In my experience, even when it is a 'royal rooster up' the root cause is invariably that one or all of the Execs simply don't care enough to have the right controls in place.
Searching this forum reveals plenty of evidence that NowTV have a track record of making it difficult for customers to assert privacy and GDPR related rights so I don't believe that this is a 'one off' situation.
The un-refunded unauthorised billing was only about £40 to start with but my time and effort trying to get this sorted is much, much greater than that.
The irony is that if I'd been able to speak to someone at the beginning (or any point, actually!) this would probably have been sorted amicably very early.
We are now at the point where because NowTV have frustrated all my efforts to get clarity I will not just 'go away' and intend to take this as far as I can. It is no longer about the refund - it is now about asserting my Rights.
Well, good progress. My complaint to the ICO was upheld and NowTV have confirmed to the ICO that they did not manage my erasure request correctly, nor did they respond properly to my Subject Access Request. They have 14 days to contact me to explain why their position regarding this request. There is more but this clearly shows that even companies who behave in such a cavalier and dismissive way can - and should - be brought to book when they try to intimidate customers (or ex-customers) from asserting their rights.
This is simply NOT acceptable and if more people took this approach these companies would realise that it is cheaper, easier and far more sensible to manage complaints properly.
It doesn't look like I'll get the money illegally debited back, unfortunately, but I can live with that and hope that this serves as a warning to other customers or potential customers to not trust NowTV with your personal data or billing information or, if you do, to check your statements very carefully.