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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 163

Date:-- 14 August 2004

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QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE AND CORONATION STREET STARS JOIN THE TRUCKFEST FUN!

CORONATION STREET'S 'Simon Gregson & Suranne Jones', (cory's Steve & Karen MacDonald) will be visiting the North West's Greatest Truck Show 'Truckfesst North West' at Haydock Park on Saturday 18th September.

On Sunday 19 September our special guests will be Queen of the Jungle 'Kerry McFadden'. Recent winner of 'I'm a celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'. She will be appearing alongside former star of Boyzone 'Keith Duffy' (now appearing as Coronation Streets 'Ciaran McCarthy'.

Top radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker will be at the show on Sunday alongside truckers favourite 'Sally Boazman' (Sally Traffic), who will be meeting their listeners. The event also features the welcome return of former Bullseye host 'Jim Bowen' who will be at the show on Sunday.

This exciting 2 day event features a gathering of hundreds of trucks from throughout the region, together with a giant 'industry' exhibition showcasing the latest trucking developments, plus family attractions, trade stands and arena entertainment.

There will be 2 exciting National Competitions with their finals at the show. Truckfest in association with Isuzu Trucks UK will be staging the finals of their 'Win a Truck' competition with 10 finalists competing to win a truck worth more than £30,000 at the show on Sunday 19 September. The last of the finalists will be found at the show so visitors to Truckfest North West can enter the competition.

In addition Shell will be staging the finals of the Shell National Operator of the Year. On Saturday the Regional Operator for the North West will be crowned and on Sunday 5 finalist companies will compete for the National award. The winner receives a trip for 4 to the Las Vegas Truck Show in June 2005!

There will be the North West debut for the official 'HULK' monster Truck, in an action-packed car-crushing duel against fellow monster truck 'BIGFOOT' - the 2 finest monster trucks in the country.

Gates open at 9am on both days, with day tickets priced at £12 for adults, £6 for children/senior citizens or £30 for a family pass (2 adults & 2 children).  For more information on the event, or to book discount tickets online, visit the official website at:- www.truckfest.co.uk -:- there is also a 24 hour discount ticket hotline on 0870 1211223 (lines close 13th September), or for all other details call organizer's 'Live Promotions Events' on 01775 768661.

RED HOT CALL CHARGES

OMBUDSMAN Elizabeth France has highlighted the need for greater public awareness of the costs of using a UK mobile phone abroad. 

France said:- "When taking a mobile phone on holiday it is important to check with the company before leaving, to find out how much it will charge you for making and receiving calls and text messages in the country that you are travelling to. The costs may be higher than anticipated.' 

Companies have also been encouraged to make information about these costs more readily available."

Cases that highlight this are shown below.  These are taken from Otelo's Annual Report and the Ombudsman's third case-study bulletin, published last week.

Case 1

Whilst abroad, a mobile phone customer received several calls from the mobile phone company stating the credit limit had been reached. On each occasion the credit limit was increased at the request of the customer. When the customer enquired why the bill was increasing so rapidly, the company advised that the charges would be explained on the next invoice. The customer was unhappy that despite asking, the company made no effort to advise ways to reduce the high charges incurred. Complaints and correspondence from the customer were not addressed, and the matter remained unresolved.

The Ombudsman considered that the customer had a responsibility to investigate how much the company would charge for its services before the phone was used abroad. Equally the Ombudsman decided that the company should have taken every opportunity to explain its charges to the customer. On this occasion the Ombudsman was concerned that the complaints made by the customer were not satisfactorily addressed and awarded a payment to the customer in view of the poor customer service received.

Case 2

A mobile phone customer stated that an enquiry was made to establish how much it would cost to use the mobile phone abroad. A store assistant was said to have advised the customer that no extra charges would be made. Based on this advice the customer decided to remove the International call bar from the phone. After using the phone outside of the UK, the customer received a dramatically increased bill and was advised by the company that the high bill was due to charges incurred for accepting incoming calls while abroad. The customer was dissatisfied with these charges and cancelled the direct debit payment for the mobile phone service. The company responded by detailing the sources of the charges made to the customer and by passing the outstanding balance to a debt collection agency.

The Ombudsman concluded that as the company's charges were published and widely available, the customer did not take adequate steps to establish the costs of using the service abroad. No evidence was provided to support the claim that the company had misadvised the customer. However, the Ombudsman had concerns over the accuracy of the call costs and concluded that the customer and the company were equally responsible for the bill. The company was required to reduce the charges on the bill by half.

France heads Otelo, The Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman, the first Service to be approved by the Telecoms Regulator to resolve complaints from residential and small business customers of communications companies. Otelo will only become involved when customers and their companies have tried, but failed, to resolve a complaint. The Service, which has been in operation since 1 January 2003, covers phone, fixed and mobile, fax and internet services for companies that have chosen to become a member.

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