My daughter took out a contract with T Mobile in 2008 for an e-book and a data dongle paying £25 a month for two years.
At the end of the contract she finished paying and the dongle remained with her now ex-boyfriend.
Then last December she received a bill from EE for £400 for calls made from the sim within the dongle. As she didn’t have a current contract with EE she thought this was an error but when a second bill arrived for £850 she went into a local shop.
EE told her someone had been using the sim card in a mobile phone to make calls from October to December 2016.
Why wasn’t there a fraud alert when the sim was used after cancelling the contract in 2011?
As this contract was in my daughter’s name, EE says she’s responsible for paying it and she has also received a letter and calls from a debt collection agency.
We’ve explained the situation to EE and it says it will lower the bill to £435 but is still insisting it is paid.
I can’t understand how this can be the case when we’ve shown EE her current mobile contract – to show she isn’t responsible for the EE bill – plus the sim card had not been used for five years.
The reason I am looking after this case is because my daughter has very recently had a baby and can’t deal with the stress of receiving calls and letters from debt agencies and being unable to solve the issue with EE.
It wasn’t possible to report the sim as missing or stolen as it wasn’t in my daughter’s possession and she’s contacted her ex-boyfriend who said he doesn’t know where it is either.
Do we have any other options other than to pay the money? Via email
Rebecca Rutt, of This is Money, replies: This sounds like an incredible stressful and confusing situation.
The contract for the dongle was taken out, and finished, so long ago now it seems very strange to me that EE is now chasing your daughter for this money.
It is always worth keeping track of old phones and sim cards as these can be used by others if they fall into the wrong hands, leaving the owner with unexpected bills. However, in this case, as far as your daughter was concerned the contract had ended, and she may not even have been aware that the dongle – which she used for data – even contained a sim card, let alone one that could be used to make phone calls.
I’m also surprised that a flag wasn’t raised for potential fraud given that the sim hadn’t been used for five years.
We couldn’t report the sim as stolen as it wasn’t in our possession – so why are we liable for it?
As your daughter’s contract ended in 2011, I also find it hard to believe that she is now liable for these extra charges – and I am interested to see how EE can justify passing on her name to a debt collection agency.
We got in contact with EE to try and get to the bottom of what had happened here.
After looking into your case a spokesperson got back to us and said they haven’t seen anything like this before.
The sim card your daughter had taken out was in fact one that needed to be cancelled, and because she didn’t do this, that’s why the liability remains with her to pay the bill.
A spokesperson said: ‘Due to the unique circumstances, we are waiving the balance in full and ensured the reader’s credit rating will not be affected.
‘We have apologised for the inconvenience and she is happy with the resolution.’
While it’s great news EE has waived the bill and made sure your daughter’s credit score isn’t affected, it’s disappointing that this only happened once we intervened.
You had already spoken to EE to try and resolve the issue and all it had offered to do was to lower the bill to £435, which your daughter still would have had to pay.
The other option you had here was to go to the Ombudsman and make an official complaint. It can look into the case separately and if it ruled in your favour, it could order EE to drop the fees.