Phonewatch changes its billing procedure

Brendan Burgess

Founder
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37,956
In the past Phonewatch used to issue a very big bill. If the customer phoned, they would get a reduction.

Last year, it was €427 and when I called, they reduced it to €320.

This year, they issued me a bill for €339 , up 6% on the reduced price, so I don't have to go through all the hassle of asking them to cut the bill.

And they have made a mess of their billing system. They sent me an invoice claiming it was due on 26th April even though my contract does not expire until 26 May.

They did not include the period of the contract on the invoice.

Brendan
 

newtothis

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553
You may want to shop around. We used to be with Phonewatch, but they kept increasing prices, although they did use to reduce it if you rang up (not the last time, though). We switched to a company called Action 24, who were cheaper and better to deal with: I'd used them for a commercial property and had been very happy with them (I've no connection to them).

As far as I know, Phonewatch are the most expensive in the market, relying on brand awareness and the connection to Eircom (now gone).
 

twofor1

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1,270
You may want to shop around. We used to be with Phonewatch, but they kept increasing prices, We switched to a company called Action 24, who were cheaper and better to deal with.
One of my elderly relations whose affairs I look after has a Phonewatch Alarm for a few years and pays a €45.98 monthly monitoring charge by direct debit, so €552 a year, which as you say is probably the most expensive around.

I always thought that an alarm system installed by Phonewatch could only be monitored by Phonewatch, so their charge was not negotiable. Great if I am wrong.

Did you have to pay for a new Action 24 alarm system to be installed ?

Can an existing Phonewatch alarm system be monitored by another less expensive provider ?

Thanks.
 

RedOnion

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3,133
Depending on the actual panel you have, it might be possible to keep the panel and switch monitoring company.
Even if they cannot take it over, the other companies offer great prices to change the panel, if your system is compatible.

HomeSecure is a company I had got a quote from before. On their website they've a listing of some of the Phone Watch panels and if they can take over.
https://www.homesecure.ie/switch-my-monitoring/

Other companies will do similar.
 

Leo

Moderator
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10,164
Can an existing Phonewatch alarm system be monitored by another less expensive provider ?
As above, most of the older PhoneWatch panels can be monitored by any of the other providers who will provide exactly the same level of service for less.

Since PhoneWatch were bought out by Sector Alarm, they have switched to only using their equipment. No one was buying Sector kit, so this is a means for them to continue selling equipment that wasn't able to compete with the market leaders

So if you have the older PhoneWatch kit, get another company to monitor it. If you have the newer stuff, it's likely that you do not have the protection you think you might have, and are likely better off looking for alternatives.

When I say you likely don't have the protection you need, I've seen a few PhoneWatch installs. In one case I was successful in getting them to admit they had completely miss-sold the system and got them to uninstall and issue a refund. The installs I have seen do not offer much in the way of perimeter protection, and will in many cases only trigger an alarm once a burglar is already inside.
 

David1234

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214
Rather than starting a new thread I'll put me recent experience with Phonewatch here.

We have recently sold our house, and are in the process of cancelling all of our utilities as we won't be into the new place for a while. All bar Phone watch (sky, broadband, bins) require a 30 day notice period which is absolutely fair IHO.

Phonewatch said that I entered into a new annual contract in January and that I would have to pay for the remaining 7 months. I have been with them 5 years and only agreed to a 1 year contract upon signing in 2014 for a discount. They said that they sent me an email with their terms and conditions back in January when the new contract apparently commenced. I may have received this but cant find the email and have no memory of ever reading it.

My question is can a utilities company automatically sign you up for anything else apart from a rolling monthly contract without written or verbal consent?
 

Leo

Moderator
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10,164
My question is can a utilities company automatically sign you up for anything else apart from a rolling monthly contract without written or verbal consent?
Check the cancellation terms in the original contract you signed. There's a good chance this allowed for 12 month rolling contracts, but if not you should push them on it.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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706
You all might want to look other options.

I have a Piper. This is a camera/motion/heat/humidity sensor which runs on your broadband and is operated via app. You can set up alerts, texts, or phone calls if motion is detected. You can then look at a live feed to a camera.

The hardware costs about €100 and there is no subscription fee.

You can hook it up to motion sensors on windows and doors as well (I haven't done this).

I know there are other products like this. I think it's much better value than a wired alarm plus phonewatch subscription.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
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37,956
Phonewatch said that I entered into a new annual contract in January and that I would have to pay for the remaining 7 months.
Seems reasonable to me.

I renewed mine recently and paid them the annual fee upfront.

It wouldn't occur to me to seek a refund if I stopped using it mid-year.

The other utilities are different. I am using gas, electricity and broadband. When I stop using them, I stop incurring a cost for the supplier.

I presume the new owners of your house could avail of the unused Phonewatch term?

Brendan
 

David1234

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214
Seems reasonable to me.

I renewed mine recently and paid them the annual fee upfront.

It wouldn't occur to me to seek a refund if I stopped using it mid-year.

The other utilities are different. I am using gas, electricity and broadband. When I stop using them, I stop incurring a cost for the supplier.

I presume the new owners of your house could avail of the unused Phonewatch term?

Brendan

I would have no issue if I was trying to cancel a few months into the original contract and I also would not be looking for a refund for unused months.

I would look at it as phonewatch providing a service similar to sky/broadband and once you are out of the original contract agreed that rolling into another full years contract is excessive.

Out of interest how did you renew your contract? Did you contact them or were they in touch with you?

What is the maximum term you think these type of service providers can lock you into on completion of the original contract?
 

Peanuts20

Registered User
Messages
94
Phonewatch billing needs watching. Like another poster here, I've installed it at an elderly relatives house and if I wasn't tuned in on things like this I could easily have missed that they double charged us €100 for an element of the install. They were very nice and rectified it quickly but the relative hadn't clocked it. Also had issues where the monthly bill via DD was not collected so it was twice the following month
 

postman pat

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326
what I think David1234 is saying is that when the renewel comes around they roll the contract on to the next year if you dont contact them.. a bit sharp practice at least...
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
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37,956
Out of interest how did you renew your contract? Did you contact them or were they in touch with you?
They sent me an invoice.

I rang them to query the invoice and then paid it over the phone.

But fair enough, maybe I don't have a contract with them.

What happens with car insurance or house insurance if you cancel half way through the year?

Brendan
 

mugsymugsy

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69
Could it not be considered inertia selling and therefore illegal. Ask them for the contract that you signed with these terms and conditions.
 

peemac

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641
I was at a conference this weekend and one workshop was about negotiation.

It was rammed down our throats to always always always read terms and conditions of any contract especially the cancelation and penalty clauses.

The real life examples shown from some well-known companies were shocking.

In one case, the person was providing their service free except for expenses, but if they cancelled, even due to serious illness, the contract allowed for $100,000 penalty!!

It's a habit I got into a few years ago and there have been several contracts, especially from utility companies, that I never proceeded with after reading their conditions.
 
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David1234

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What happens with car insurance or house insurance if you cancel half way through the year
When I take out my car/home insurance I sign up for a year and at the end of the year I must renew my contract or I am not insured. My insurance company don’t automatically renew a contract (I am aware that some do/at least use to) unless I instruct them to.

I think a provider locking a client in for a year at the end of a contract without a renewed agreement is shady. with home/car insurance you get refunded on a pro rata basis if you cancel. PhoneWatch want me to pay for 7 months of additional service.

Hypothetically could they have rolled me onto a 2 year contract at the end of the first term if it was in the Ts and Cs?
 
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