In the style of the Meeples and Miniatures podcast, here is my confession for February 2019.
So, what have I been squandering my pension on?
In February, I bought or paid for:
Deposit for 2 players at the Donald Featherstone tribute game: £200
Plastic soldiers for playtesting the Sudan game for above: £112.39
Plastic palm trees for playtesting the Sudan game for above: £16.17
Bases for 6mm model trees (100): £13.95
Model for my character at the Donald Featherstone tribute game: £4.70
Replacement models for above: £13.98
Plastic bases for 6mm wargames: £35.00
UHU Glue: £5.98
Game (Santorini) for 6mm model houses: £24.81
Model cargo ships for Axis & Allies naval: £7.27
Total February wargame spend: £434.25
This is more than my pension will support, but almost £350 (80%) is unusual spending related to the Featherstone Tribute weekend. This is not only a once a year event, but this year I am paying for two players, and I needed a playtest. Whether that was worth spending well over £100 on models in a scale that I do not normally play is something to review later. They may well turn up in the Belgican Wars at a future date.
Today I was notified that a mobile telephone company had previously taken, and is planning to take, payments from my account for a telephone that has been destroyed, the account closed, and for which all direct debit authorities have been cancelled. I have today again cancelled the direct debit authority using my bank’s online facility, just as I did before.
My bank informs me that I can cancel the direct debit authority, but the payee may revoke the cancellation and take the money in any case. That is not how I understood the agreement with my bank and I am disputing it.
The agreement was for a flat fee of £5.00 per month, including a set level of calls. The telephone was destroyed some months ago, so why did they take without authority £9.88 last month and intend to take £5.19 next month?
“Direct Debit is the safest way to make payments in the UK. The Direct Debit Guarantee gives you a right to immediate refunds for any payments which shouldn’t have been taken.” (Gocardless.co.uk)
“Money shouldn’t be collected from your account after you have cancelled and under the Scheme rules, an organisation would have to obtain your authority to reinstate a cancelled Instruction.” (www.directdebit.co.uk/DirectDebitExplained)
“Yes you cancel it anytime , we never will stop you for that, but the signed agreement is with virgin , you can control standing orders but direct debits are all governed by the companies with whom you have the set up.” (HSBC chatline 30/10/2018)
So, I assume that Virgin Media is simply ignoring the agreement and making up its own numbers each month, and that HSBC cannot be bothered to dispute the fact that I said “No more.”
Since posting I have spent over an hour failing to create a user account on the Virgin Mobile website so that I can register a formal complaint.