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Anonymous User
Not applicable

Billing problems - unauthorised debits

I have discovered 6 debits on my credit card. NowTV has billed me nearly £70 yet my account shows no (zero) bills and no upcoming bills. I have also not knowingly signed up to any services but did try - and fail - to get a particular series working a few months back.

 

I have tried all day to get a sensible response. The call centre will only speak about broadband (which I don't get through NowTV), the online chat refuses to load on my PC or mobile (both fully up-to-date and patched) and your Twitter NowTV Help was pretty much useless as they just kept redirecting me to the chat service and did not seem to understand that it was not working. I sent an email but have had no response.

 

I cannot believe this is so difficult! How do I get to speak to someone who can help or do I just dispute the charges on my credit card?

 

Thanks.

 

Richard

23 Replies
Anonymous User
Not applicable

Hello my internet going down 

Anonymous User
Not applicable

I can make a payment tomorrow but i need internet today what i can do? 

RoyB
Legend

@Anonymous User 

 

Make a payment today. 

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
RoyB
Legend

@Anonymous User 

 

Assuming you gave NowTV your credit card details, and you aren’t a victim of identity fraud, then you will have given them authorisation to debit it at that same time.

 

So did you, yourself, ever give those details?

 

As the account you are using shows no billing, you probably started a second account on which the billing is taking place,

 

Can you rack your brains for what it might be?

 

if you can’t get Live Chat up, try a browser you don’t normally use, so it runs plain vanilla, or your current browser in stripped-back mode (e.g. on Firefox, load it without Add-Ins).

 

Disabling Popups or third-party cookies, or indeed any cookies, or using an Ad Blocker can all prevent Live Chat from loading.

 

But you definitely need to speak to them, no alternative to that.

 

And best not dispute the credit card charges; you will get the money back at first, but NowTV will likely dispute the chargeback, and likely prevail.

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
Anonymous User
Not applicable

Thanks, @RoyB 

 

I have been in the US so the time difference made sorting this out with NowTV even more frustrating than it was but I am now in contact with them through email.

 

What I KNOW about this situation is that a few months ago I signed up for an account with NowTV to watch a TV series. I went through the process of registering my details and payment card and then tried watching on TV but it did not show the series. I spent the next 3 or 4 days trying to figure out what was happening but never did get to the bottom of it and gave up - making 100% sure that I cancelled the trials and ongoing debit instruction.

 

NowTV insist that in this process I created more than 1 account with the same payment details. I have to take their word for this but I am very surprised - I work in Cyber security and Privacy and am always very careful so am not easily caught. The fact that their their website recommends checking for multiple accounts makes it fairly clear that this is a frequent issue so I can only conclude that they have significant User Interface issues on their site. I'm also astounded that it does not make you aware when creating a second account, that there is already an account at that address, with the same subscriber name and payment details as this would surely be an unusual intentional situation. Most other websites are more helpful in this area.

 

The upshot is that they have offered to refund one month as "It would have been easy for us to get this resolved for you if you would have contacted us within 4 weeks of your first incorrect charges on your account." All well and good but this card is only used for a very few subscriptions normally and as I KNEW that I had cancelled the subscriptions I only checked it after 3 months.

 

As I really want to understand how they enticed me to create a second account I have lodged a Data Subject Access Request for all information relating to me and my accounts. I want to understand the timing and sequence of events so that I can decide what further steps to take as I am deeply unhappy with this situation.

 

While I acknowledge that I must have created multiple accounts I am annoyed and frustrated that NowTV provide a website that makes this possible and then, when it does, are so unhelpful and dismissive.

 

I have also notified them in my DSAR that I exercise my right to be forgotten as soon as this current situation is resolved.

 

Will update here if/when I have progress to report.

 

Richard

 

Anonymous User
Not applicable

Oh, I forgot to mention that I have also asked for records of my viewing because I know that I have not accessed their service since cancelling the subscription. I would have expected this to add to the probability that one of their systems would have picked up an anomalous situation - multiple accounts, same address, same name, same bank details and no viewing at all over a 3-month period.

 

Surely that should have triggered some action especially as it is apparent that others have been similarly caught by multiple accounts?

 

Richard

RoyB
Legend

Hi @Anonymous User 

 

You used to get a Sky/NowTV Account number with an Account (I still use mine) but this changed to email address a while back (and I can use either Account number or email address).

