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Saturday 25 November 2017

Phone firm sent in debt agency for 'error' bill

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A LEADING mobile phone company called in debt collectors on a customer despite being repeatedly told that a bill for just under €200 was being sent in error.

Steven McGarr and his partner Kristyna Alessandrini believe they were initially the victims of identify theft.

But despite informing Vodafone Ireland on numerous occasions that they were being incorrectly billed, the bills kept arriving at their home in Shankill, Co Dublin.

And last week a debt collection agency became involved.

Mr McGarr said yesterday they had immediately contacted the mobile phone firm after they first spotted an incorrect €20-a-month bill in Ms Alessandrini's name.


That money was directly taken from Mr McGarr's own bank account and he immediately cancelled the direct debit.

But the bills for a 5GB data plan for an unknown mobile phone number continued to arrive in Ms Alessandrini's name over the past nine months, rising to a total of €189.37. The couple then informed gardai.

Gardai contacted Vodafone several times before being informed it was being dealt with internally by the company's fraud department.

But last week Mr Garr's partner's details were passed on to a debt collecting agency, Intrum Justitia.

Mr McGarr said: "To say we are angry is an understatement as we were assured no more bills would be issued If a debt collection agency is involved, your credit report is in the toilet."

A spokeswoman for Vodafone told the Irish Independent it was a "highly irregular situation" and they needed to examine it in more detail, adding they had resolved the issue directly with the customer .

Irish Independent

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