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Nuisance Text Messages

I apologise in advance for the long narrative but I have a mildly amusing situation where I get a weekly text message from Lowells, a debt agency asking me to contact them on a weekly basis.

It originates from some ten or twelve years ago when I had a phone contract, or in fact, several phone contracts with EE.

One of the contracts was for a data sim which I used in an iPad. The iPad was stolen with the sim in it. I reported it to the police etc but never heard anything back. I left the sim active for a month to see if I could track the iPad but I couldn't so I then contacted EE to deactivate the sim. It was a call centre abroad somewhere, I suspect Malaysia but that is just a guess.

I noticed after a month or two that my phone bills were increasing considerably although at first, I just put this down to being more busy. I had two phones, a business one and a personal one plus I paid for my brothers phone because at the time, we were doing a joint venture with a groundwork business. And of course I had the data sim in the iPad.

a few more months later, the bills were starting to get a bit outrageous and I noticed that I never seemed to have any data free on my other phones. In fact, at one time, the wife and I took a weeks break at Lulworth Cove and while I was there, I noticed that my data was used up and a new lot of data was due to start the following day. When I checked the following day, the data was already used up.

It was clear that something was wrong although at the time, I was scratching my head because I didn't have a clue what was wrong. I had made several phone calls to EE (always a foreign call centre) querying various things but each time, I was assured that everything was fine.

Eventually after perusing my phone contracts online extensively, I made a rather curious discovery. The stolen data sim was still being used. It wasn't just being used for data either. Phone calls were also being made on the data sim. Something that surprised me. I didn't know you could do that with a data sim. So whatever charges were incurred with that sim were being taken by EE through a standing order straight from my bank account.

I got straight onto EE (a foreign call centre again) and asked them to cancel the data sim again and look into what was going on. The woman I spoke to said she would do so and I hoped to get the matter resolved and some money returned to me. Fat chance!

Not only did I not hear anything back but it became apparent over the next month that the charges for the data sim persisted. Twice now, that data sim had been cancelled and yet, it was still being used by a thief and EE were taking the money from my bank account for it.

No matter what I said to anybody at a foreign call centre, it obviously wasn't working so I thought, I need to speak to someone at EE who wasn't just a call centre flunkey. It wasn't an easy task but I finally tracked down the head office phone number for EE in the UK.

So I called them hoping to finally get this mess sorted out. All they could say at EE head office was that I was just trying to get out of paying my phone bill. My points about the data sim being cancelled twice and yet phone calls as well as data usage still being used on the data sim didn't mean a thing to them.

So. I ended up not paying the bill!

It was only seventy quid outstanding but after all the many months of paying for a thief to communicate with the world and EE telling me I was talking nonsense, I was lying and I simply didn't want to pay, I just thought stuff them!

From then on, it was Giff Gaff all the way!

Of course it didn't rest there from EE's point of view. There was the usual final demands and threatening letters and then they posted with a credit reference agency that I had knocked them. I posted a response on the credit reference agency to their report of me not paying them. My credit did suffer for a while but I was working in a sector where cash was more commonplace than using cards so it didn't make any real difference to me and although that has now changed, my credit rating is nice and high again now.

Eventually, EE sold the "debt" to Lowell. They are a firm who specialise in buying debt cheaply and then chasing the debtor until they get their money.

So Lowell have been onto me on some quite numerous occasions now. It began with letters arriving on an almost weekly basis. They just got binned unopened. Then they started phoning me. I just briefly explained that they had been suckered because I had never owed EE any money after taking into account, the money they had taken from my bank account to pay for a thief using a stolen sim. Then it went quiet for some considerable time. Several years in fact.

Last year, Lowell it seems made a decision to start chasing up on some of their old accounts. The letters restarted and then the phone calls started happening. The letters were binned again and despite several conversations where I explained, I didn't owe money to them or anybody else, they just claimed otherwise. The last conversation seemed to be with someone who may have had some clout. A guy spoke to me and said that they would just keep on contacting me forever. I said be my guest because I found it rather amusing that their time and effort must by now be well in excess of the seventy quid "debt" they had purchased from EE all those years ago.

The phone calls then stopped. I do though continue to get every week, a text message from Lowell asking me to contact them urgently etc. The number can't be blocked because it has the name Lowell on it, not a blockable number but I did wonder if anybody would know if legally, they are committing a nuisance by leaving me permanently receiving their text messages?

Anybody have any ideas?
 
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Yeah, Papa John's the pizza outlet had me with this.

Text came from a number that was apparently un-blockable on my Samsung, even though it gave instructions to opt-out. I messaged them on FB and it was stopped, but like you there was seemingly nothing I could do my end.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Anybody have any ideas?

Telephone Preference Service.
https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
TPS

Or the heavy hitter - Information Commissioners Office.

