Everything I’ve ever written appears, word for word, at Zimbio. I did not agree to this. In short, zimbio is a scumbag content scraper. There’s not much I can do about it. Surely search engines could block zimbio from their listings? Often I write something and search engines find it on zimbio before they find it on my blog.
Zimbio beware, you’ve made an enemy of me.
In an age when mobile phone users are fought over competitively for every last kilobyte of their traffic and minute of conversation, we have become accustomed to the companies that run the networks constantly lowering their prices. However, they do attempt to slip increases under the radar. My last network provider, 02, unexpectedly changed the tariff part way through my contract by including 08 numbers. As I had only taken the contract with them because that had been included, I treated that change as the end of the contract. I wrote a letter to the company explaining my position and explaining that I had cancelled my direct debit to them. They wrote back saying that I had been given a month’s warning and could have cancelled the contract for free within that month but instead I was obliged to pay them £175 and a few pence. I replied stating that I had never received that text warning but that in any event, the contract was a nonsense if a fundamental clause in it was not honoured. Surely the cost of something is one of the most fundamental parts of the contract? They wrote again demanding the money and then the nasty letters started. After a few months of threatening letters, I offered them a compromise by sending them a cheque for £1 “in full and final settlement”. They cashed the cheque but continued to harass me for £174 and a few pence. They passed the matter over to a firm of solicitors. At this point I wrote to the firm of solicitors, 02 and another company – I think it was a firm of debt collectors that had also been enlisted to harass me. These three letters were identical. I informed each of these firms that I would not be entering into any further correspondence and warned them to stop harassing me. Instead, from that point on my credit rating crashed, no doubt thanks to them. From that date, various agent company letters have sent me increasingly threatening letters; they threaten court action. Bring it on! I would win because they have accepted my compromise payment. The two year limitation period for bringing claims for breach of contract has now passed I think that they are now time barred from bringing a case against me. Yet still the letters come. Presumably, they know that many people cave in under this sort of pressure. I’d call it harassment.
I must mention that although I am a barrister, I am no longer practising and nothing I say here can be taken as legal advice. I do not hold a practising certificate currently and am not insured to give legal advice. Normally, at this point, lawyers recommend that you seek your own legal advice but my suggestion is that you contact 3 and complain. Consumer pressure is likely to be more cost effective.
I am tempted to cancel this contract and proceed along the same lines. However, I do not believe that my original contract with 3 contained any mention of SMS delivery reports being priced in any manner. These delivery reports are incredibly useful. Unlike other forms of digital messaging, you can be sure that a phone has picked up the message with a delivery report. I will be asking 3 for a copy of my original contract to check the details. However, there is a practical issue. 3 have the best network for data. Another factor is that I can’t keep changing networks. Clearly I can’t go back to o2 because they will insist that I pay them £174 and a few pence, even though they have no right to it. There are only so many mobile providers. I can’t keep changing networks because I’ll run out of networks.
I’m not the only person in this boat. We are all in it. I’ll be tweeting the issue under #3 and #phonecharges. Watch this space. Let’s get this decision reversed.