What can I do about Currys mis-selling broadband to elderly vulnerable people??

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  • Gavin83
    Gavin83 Posts: 8,744 Forumite
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    user1977 said:
    It would probably help just to focus on whatever misleading information was given about the broadband (which would surely be an issue even for a non-vulnerable customer).
    We don't even know yet whether any misleading information was given. All we know is that the broadband was sold and the OP feels this was unnecessary but his mum clearly didn't.

    It's not the salespersons job to label someone as vulnerable and in some respects this could be considered discrimination. It's also not the salespersons job to decide whether the product is suitable for the individual. It's the salespersons job to present the facts/benefits of a product and then allow the individual to decide whether it's suitable for them. The salesperson isn't responsible for poor decision making, even if they do utilise that for their own benefit.

    If the salesperson has lied or misled then I think the OP has a case for complaint. If they've just sold a product the OP considers inappropriate I think their case is far weaker.

    user1977 said:
    It would probably help just to focus on whatever misleading information was given about the broadband (which would surely be an issue even for a non-vulnerable customer).

    And perhaps rein in all the hyperbole.
    This is a massive system failure and should never have happened - I want to make sure it never happens again to anyone else, if I possibly can. It's not just about my Mum.
    You won't achieve that. They won't change how they sell based on your complaint. I also don't think you'll get any compensation out of them, or certainly not enough to warrant taking it that far. Therefore I think you need to decide what you do want out of them. So what do you want as an outcome?
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,651 Forumite
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    Pollycat said:


    3. "But we don't know if the salesman did ask her!" - Let me put something else to you. I can 100% guarantee that my Mum has no idea what speed her current broadband is, let alone what she needs or why she needs certain things with it. Given that absolute fact, how were Currys able to establish they could get her a 'better deal' on broadband? Also, telling her she can end her current contract isn't technically untrue, but it's blatantly deceptive that it won't incur any early termination fees. Now, if she was only accepting their promise of 'cheaper broadband', how does a massive early exit fee factor into that??


    In that case, why on earth did she sign up for something she knows nothing about?
    You now acknowledge that she may not be elderly or vulnerable but even my Mum who was 89 when she died, had enough sense to listen to me and refuse to talk to anyone who told her they could get her a better deal on whatever.
    She always referred them to me.
    Good for her!
    Have you ever met a pushy salesman promising you a cheaper better deal, before??
    Yes, I have - as I said here:
    Pollycat said:


    I don't understand this comment, are those who are subject to possibly not being able to make informed judgement and decisions on the spot when accosted at a general shop for something completely unrelated to their intended purchase required to be chaperoned everywhere?

    Should I be taking my dad to Tesco all the time in case some young whippersnapper at the mobile counter tries to sell him a phone contract whilst he's browsing the newspapers? 



    Like the OP's Mum, I am also in my 70s.

    I am neither elderly (in my eyes) nor am I vulnerable.
    I'm quite able to deflect any would-be salesperson from selling me something that I know I don't want.


    And my Mum did too.
    But she never signed up for anything she didn't need or knew nothing about.
  • Gavin83 said:


    If the salesperson has lied or misled then I think the OP has a case for complaint. If they've just sold a product the OP considers inappropriate I think their case is far weaker.


    You won't achieve that. They won't change how they sell based on your complaint. 
    #1 - You need to read the OP again and the follow-up with further info.

    To re-cap:
    Promised a cheaper deal that wasn't, or a 'misleading action'.
    Wasn't told that cancelling current contract will incur exit fees, or 'misleading action or omission'.
    Didn't know what the current deal/speed was, so how can they push a 'better' deal? Or breach of 'general duty not to trade unfairly'
    It was an aggressive commercial practice that caused her to make a transactional decision she wouldn't have otherwise.
    Breached Regulation 3 by contravening the requirements of professional diligence (defined as the standard of special skill and care that a trader may reasonably be expected to exercise towards consumers, which is commensurate with either honest market practice in the trader's field of activity or the general principle of good faith in the trader's field of activity).
    Failed to identify a potentially vulnerable customer (could be disputed).
    Breached misleading omissions under Reg 6 on several basis.