 

So any attempt to accidentally create a second account now, using the same email address as the first one, should fail. Unless NowTV think the unique identifier is Account/Password and you give a different one? I do hope this isn’t the case. I will enquire.....

 

There are a number of reasons why people want more than one account; mainly to get over the devices limit (now 6 with 3 changes a month, but it used to be 4 with 1 change, which was a lot more restrictive) and the streams limit (2, unchanged), by having an Account for each Pass.

 

So it needs to be allowed, but I agree it should be queried. Also, NowTV do not validate the email address you give, and I think they should really be using the pretty standard ‘reply to this validation email’ step here during Account creation.

 

There’s a fair bit to enter when creating a second account, so it’s hard to do accidentally and not notice; I think it must mainly happen when people think their first try at it has failed, but it hasn’t. Though there is the thing where they have an account, then buy a Stick, and when asked for account details, start a new one, as they don’t realise they should give their existing account details.

 

There were also a bunch of people whose attempts to game the system with multiple accounts to get extra free trials backfired when some of those began taking monthly payments, as their creators forgot to cancel them.

 

The (unspecified) measures to combat this should prevent some accidental second account creations as well now, though.

 

Finally, NowTV do know if you have used a Pass at all, and can refund recent ones on request if you haven’t; but you can hardly expect them to go trawling the account database for anomalies whose detection would only serve to reduce their revenues.

 

And if they did, and refunded unused months automatically, then people would just leave their accounts running, relying on NowTV to do these refunds; and doing it non-automatically, on a query basis, would be a nightmare. To say nothing of users varying their addresses slightly, or doing one account off a card and another direct off a bank account, and so on.....

 

The best guardian of your finances is you 😛

 

I expect NowTV are similarly bewildered by customers who don’t check their own bank and card accounts month by month, looking for anomalies like things they did not expect to be spending on. Certainly, my wife and I have nipped a couple of things in the bud doing that.

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
Anonymous User
Not applicable

Thanks for that detail, @RoyB - it is very useful.

 

NowTV have expressly said that they will only refund 1 month, not the first two. I asked them, a few times, to refund the original two months or, if they would not do this, to provide to me full details of all my accounts and usage under the DSAR. They chose the second option so I am sticking to my guns - I want full details so I can work out what has happened.

 

To be clear, at no point during the time I was trying to subscribe to the TV series was I aware that I had two accounts, nor that I had inadvertently switched between the two. It is now clear to me that this is what happened (somehow I inadvertently switched accounts - and then switched back so that my account showed no active subscriptions when in fact I had inadvertently created and then subscribed on a second account that I did not even realise I had!) 

 

I have checked my email archives and can find no trace at all of any 'welcome to NowTV' or any other messages for the 'second' account so I am completely confused about how this happened and why I did not receive notification because clearly if I had received an email of that nature I would have known about the second account and been able to take appropriate action.

 

As for checking accounts and being in charge of your own finances, I 100% agree. This is why I usually sign up for any new subscription with a dedicated card and then change it after a few months - I can spot any anomalies easily. When, however, I cancel the subscription from a 'reputable' service like NowTV (and verify that on my account screen) and then don't have any other subscriptions or payments set to go to that account I'm a bit less careful about checking it. This is why when I did see the deductions I was so surprised.

 

I (intentionally) have multiple accounts these with another telco for my broadband - they clearly show both on my account screens so it is fully transparent unlike this situation with NowTV.

 

I'm going to be very interested in their response on Monday.

 

Richard

RoyB
Legend

@Anonymous User 

 

So am I, whatever you can choose to share, either in the Community or by PM.

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
Anonymous User
Not applicable

Nearly 96 hours and counting and still no further response from NowTV after I responded to their message asking for more info on the DSAR and to the second message asking for my account details to credit the 1 month credit they have agreed to.

 

I have lodged the DSAR so the clock is counting and I'm therefore content to wait but I am really very unhappy at the cavalier attitude they have displayed with regards this situation.

 

Richard

Anonymous User
Not applicable

So I received the SAR data today. It is missing pretty much all the information I requested. It also is addressed to an account I did not know I had (it has a 2 at the end) .

