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    • gundo
    • By gundo 15th Oct 16, 10:00 PM
    • 194Posts
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    gundo
    Carers running up massive bills using Mum's phone to log in!
    • #1
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:00 PM
    Carers running up massive bills using Mum's phone to log in! 15th Oct 16 at 10:00 PM
    My elderly mother has carers popping into see her twice a day every day as medicine prompt and help with prepping food etc. The carers are employed by an agency that provides the service to my Mum's local authority. My Mum's had carers visiting her for over 10 years.

    Anyway since the new carers company took over (the previous company lost the contract with the local authority) every time a carer arrives at my Mum's they use her phone to call the office to "log in" i.e. indicate that they've arrived to their agency.

    I hadn't realised until very recently that these calls were costing a fortune, I'd stupidly assumed that they must be calling a 0800 number (in fact I'm sure I have a vague recollection that one of the carers told me this when I queried them about using the phone). They're calling a landline from my Mum's BT phone line during the week and the calls can last up to 10 minutes!

    My Mum's BT bill is higher than mine and she very rarely uses her phone except to call me occasionally. She has the lowest tariff they do and I have fibre internet and "all the toys".

    Even just looking at only the itemised calls (the ones costing more than 40p) the vast majority of them are the carers logging in.

    The care service user's manual (which I've only just looked at) states that the carer must never use the "service user's" phone except in emergencies and not for logging in.

    My question is: what do I do to prevent this "abuse"?

    I rang the number that featured the most and because it was this afternoon I got put through to the out of hours service of the carer's company. The person I spoke to basically fobbed me off and was very cagey. They wouldn't even divulge an email address of someone I could contact regarding this (I asked for the manager of the carers).

    How do I tackle this problem and who do I escalate this to?

    I think it's an absolute scandal! My Mum's phone bill Direct Debit has gone up from approximately £17 a month if that, to over £37 a month and she almost never uses the phone herself
    Trying hard to be a good moneysaver.
Page 1
    • elsien
    • By elsien 15th Oct 16, 10:02 PM
    • 13,656 Posts
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    elsien
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:02 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:02 PM
    Ask for their complaints procedure and make a formal written complaint.

    You could also contact the local authority if they have contracted the service.
    Last edited by elsien; 15-10-2016 at 10:04 PM.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 15th Oct 16, 10:33 PM
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    Spendless
    • #3
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:33 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:33 PM
    The carers should have a line manager. Ring the agency again ask for the name of who it is and ask to speak to them.
    • just trying
    • By just trying 15th Oct 16, 10:57 PM
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    just trying
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:57 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:57 PM
    A lady I used to visit and done more than the carers, it was the same they had to log in and out and this was through the local authority in Scotland, they knew if they were late etc, they done little anyway.

    I wouldn't class it as abuse as they have to do it, you assumed it was a 0800 number. Your mum would be better on a BT unlimited plan then they/she could make calls up to one hour for £6.00 I think, it is unlimited for normal numbers.
    Last edited by just trying; 15-10-2016 at 11:12 PM.
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    • McKneff
    • By McKneff 15th Oct 16, 11:07 PM
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    McKneff
    • #5
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:07 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:07 PM
    They may be do have to do it but they should never be using the clients phone, they should be using their own mobiles, let them get a phone plan where it costs nothing, or they should be using the
    phone and doing a reverse charge call, or paying the client for using the phone,

    I think its a damned cheek to be honest. When you complain, get some payback for your mum too.

    Cheeky sods !!!
    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent
    • just trying
    • By just trying 15th Oct 16, 11:10 PM
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    just trying
    • #6
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:10 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:10 PM
    Where we live the signal for mobiles was limited, sometimes they never arrived (carers). I was only pointing out a cheaper option.

    Most carers do a excellent job for little pay.
    Last edited by just trying; 15-10-2016 at 11:14 PM.
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    • gundo
    • By gundo 15th Oct 16, 11:27 PM
    • 194 Posts
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    gundo
    • #7
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:27 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:27 PM
    Where we live the signal for mobiles was limited, sometimes they never arrived (carers). I was only pointing out a cheaper option.

    Most carers do a excellent job for little pay.
    Originally posted by just trying
    The signal is excellent where my Mum lives and besides it clearly states in the service user's manual i.e. the contract they have with care agency that the carer must never use the "service user's" phone except in emergencies and not for logging in.

    They cost my Mum more than £200 a year for more than two years of logging phone calls that they should never have made. That's over £400!

    If my Mum was causing their company to incur an additional £200 a year cost you could be absolutely certain they'd be stopping it happening.

    My Mum's a pensioner and that sum of money isn't insignificant.

    As for how good a job they do that's another story for another thread. Some are excellent and some are not.
    Trying hard to be a good moneysaver.
    • just trying
    • By just trying 15th Oct 16, 11:41 PM
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    just trying
    • #8
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:41 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:41 PM
    You just noticed this, I take it. You quoted my post based on someone I know. She was receiving free care and was happy to let them use the phone and was on a limited income and had unlimited calls due to staying in touch with people when she wanted. Noted I said most carers do a excellent job.
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    • hardpressed
    • By hardpressed 15th Oct 16, 11:45 PM
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    hardpressed
    • #9
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:45 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Oct 16, 11:45 PM
    As your mum's carers are arranged through the local council, I would speak to them first, the agency will probably fob you off. Your mum's Social Worker is the person to speak to first.
    • gundo
    • By gundo 16th Oct 16, 12:03 AM
    • 194 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    gundo
    had unlimited calls due to staying in touch with people when she wanted.
    Originally posted by just trying
    So it wasn't costing this lady anything anyway to let the carers use the phone as she already had unlimited calls.

