The Commissioner was contacted by the family of an older man who lives alone and is relatively independent. He received a cold call from a telecommunications network provider with whom he already had a mobile phone contract.

As a result of a telephone conversation with a sales person, the older man apparently agreed to purchase a second hand set. When the new mobile phone arrived at his home the older man wasn’t clear that he had agreed to purchase it.  He had sought to return the phone to his mobile telephone network shop in the local town centre. The staff at the shop advised him to speak directly to the network provider. The older person left the new mobile phone in the box and it was never activated. He began to receive bills for the two phones in his possession. He contacted the telephone provider and was advised that the 30 day ‘cooling off period’ in the sales contract had lapsed. He was informed that he could end the new contract if he was prepared to pay a termination fee, otherwise he was told he had contracted to pay the monthly bill for two years.

The older man’s daughter contacted the network provider by phone and in writing. The company would not refund any monies, his daughter has requested a copy of the signed contract between the provider and her father as well as a transcript of the phone call that took place during the initial ‘sell’. The Commissioner’s legal officer intervened on behalf of the older person and made representations to the network provider regarding sales practice and cancellation procedures for older people. A successful outcome was obtained by way of a full reimbursement of the monies paid by the older person.