Whatever your consumer problem, our expert Richard Thomson can help and offer advice. Here he answers two more letters from readers
Q I have been charged £18.75 by my mobile phone company O2 for five unsolicited unwanted texts. Apparently they cannot reimburse me for the spam messages. When I try to stop them with the originator and claim a refund I get transferred to a voicemail service which is full up. Can you advise on how to stop them charging me please?
A Spam texts have become a real nuisance. Anyone pestered by unwanted text messages needs to realise their mobile phone number is a valuable commodity to spammers.
Lesson one in the war against text rip-off merchants is to resist the temptation to reply to text services.
First try texting the sender’s number with the word STOP or STOP ALL. If that doesn’t do the trick, use your phone’s software to block unwanted numbers.
Should all else fail the phone companies have special numbers for you to report unwanted spam.
For O2, Orange, and T-mobile subscribers, call 7726 from your mobile. The equivalent Vodaphone number is 87726, and for the 3 network, the number is 37726.
Finally, if you’re still being pestered or charged for unwanted spam you can complain to the office of the Information Commissioner at ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx and follow the link.
Q I don’t know if you can help with this, but my grandson and his partner split up eight months after their baby was born. They’ve been sharing access to the child but he’s becoming increasingly frustrated because he believes the mother is trying to restrict it. If he carries on making a fuss could the mother refuse him access altogether?
A You told me your main concern was your grandson’s claim that as he shares the same family name with his daughter, he automatically acquires equal access rights. This is a simplistic presumption which has no substantial foundation.
You are right to raise a concern that if he insists this is the case his ex-partner might start to get difficult about any access at all.
Ultimately if there is an access dispute, it will be for a court to decide on the precise access arrangements. The court is likely to place the needs of the child above all other considerations.
Be warned if they can’t resolve this matter amicably, it is likely there will be legal costs to contend with which will only result in more worry and stress.
Richard Thomson has worked for leading UK and European companies as a market research analyst, and in consumer education and protection with trading standards. Write or e-mail him with your consumer questions or to fight for your rights at email@example.com. An individual answer cannot be guaranteed. Replies are intended to give help or advice, not a complete statement of law.