Home

Register a complaint about unauthorized use of your personally identifiable information (PII) in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation. After May 28th, you have to give express permission to use your data. Companies can be fined up to £20 million or 4% of turnover - whichever is the greater.

It's a well known scam - you can send reverse billed texts, which deplete your account accordingly. In my case, the Telephone Preference Service got me a refund.

Wordsmith
 
Telephone Preference Service.
https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
TPS

Or the heavy hitter - Information Commissioners Office.

Home

Register a complaint about unauthorized use of your personally identifiable information (PII) in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation. After May 28th, you have to give express permission to use your data. Companies can be fined up to £20 million or 4% of turnover - whichever is the greater.

It's a well known scam - you can send reverse billed texts, which deplete your account accordingly. In my case, the Telephone Preference Service got me a refund.

Wordsmith

Thanks for that. The complaint has been made.
 
I often get nuisance text messages, usually from my wife when I'm out past curfew on the piss.

In all seriousness, I would go with what Wordsmith has said.

Just be glad that you aren't in Afghanistan, most mornings around 0400hrs I get texts from the provider, (which I can't block) Roshan in this case, offering me quotes from the Quran, tickets to cricket matches, the chance to win a 2014 model Toyota Corolla, or sometimes just shite in Dari/Pashto. It's also good craic when some mad swine rings you up, says "Bali" and then ejaculates a random diatribe in durkha-durkha.
 
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That's my bedtime reading for the evening sorted zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
 
There is no such thing as a data-only SIM. It is a SIM like any other. The differentiation between data and voice usage of the SIM is done in the Operator's subscription records. The iPad would have had a phone number associated with it, even though you can't use it to make voice calls or send SMS text. If the SIM is put into a phone, it likely won't work in the home country. But when roaming internationally, the host network would just see another phone, with the phone number associated with the SIM. So that's how they made the voice calls. Back then, there was less focus on fraud than there is today. I don't work in mobile networks any longer, so I can't confirm, but I would expect it to be more tightly controlled today.

As for the debt recovery thing, EE should be able to prove the debt with location and call records for the fraudulent usage. Between the Police report of the theft and call records for your other phones showing you were elsewhere, you have a pretty watertight defence. Then again for a 10 year old case, they possibly no longer have the records. There was a period where T-Mobile deliberately didn't keep the call records, because they offered an "all you can eat" plan, which meant maintaining billing records was no longer necessary and so the (not inconsiderable) cost of doing so could be avoided. However, that was short lived, because of regulatory requirements that came in. You may have to rely on the Police report if that situation applies.
 

Troy

LE
Having got nowhere with the first call centre you should have took this as a warning and gone to the shop instead. Then spoke with a person, make a fuss, be adamant and have them deal with it there and then.
 
Having got nowhere with the first call centre you should have took this as a warning and gone to the shop instead. Then spoke with a person, make a fuss, be adamant and have them deal with it there and then.
Good luck with that, Last year I wanted to terminate a contract with EE. I was having difficulty with their website so I thought go to the local EE shop. Not in the least interested, can't be done they said call this number!
Much more difficult to terminate these contracts than initially set them up.
 
Telephone Preference Service.
https://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
TPS

Or the heavy hitter - Information Commissioners Office.

Home

Register a complaint about unauthorized use of your personally identifiable information (PII) in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation. After May 28th, you have to give express permission to use your data. Companies can be fined up to £20 million or 4% of turnover - whichever is the greater.

It's a well known scam - you can send reverse billed texts, which deplete your account accordingly. In my case, the Telephone Preference Service got me a refund.

Wordsmith
The only flaw in the TPS if the original source uses an overseas server, as the TPS has no control over.

These nuisance companies are well known for it.

Sent from my SM-A500FU using Tapatalk
 
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Good luck with that, Last year I wanted to terminate a contract with EE. I was having difficulty with their website so I thought go to the local EE shop. Not in the least interested, can't be done they said call this number!
Much more difficult to terminate these contracts than initially set them up.

Having worked for them, can confirm. As you probably know, at least 4/10 people who ring up the contact centres want to cancel hence the stone-walling from the operators. Years ago, Ops managers could actually terminate at their discretion but I have no doubt that's been tightened up on now.
 
Having got nowhere with the first call centre you should have took this as a warning and gone to the shop instead. Then spoke with a person, make a fuss, be adamant and have them deal with it there and then.

I'd been with EE since it took over from TMobile and I'd been with TMobile for several years prior. The shop was a small place in Hayes which was an offshoot from a larger shop in Southall. I'd always received excellent service from the staff at the shop which was why I'd stuck with them for so many years but they were an entirely separate entity to both TMobile and EE.

In the past, I'd always sorted out any problems but it seemed to me that EE was solely interested in the money and not at all about customer service.

