Thursday, 27 November 2014

Ed Vaizey says that once you are 70 you don't have to pay your bills?

Well, that seems to be what has been said in relation to a case mentioned in parliament. The actual case seems rather odd, and clearly we don't have all of the details, but it involved a dispute between an ISP and a customer which was resolved by the Ombudsman in favour of the ISP. The issue was raised by an MP at the request of the customer, his constituent. This is good of the MP, I agree.

We really don't have all of the details to comment on the case itself - what was mentioned in parliament seems like a clear cut case of an ISP mis-selling, but my experience of the Ombudsman service is that they would always favour the customer so the case must have been pretty clear to favour the ISP in this case.

Ed Vaizey is reported as confirming this: “In most cases, the ombudsman proves to be a powerful and effective piece of consumer protection. It does work, and figures show that it often works to the consumer’s benefit"

However, the next comment really does puzzle me, as he is reported as saying:

It seems astonishing that a telecoms company would pursue a man in his 70s … Having won its war with Mr Jones through the ombudsman, it should recognise that its corporate social responsibility should dictate that it should waive this bill.

WHAT?!?!?!?

For a start it seems odd to say "having won its war with Mr Jones". It is not a war to expect a customer to pay their bill. Also, it was Mr Jones that pursued a case against the ISP via ADR and the ISP has has to pay for that even though they won!

But surely, having won the case, it is perfectly sensible, normal, and even responsible to the shareholders as required by the Companies Act for the ISP to expect the customer to then pay up.

It seems that Ed Vaizey is saying that even when a third party has confirmed that the money is owed, because someone is in his 70s it is some corporate social responsibility to waive the bill?

Does this mean that when I get to 70 I can simply choose not to pay bills, and even if taken to court, or some other third party arbitration, I should still not have to pay them?

What exactly is Ed Vaizey saying here?

7 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm sure it only applies to people of advanced age, above the age of 45. (Ed Vaizey is 46.)

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  2. As one of Ed Vaizey constituent I'm considering not paying my council tax and once condemned ask him to waive it as the council already "won the war"...

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  3. I am 72. If I stop my direct debit to you, will you continue to provide my broadband service?

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  4. yes - of course that's what he's saying. Remember he's part of that organisation that believes expenses and tax rules (keep for 6 years, capital gains tax etc) don't apply to people with the letters MP after their name, regardless of age.

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  5. yes, of course that's what he is saying. People do not have to pay bills after 70, MPs do not have to provide receipts for expenses and keep them for six years, warrants aren't needed for intercepting email, and everyone is entitled to a free flying pig.

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  6. People over 70 often have the most spare cash - kids "flown the nest" and mortgage paid off, free bus pass and winter fuel allowance!

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  7. I don't want a flying pig, but a flying car would be nice please.
    P.S. I am under 70

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