letter, arrived it was sent for EE from the bailiffs!! They had added a charge onto his £20 none payment bill and said they were going to cut him off (now this would have been very dangerous, as his phone is his life line! Last year he was able to phone for an ambulance when he had fainted and when he came round covered in blood, he called 999 and was in hospital for weeks) now it’s not like my Brother refused to pay the bill, for I was horrified when he told me he had on his old fashioned, no camera, no nonsense phone a whopping £84 credit! I told him he didn’t need to put any more on for a very long time. The phone company had originally told him they would transfer the £84 from his pay as you go phone onto his £500 phone but they never did, incidentally the tablet Clive told me, was like a large version of his phone, as I had said to him, that he would struggle to use his new Smartphone, for he had now convinced himself that he didn’t, “Want that old thing anymore.”
I took Clive’s letter home and reassured him I would get our cousin Stan to, “Sort it out.” Cousin Stan doesn’t always reply straight away, as he is very busy with lots of cases like Clive’s! Lot of people are been ripped off or trampled on, and the big bullies don’t care who these vulnerable adults are, just as long as they get their money!
Our Cousin Stan went to Clive’s and took both the phones, the new unused one and the unopened tablet, he let the EE company know that he was posting it back to them after he had spoken to them on the phone. He reassured my troubled Brother it was now, “All sorted.”
Then a letter arrived from the bailiffs, talking about taking him to court!!! I rang Stan and left a message I then texted him all their details their Reference numbers, the company name, the now new higher bill and their contact telephone number. The rat bags!!! I was very angry with EE, my Brother was a good customer, always paid his credit, of which he had too much on his tatty, just-the-right-size-for-him phone, he lived his almost recluse life quietly and they had now barged in and done all this!!!
A few days later after the third letter from the bailiffs arrived, Stan rang me to say he had spoken to EE and he had said to EE, “While I am still on the phone, you phone the bailiffs now and sort it all out that there is no payment to be made!” He heard the conversation and EE said to him, “That the matter is now sorted and that a letter will be sent to say there is no charge.”
I went to his flat last week, and he said, “I have a letter from EE I think its good news, (his eyesight is not very good) I read the letter to him and this is what it said....” £20.00 plus £3.50 is now -£23.49 no charge, you owe us 1p please pay now.” For goodness sake!!! I said to Clive, “Do not pay a penny!” (Excuse the pun) I was tempted to pay it myself, but I thought, ‘why should I?’ I let Stan know he said, “Not to worry, the letter may have already been processed before he last spoke to them, ignore it.” Knowing EE as I do now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got the bailiffs involved for the penny!
Clive is happy with his old phone, it does the job, he can contact me and he can phone for his taxies. It turned out someone had lied about the, “We don’t do pay as you go anymore,” we didn’t pursue it but glad it’s all sorted now, or is it? I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a letter next month!!!