The call centre staff were absolutely terrible. There were severe language limitations including problems with comprehension about what I was requesting. Every call ended with an agreement that was never actually implemented to a point where it was almost blatant dishonesty.

All the call centre staff seemed to want to do was tell you what you wanted to hear and then get rid of you without doing anything they had agreed to do.

How on earth do you cancel a sim twice only to find it just hasn't happened and EE are continuing to take money directly from your bank account?

It was almost as if there was an instruction from EE to the call centre staff to agree a cancellation and then ignore it so they could continue to help themselves to your money.

Edit: I saw scranbag's post above after I finished typing this.
 
I'd been with EE since it took over from TMobile and I'd been with TMobile for several years prior. The shop was a small place in Hayes which was an offshoot from a larger shop in Southall. I'd always received excellent service from the staff at the shop which was why I'd stuck with them for so many years but they were an entirely separate entity to both TMobile and EE.

In the past, I'd always sorted out any problems but it seemed to me that EE was solely interested in the money and not at all about customer service.

The call centre staff were absolutely terrible. There were severe language limitations including problems with comprehension about what I was requesting. Every call ended with an agreement that was never actually implemented to a point where it was almost blatant dishonesty.

All the call centre staff seemed to want to do was tell you what you wanted to hear and then get rid of you without doing anything they had agreed to do.

How on earth do you cancel a sim twice only to find it just hasn't happened and EE are continuing to take money directly from your bank account?

It was almost as if there was an instruction from EE to the call centre staff to agree a cancellation and then ignore it so they could continue to help themselves to your money.

Every call centre operator is meant to leave a memo at the end of every call on the customers account detailing the discussion; if the shtf and you successfully manage to escalate (the holy grail of 80% of call-centre callers), then notes will be the first thing brought up to verify what the customer is claiming and is of course timestamped. These notes are of course entirely subjective by the operator however they can be checked by a line manager by cross referencing by listening to the recorded call.

If you were out of contract and requested the sim cancelled then yeah, fair do's shoddy all around. If you were still in contract on that sim however and requested it, you'd have been about the 15th person that day they'd spoke to with a similar request and often times it's a lot easier to tell people yes to get them off the phone,, knowing they won't get back through to you if they call back.
 
How on earth do you cancel a sim twice only to find it just hasn't happened and EE are continuing to take money directly from your bank account?

I

tell your bank the debits are fake, and make a claim under the Direct Debit Guarantee.
 
Every call centre operator is meant to leave a memo at the end of every call on the customers account detailing the discussion; if the shtf and you successfully manage to escalate (the holy grail of 80% of call-centre callers), then notes will be the first thing brought up to verify what the customer is claiming and is of course timestamped. These notes are of course entirely subjective by the operator however they can be checked by a line manager by cross referencing by listening to the recorded call.

If you were out of contract and requested the sim cancelled then yeah, fair do's shoddy all around. If you were still in contract on that sim however and requested it, you'd have been about the 15th person that day they'd spoke to with a similar request and often times it's a lot easier to tell people yes to get them off the phone,, knowing they won't get back through to you if they call back.

It was stolen. They were made perfectly aware that it was stolen. Twice. Being a foreign call centre, they didn’t ask for a crime number. I’d have been happy to give them one if they had asked for it.

When I managed to eventually track down a number for EE in the UK, even they didn’t ask for a crime number but simply maintained that I was trying not to pay a bill. The fact that the bill was being run up by a thief while they helped themselves to my bank account seemed to be completely lost on them.

They seemed to take the attitude that it was right that I should continue to pay for a stolen SIM card and that I was lying about everything.
 
tell your bank the debits are fake, and make a claim under the Direct Debit Guarantee.

At the time if I’d thought of that, it would have been a plan but it’s all so long ago now.
 
It was stolen. They were made perfectly aware that it was stolen. Twice. Being a foreign call centre, they didn’t ask for a crime number. I’d have been happy to give them one if they had asked for it.

When I managed to eventually track down a number for EE in the UK, even they didn’t ask for a crime number but simply maintained that I was trying not to pay a bill. The fact that the bill was being run up by a thief while they helped themselves to my bank account seemed to be completely lost on them.

They seemed to take the attitude that it was right that I should continue to pay for a stolen SIM card and that I was lying about everything.

Where you in a contract for said SIM, even if it was stolen? If so, they usually cancel nicked one, send a replacement, thus honouring their side of the contract.
 
Isn't a debt (although it isn't) like this Statute barred after Seven years?
Doesn't it get written off.

Anyone able to give a more informed view of the intricacies of it.
 
Isn't a debt (although it isn't) like this Statute barred after Seven years?
Doesn't it get written off.

Anyone able to give a more informed view of the intricacies of it.

6 years, if you haven't acknowledged it i.e. completely ignored it. After this it should in theory disappear from your credit score but sometimes it needs a bit of "prodding".
 
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