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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I purchased a phone from last year phone

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I purchased a phone from last year for a phone with T mobile. I decided to return the phone, and returned it to Tmobile. Now, some 12 months later, I have been contacted by Burlington Group Debt Collectors who are working on behalf of A1 communications (who own to say that I owe them £265. The information is here Do I have to pay this? What happens if I ignore it? will they take me to court?
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.May I clarify that you bought a contract with phone from the above store but decided to cancel and returned the phone please?When did you buy the phone?When did you cancel?Why did you return the phone to T-mobile rather than the above online store?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes that is correct, it was purchased online and I purchased a contract and the phone was free I believe although it was a long time ago. when the phone arrived - it was from T mobile and included documentation from T mobile so I assumed I would return it to them as I had cancelled the contract with them

Thank you. Did it contain return instructions to return the phone to T-Mobile if you wished to cancel with the package? Do you have acknowledgement from T-mobile for the return and cancellation of the contract?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have just found the paperwork - This dates back to 29/11/2013 - this is when I ordered the phone. The receipt is in fact from Buy-mobiles and was probably contained in the parcel with the phone. It says 'For full returns policy visit.......' I have documents from T mobile stating that the account is closed. Is there anything I can do? how about the fact it was such a long time ago and this is the first i have heard about it? I had no contact from Buymobiles, only the debt company

Thanks. So to be clear the returns instructions instruct that you go to the online stores website or instructs you to return the phone to the online store?Did anyone instruct you to return to T-Mobile or did you just package the phone up and return it to T-Mobile without instruction to do so?Finally do you have proof of receipt by T-Mobile and have T-Mobile ever acknowledged the phone?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The return instructions are to go to the the Buymobile website and read their returns policy. It also states 'Please be aware that once you have connected your mobile phone to the network you will be unable to return it unless it is faulty' As this is such a long time ago, I can't remember if I connected the phone or not.

I called T mobile and told them that I had decided not to keep the phone so they said they would send out a return bag. (I had received a separate letter from T mobile with details about my new contract however there were no details on here about returning the phone) I guess, because the contract was with T mobile and I called them to cancel, I assumed, maybe wrongly, that I had to return the phone to them.

No, I don't have anything in writing from T mobile to acknowledge receipt of the phone

Thank you. this is potentially difficult from your perspective. the contract for the supply of the phone is with the retail store you purchased it from and the network contract for the supply of network service is with T-Mobile. In other words, when you purchase a mobile phone on contract, you enter into two separate contracts, one with the retailer and another with the network provider. if you wish to return the phone, the phone needs to be returned to the retailer and not the network provider because the phone does not belong to the network provider but rather belongs to the retailer. T-Mobile should not have asked you to return the phone to them as it was not their property.Ordinarily, the solution would be relatively simple in that you would ask the network to return the phone to you or alternatively directly to the retailer and that would be an end to the matter if you did not waive your right to cancel by connecting the phone to the network but the difficulty here is potentially one of evidence.the first step, would be to contact T-Mobile or EE as it is now and refer them to your old account number and ask them to confirmation that they received your returned phone which he returned using their returns envelope. If you have tracking information for the package, this would do just as well but I appreciate you are unlikely to have that this far on. You may wish to record the call you make to them for evidence. If possible ask them to acknowledge the return in writing - the operator is unlikely to be able to assist with this but should be able to give you a customer services address you can write to to ask that they confirm in writing that they received the phone.if you can obtain this confirmation of this verbally and ideally in writing, then if the original retailer seeks a claim against you in the County Court, you can seek to counterclaim against the network provider for the cost of the phone because the network took delivery of the return of the phone when they should not have done and should have returned it to the retailer as it was not their property. You could also in the first instance refer the debt collector to the network on the basis they took delivery of the phone.the danger is if you are unable to obtain confirmation of the return or the network denies that they received the return. If you have no evidence that the phone was returned to the network, you may have difficulty in counterclaim against the network for the phone.if you find the retailer does issue proceedings in the county court, as above, ideally you will have evidence that the network took delivery of the phone and can explain that they asked for the phone to be returned to them and you will have a defence on this basis and also on the basis of the retailer is negligent in failing to contact you for so long in relation to the matter potentially prejudicing your redress against the network because of the amount of time that has elapsed. You can also consider a counterclaim against the network for any claim by the debt collector on the basis that the network took delivery of the phone if you have evidence of that fact. If you are able to obtain evidence of this fact as above, you may find that the network settles the matter because it will typically cost a large company several hundred pounds to defend a claim in the County Court due to lawyer fees and so they find it cheaper to settle such claims rather than defend them even if they may have a defence.I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This is very helpful thank you. So, is this amount owed due to returning the handset rather than cancelling the contract? I have read of other instances where people have been charged for loss of commission due to a cancelled contract.

At what point will this debt affect my credit rating, if at all?

Thank you

The retailer can only charge you for the cost of the handset subject as above. They cannot charge you for the loss of profit in your cancelling the network contract if T-Mobile have accepted your contract cancellation. If it is not clear what the retailer is claiming the costs for you can ask them for a detailed breakdown and challenge any costs you are not satisfied with.The debt will not affect your credit file unless 1) they sue you in court and obtain judgement against you and 2) you fail to either appeal or failing which pay the judgement before the date the judgement specifies. Only at that point is a CCJ entered against your credit file. If you appeal or pay before the date specified in the judgement no note is entered on your credit file.I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In light of the facts that this is the first I have heard about this and that if this went to court I would ask for a counter claim plus I'm not sure they would bother for £265 I am considering sending a cease and desist, is this a good way to go? I'm hoping they will give up at that point
That is an option - you could say to them that you do not consider that you are liable for the charges setting out the reasons why and ask them to cease and desist further chasing letters and you will consider such further letters to constitute harassment and that if they believe they have a claim to refer the matter to the County Court which you will vigorously defend.Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
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If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though