 

As this is all about the fact that I unknowingly had 2 accounts and unknowingly had active subscriptions on one of them. I need to understand how this happened so asked for the following information for any and all accounts registered to this address:

 

  • Billing Information
  • Service History
  • Booking Information
  • account set-up and changes details including payment details, dates, times, IP addresses and any other pertinent information about these activities
  • details of successful and failed logins to my accounts on the website/s
  • dates and times of any access to the services I am alleged to have ordered (I contend that I did not access them as I did not know I had them)
  • details of any automated or manual decisions taken about me or involving me or my accounts
  • any other information NowTV has collected about me or my accounts including identity details, and other data and metadata

All I have received is 18 pages of my emails and other communications trying to get answers to this complaint and trying to arrange the SAR - and one page showing the various debits. In short, most of this is information I already had and therefore did not request.

 

They have also not confirmed that ALL my alleged accounts have now been closed or disabled and that any subscriptions have been cancelled.

 

Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of this - is it just incompetence, or is it a tactic to try to make me give up?

 

Anyway, I'm going to ask again. If they still give me the runaround I'll have to take a complaint to the ICO.

 

Richard

RoyB
Legend

@Anonymous User 

 

Oh dear. Thanks for the update anyway. It was indeed, as we suspected, a ‘second account’ problem, but it does sound as if NowTV could have handled it better ☹️

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
Anonymous User
Not applicable

This rumbles on and NowTV continue to obstruct all my efforts to get clarity. I am becoming convinced that this is part of a strategy to make it so difficult to get clarity that customers just give up. Well, if that is their approach they have a surprise coming. 

 

I now have enough evidence for a GDPR complaint to the ICO (failure to deliver my data as requested and failure to address the resulting complaint) and have two complaints that have failed to be handled properly and now qualify for independent dispute resolution.

 

This ain't over, NowTV - I've just started!

RoyB
Legend

Never ascribe to conspiracy that which is more easily ascribed to male chicken-up.

 

Like me being unable to use a perfectly innocuous expression above.

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
Anonymous User
Not applicable

Fair enough - but if this is not wilful it negligent!

 

This is the current state of a Twitter Direct Message exchange between me and the Now TV Help Twitter agent. It seems that their front line staff are absolutely ignorant of the GDPR, so I have to wonder if they have made any effort at all to educate their front line staff about GDPR?

 

The ICO makes it very clear that companies that meet certain requirements must appoint a DPO and that their contact details must be published (see https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-r...) and provided when data subject personal data is collected - to the best of my memory they did not do this (see first point here https://gdpr-info.eu/art-13-gdpr/). They should also provide it when providing data subject information under Article 13 or article 14 - they did not do this.

 

If this is not wilful it is a massive male chicken-up! 😉

 

I'm trying to sort this amicably with NowTV but they are making it so difficult to deal with anyone that can help that I reaching a point where I will have no choice but to make my case to the regulators - in the mean time NowTV seem to be intent on deepening the hole they are in!

 

Me
Can you please provide contact details of your Data Protection Officer? For whatever reason you do not seem to publish this information on your website where normal mortals can find it, if at all.
11:09 AM

 

Twitter NowTV Help
Good morning, as we are unable to access accounts through social media please pop over to our live chat team who can look into this further for you https://help.nowtv.com/gb/get-in-touch/now-tv-account-payments/cancelling-or-renewing-now-tv-passes 🙂
11:19 AM

 

Me
All I need is the contact details please. I plan to contact him / her directly in a registered letter and email. You don't need my contact details for that, do you?
As I said months ago I can't access the chat as it doesn't work.ive been forced to work through email and your team told me today they had closed my complaint.
11:48 AM

 

Me
Hello, just wondering if you will be able to provide the contact details of your DPO please? If not, why not?

12:14 PM

 

Twitter NowTV Help
Hello, please let us know what you mean by this.
12:20 PM

 

Me
I need the contact details of the NowTV Data Protection Officer please.
12:38 PM

 

Twitter NowTV Help
We do not have those on hand here, please use the live chat facilities for more information on this.
12:49 PM

 

Me
As I've said a few times.... Chat does not work for me, it does not load. You don't take phone calls so all I have left is email and you have cut me off there so I have no option to push this.