    #2 - Search for Currys insurance selling scandals in recent years. They have definitely committed dodgy sales tactics similar and been fined for it. I imagine this happened because people like me stood up against it.
  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,088 Forumite
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    OP, nothing that you have told us amounts to mis-selling. Heavy sales pressure, unsolicited or not, does not in itself constitute mis-selling. 
    If you visit any retail shop, you can expect the staff to try to upsell the products-it's what they are there for. And DRG are very well known for this: they reputedly make more from selling extended warranties than the margin on the products themselves. And they regularly come at or near the bottom of every consumer retail survey. As a savvy consumer yourself, I'm sure you know this and so would have advised your mum to buy her consumer electronics elsewhere?
    You still haven't explained why she did not tell you that she had 'unwillingly' signed up for this under pressure, so that you could have told her to cancel it within the 14 days cooling off period? Or when she got the 'sorry you are leaving' letter or email from her old provider?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,803 Forumite
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    photome said:
    Just because she is 70 doesn’t make her vulnerable and the fact she went in to buy a dash cam suggests she isn’t.
    ...the fact she went in to buy a dash cam [at Currys] suggests she isn’t vulnerable.
    What is the logic of that?

    I'm over 70 and my daughter has asked for a dashcam for Christmas. I didn't buy it at Currys - does that mean I must be vulnerable?
  • macman said:

    You still haven't explained why she did not tell you that she had 'unwillingly' signed up for this under pressure, so that you could have told her to cancel it within the 14 days cooling off period? Or when she got the 'sorry you are leaving' letter or email from her old provider?
    I found out about it after the switch.

    New broadband has not been working since the switch, so she asked me to go and sort it out. From what I can tell, the new package/line has not actually ever been activated, as very vaguely confirmed by the provider when I called to cancel, but that's a separate issue.

    At that point it was already a few days after the switch, so I assumed (correctly) the deal had been entered into around a month prior, and so was outside the 14 days (incorrectly). It was only when I started getting it all sorted out I realised the 14 days cooling off did apply, and applies from the actual switch date. So I cancelled it ASAP.

    I would imagine some of it is from my Mum feeling a bit ashamed she'd been taken by the misleading sale once she realised, hence she didn't want to tell me.  Also, as stated she hates conflict and just wants a calm a peaceful life and never complains. People take advantage of this, and unfortunately many on here have no empathy or understanding that there are a Hell of a lot of people like her.
  • littleboo
    littleboo Posts: 1,495 Forumite
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    The cooling off normally applies from the date of the order. Is the provider Shell?
  • James_Cater
    James_Cater Posts: 20 Forumite
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    edited 21 December 2023 at 3:45PM
    As a side note as the word 'vulnerable' seems to be very misunderstood, I was approaching that from a regulatory point of view, where there is very much a duty of care to identify and cater to vulnerable individuals.

    I understand many of the arguments are "I'm old and not vulnerable!" type statements, but, in the kindest possible way, you're wrong. It doesn't mean you're defenceless and unable to think and act for yourself, and you DO NOT need to have a protected characteristic to qualify as vulnerable.

    I can't post links, but for example, if you look at the FCA guidance on this you'll see this:

    In May 2022, 47% (or 24.9m) of UK adults showed 1 or more characteristics of vulnerability, unchanged from 48% (or 25.1m) in February 2020.

    It's also why I find that attitude very frustrating, and just because you specifically are an exception (and you are), we should still be pushing for companies to protect everyone and do their due diligence to identify vulnerabilities. Stop sticking up for them and their terrible actions just because you feel it might not apply to you!

  • littleboo said:
    The cooling off normally applies from the date of the order. Is the provider Shell?
    Luckily it's not Shell, as it applies from the switch date, in this case. I had assumed the same as you, though!
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