A Gold Coast hairstylist was left with almost $6,000 out of pocket after being billed by Foxtel for regular monthly fees despite canceling her subscription five years ago.
The drama began for Lucy Medeiros in June 2017 when she merged her Foxtel service with her Telstra phone plan.
Her original Foxtel account was closed and Telstra consolidated everything into one invoice for her.
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“The package was quite attractive at the time,” said Medeiros.
“I saved a bit of money and agreed to that.”
Despite her shared Foxtel and phone plan, Medeiros hadn’t realized that Foxtel had never stopped charging her credit card.
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“I paid for both of them – Foxtel and Telstra – in one bill, not knowing that I was also being billed directly for monthly payments by Foxtel,” Medeiros said.
Medeiros canceled her Foxtel subscription through Telstra in 2019 when she decided she no longer needed the service after purchasing a smart TV.
Telstra processed this cancellation with no problems, but it wasn’t until earlier this year when Medeiros checked her bank statement that she discovered ongoing charges from Foxtel Management Pty North Ryde.
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Medeiros called Foxtel and explained her problem on numerous occasions, but customer service informed her that her account had been closed and that there were no direct debits in her name.
As recently as October, Medeiros received a call from a Foxtel representative to explain what had happened.
“They found that my credit card details were linked to another of their clients’ accounts,” Medeiros said.
Medeiros said the other customer essentially got “five years of Foxtel free.”
Medeiros expected a full refund of the lost money but was told the case was now ruled a fraud.
“Even after they find out that there is indeed a problem created by Foxtel, they still don’t want to know about it (Foxtel said), go and file the police report and you go and take care of your financial institution,” Medeiros said .
The Foxtel representative told Medeiros that someone could have used her credit card details, but Medeiros doesn’t believe it.
“If that’s what happened, why don’t they use my credit card for something else?” Why is it just Foxtel Management?” said Medeiros.
“I just want the credit card to be blocked and my money refunded to my account.”
Foxtel has now confirmed that Medeiros’ data was accidentally applied to another customer’s account with the same date of birth.
“It is now clear that this was misjudged and no fraud or identity theft was involved. We accept that our response was not good enough,” a Foxtel Group spokesman said in a statement.
Foxtel said it has now reimbursed Medeiros $6,000 plus an additional compensation payment to acknowledge “that she was pocketless for an extended period of time.”
Statement attributed to a spokesman for Foxtel Group
After thorough investigation, we believe that the 2016 customer made an accidental error while attempting to change their payment details using our interactive voice recording service.
Apparently an incorrect zip code was entered at this point and the customer’s credit card details were matched to another customer’s account with the same date of birth.
During 2020, the customer was referred to Telstra to resolve the issue (after moving her service from Telstra to Foxtel in 2017). And more recently this year, we classified a credit card dispute as fraudulent use and advised the customer to contact the police to register the matter under our standard fraud policy and procedure. It is now clear that this was misjudged and no fraud or identity theft was involved.
We accept that our response was not good enough and spoke to the customer yesterday to clarify the matter. We apologize for the inconvenience caused and refunded the disputed amount of approximately $6000 in full. We also made an additional payment to the customer as she realized it was out of pocket for an extended period of time.
We have never had this issue and are now reviewing the way this case was handled to ensure we are taking the findings into account.
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