    My Mum doesn't have unlimited calls because she doesn't need it, she has no family other than me. Why should my Mum have to pay an additional £72 a year to stop people running up massive phone bills, when the carers know already that they shouldn't be using her phone?

    Looking at the calls many of them are 10+ minutes long which isn't just logging in (the shorter ones are mostly a minute).

    So essentially it appears the carers are using someone else's phone to save themselves money.

    Sounds distinctly unprofessional behaviour to me.
    Trying hard to be a good moneysaver.
    • just trying
    • By just trying 16th Oct 16, 12:08 AM
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    just trying
    So it wasn't costing this lady anything anyway to let the carers use the phone as she already had unlimited calls.

    My Mum doesn't have unlimited calls because she doesn't need it, she has no family other than me. Why should my Mum have to pay an additional £72 a year to stop people running up massive phone bills, when the carers know already that they shouldn't be using her phone?

    Looking at the calls many of them are 10+ minutes long which isn't just logging in (the shorter ones are mostly a minute).

    So essentially it appears the carers are using someone else's phone to save themselves money.

    Sounds distinctly unprofessional behaviour to me.
    Originally posted by gundo
    Oh my it was only a suggestion, if your mum's phoning you it may save her money as well.
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    • trinidadone
    • By trinidadone 16th Oct 16, 12:25 AM
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    trinidadone
    Oh my it was only a suggestion, if your mum's phoning you it may save her money as well.
    Originally posted by just trying
    You have completely seen the wrong view point here. Firstly the other person is completely correct, and does not have to change the phone package to suit the carers. Secondly, even the manual clearly states not to use the clients phone, except in an emergency.

    I would do two things. As stated above, have a conversation with the allocated social worker regarding the "abuse" of your mothers phone.

    Secondly, I would go look through every bill, and add up the costs of the calls in total. I would then make a formal complaint under the councils complaints procedure, informing them you would like every penny paid back in full.

    This is outrageous behavior.

    Dont change your behavior to accommodate the carers, put a stop to this at once, please let us know how you get on??
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    • just trying
    • By just trying 16th Oct 16, 12:37 AM
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    just trying
    Well if she's phoning her daughter it might save her money, that's what I said...yes. Never said she had to change phone package, just stated my experience.

    Maybe the word suggestion helps.
    Last edited by just trying; 16-10-2016 at 12:53 AM.
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    • Morglin
    • By Morglin 16th Oct 16, 7:24 AM
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    Morglin
    Write to the agency and the council to formally complain.

    The council will give you the contact details for the agency.

    Put it all in writing, and formalise it.

    Lin
    You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands..........for instance, if they are placed around your throat, she's probably slightly upset.
    • GwylimT
    • By GwylimT 16th Oct 16, 7:45 AM
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    GwylimT
    Well if she's phoning her daughter it might save her money, that's what I said...yes. Never said she had to change phone package, just stated my experience.

    Maybe the word suggestion helps.
    Originally posted by just trying
    An extra £6 per month does not save money.
    • GwylimT
    • By GwylimT 16th Oct 16, 7:48 AM
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    GwylimT
    On many phones you can block numbers, I would officially complain and I would block the login number the carers are using. You can also divert, so you could set the phone up so that when they call the login in number it diverts to your phone and you can make a quick enquiry as to why they are using a phone and spending another persons money without permission.

    Really its barely any differen to stealing from her purse.
    • Diary
    • By Diary 16th Oct 16, 8:22 AM
    • 416 Posts
    • 458 Thanks
    Diary
    I felt compelled to make a comment despite the flack I'll get.

    This is stealing and a real abuse of your mum's trust, are you sure her other 'stuff' is OK?

    Get all outgoing numbers blocked except yours, her GP and assorted medical professionals and the emergency services.
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    • GlasweJen
    • By GlasweJen 16th Oct 16, 8:32 AM
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    GlasweJen
    I self fund care but use the same agency as the council. They did the exact same thing and in the end I paid their fee minus the cost of the calls for the previous month. That sharpened their attention and suddenly everyone brought their own phone out to check in.

    I can probably explain the longer calls too. A few times while logging in the person on the other side would be offering extra shifts so the cared would get out the diary and faff about trying to work out what overtime she wanted. Another time the call lasted the same length as the appointment (half an hour) she was discussing what happened at the last persons house. Again, didn't pay that session and sent in the bill to prove no care was taking place as carer was on the phone.

    I notice you say some calls are 10 minutes long, this wasn't during one of the councils legendary 15 minute visits was it?

    Complain and keep a close eye on it. Some carers are fantastic but there are others who will do the bare minimum and if you give an inch they will take a mile.
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    • warby68
    • By warby68 16th Oct 16, 8:41 AM
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    warby68
    I'd probably be even more concerned about 10 minutes on the phone out of what is presumably a fairly short care slot than the cost of the calls.

    In a way, I'd be inclined to find a low cost way of accommodating the calls to keep an eye on that aspect.

    PS: OP, I totally agree they shouldn't be using her phone and she shouldn't have to pay BUT still think the 10 minutes lost care (assuming they don't stay longer to make up) is the bigger thing to my mind.

    Or of course ask mum if she is able to keep track.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 16th Oct 16, 9:36 AM
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    elsien

    Get all outgoing numbers blocked except yours, her GP and assorted medical professionals and the emergency services.
    Originally posted by Diary
    So mum can't call any friends or make any other calls she might suddenly decide she wants to make? That solution sounds worse than the problem to me.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
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