If you don't know who or what I'm asking for please show this link to your manager. NowTV is legally obliged to have a DPO and I want his or her work contact details https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-r...
1:02 PM

 

Twitter NowTV Help
(Link to https://help.nowtv.com/article/gdpr-and-now-tv)
As we have mentioned we do not have those details, GDPR is outlined here: https://help.nowtv.com/article/gdpr-and-now-tv if you require further assistance access to live chat would need to be required.
1:06 PM

 

Me
Look, I don't know how to make this clearer - NowTV is obliged to provide this information by law and can be fined 4% of global turnover for not doing so. All I want is those details that you are obliged, by law, to provide to me. Nothing more, nothing less.

Please pass this to your management or give me a phone number to call so that I can get these details.

I say again, for whatever reason chat does not work for me.
1:11 PM

 

RoyB
Legend

Wow - you can’t expect these guys to go off-script, but you do expect them to know when they have run out of road, and to escalate the issue.

 

Do you know if a company has to provide those details whenever and however asked, or if there being published somewhere public, no matter how hard to find, counts as complying?

 

(Since I have now ferreted out the details for you, cunningly hidden in plain sight, if only we knew where to look).

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
Anonymous User
Not applicable

Thanks, @RoyB 

 

I know, right? You'd think they would at least brief their front line staff that GDPR exists and how to handle any GDPR-related query. The transcript continued:

 

Me (1 hour 10 after my last post)
Is there no-one in your management chain that you can escalate this to? I am taking a complaint forwards for arbitration so want to give NowTV all the opportunities possible to redeem itself - by ignoring me you are not helping their case.
Yesterday, 2:22 PM
 
NowTV Twitter Help
Hello this has already been escalated and will be seen by management on Monday
Yesterday, 2:24 PM
 
Me
Thank you - it would have been nice to be told that. Should I expect a reply from management?
Yesterday, 2:28 PM
 
NowTV Twitter Help
Yes.
Yesterday, 2:36 PM
 
Me
Thank you. Have a great day!
Yesterday, 2:37 PM
 
NowTV Twitter Help
You to
Yesterday, 2:38 PM
 
Putting aside the level of understanding of GDPR, it is soo good to see real customer service shining through - NOT! 😑
 
 
What details do we have to publish about the DPO?

The GDPR requires you to:

  • publish the contact details of your DPO; and
  • provide them to the ICO.

This is to enable individuals, your employees and the ICO to contact the DPO as needed. You aren’t required to include the name of the DPO when publishing their contact details but you can choose to provide this if you think it’s necessary or helpful.

 

Given that the first point is to publish them "enable individuals, your employees and the ICO to contact the DPO as needed. " I have to say that any reasonable interpretation would probably require that such publishing has to make it easy for people to find them - which is clearly not the case with NowTV!

Anonymous User
Not applicable

Well, another week of absolutely no useful response from NowTV.

 

Despite the assurance from the NowTV Twitter help team that I would get a response to my request on there, nothing. Mid-week I asked again and was again assured that I would get a response and still no useful response. 

 

Last weekend I also sent the NowTV DPO mailbox an email, explaining the situation and asking for them to step in to help so that I can save both of us the trouble of going to the ICO and CISAS. Again, absolutely no response.

 

It is almost as if they believe that if they ignore complaints and problems they will go away. Oh, well, I think I've given them enough rope and they have carefully crafted a noose and placed it around their neck!

 

I'll be preparing a complaint to the ICO covering repeated failure to provide requested information under DSAR, failure to adequately publish DPO contact details that work, no response to complaint to DPO, and perceived wilful practice to reduce my ability to claim for the unauthorised debits that caused this situation. I'll also use their approach to the actual billing issue as potentially part of a campaign to prevent me asserting my Rights under privacy and payment law. 

 

I'll also be preparing a complaint to CISAS covering how I was billed for service not received and due to duplicate accounts that I did not even know I have and then complete failure to engage in a meaningful way to my attempts to get information to claim the illegally billed money back. This complaint reinforced by their abject failure to meet the requirements of the GDPR in a number of different ways.

 

I plan to send a copy of the ICO complaint to CISAS and vice versa so that they both can see what I suspect - that NowTV is either breathtakingly ignorant of the law and consumer rights or simply does not care.

 

 

RoyB
Legend

@Anonymous User 

 

As ever, it is more likely the third option, a right royal rooster-up 🙃

Set a Payment PIN on your account so that no-one but you can buy memberships on it. Check your bank accounts monthly for any other unexpected payments to Now. That way you can at least nip them in the bud, while you and Now figure out whose fault they are.
Anonymous User
Not applicable

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.