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Account holders- phone, utilities etc

(17 Posts)
picklemepopcorn Sun 14-May-17 07:27:45

I'm having trouble helping my parents with their phone contract. They are coming to the end of an ill advised expensive one, and could switch to something much cheaper. DF, whose name it is in, can't do the security any more. What do we do? It will roll on to something expensive if we don't act fairly soon.

LightYears Sun 14-May-17 07:48:28

I think the utility companies will speak to you if your parents are with you by the phone so they can speak to them first, then pass the phone to you.
As soon as you can, I'd make an appointment to go and see a solicitor about arranging a Power of Attorney.

picklemepopcorn Sun 14-May-17 09:23:27

I've printed off the POA staff and am doing it with mum now. It's fairly straight forward for us. It's more the phone, we can't get through security because dad can't say or remember the passwords. We can do some things online as the computer remembers everything.

What do they do when the contract holder is physically unable to engage?

It's a life lesson- make sure everything is recorded, written down, accessible! And don't let your partner do everything for you!

My DH reassured me he has a spreadsheet on the computer with all the log in info on it. I asked him to show me where- it was on an external disk, in a file, in another file, and called something random like bsr. Really useful, not! My chances of finding it again are slim but at least I know it is there!

picklemepopcorn Sun 14-May-17 09:23:47

Thank you, light years.

picklemepopcorn Sun 14-May-17 09:24:16

If I ring the phone company and say I have POA for my dad, it still won't help, will it?

SuperDiaperBaby Sun 14-May-17 14:21:38

Lightyears idea might work. If not can you still get into DF email account and request a password reset online and access it through the email account? Would if be terribly dishonest to get your DH to ring and say he is your DF if you can not arrange it online? Or how about trying to cancel the account and they might speak to you if they are going to lose them as customers? Good luck.

LightYears Sun 14-May-17 16:42:17

Yes, surely they should send a new password via email or through the post. They aren't very helpful some of these companies, it's like they've never come across the situation or don't have things in place for this.

I've gone through this with my mum, a few years ago now but I remember phoning BT for something and they wouldn't speak to me before my mum gave them the go ahead verbally over the phone,
which luckily she was still able to do at that point. The Power of Attorney has been really useful. Depending on the company/authority you're dealing with, some needed to see it, others an authorised copy, then others just a copy. I remember going into the reception of the HMRC in my town with the POW, they wanted to take it away, then send it back to me via the post. I refused as I remember the solicitor saying not to lose the original POW, I wasn't going to risk it as my mum was then unable to sign her name again.

picklemepopcorn Sun 14-May-17 18:31:28

Thank you both. It doesn't help that mum is as scatty as a very scatty (and bad tempered) thing! She wants everything done yesterday, then gets cross when you need to ask her for info she doesn't have.
Sigh. We'll get there.

Thank you.

LightYears Sun 14-May-17 18:41:51

Don't forget to look after yourself OP, you can only do so much, it's not fair that your mum is taking her bad temper out on you, you sound a good daughter and just trying to help, I don't think it would hurt to point that out to your mother. Take breaks so you don't get bogged down with it all. Are you having to do all this alone, is there anyone else that can take some of the pressure off.

picklemepopcorn Sun 14-May-17 20:13:17

Thank you. I tend to go and stay for five days a month, as I live a fair way away. My sister lives near her.
It's very intense, but useful as I see more than my siblings about how she is coping. Challenging times ahead!

LightYears Sun 14-May-17 20:25:17

Yes, it is a challenging time. There's another thread on here, not sure if you've seen it, lots of support, advice and a useful place to have a well deserved rant! That's good you have your sister too. Does she do her fair share?

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/elderly_parents/2895100-Caring-for-elderly-parents-Drop-in-for-support-hand-holding-and-whatever-you-need

JigglyTuff Sun 14-May-17 20:30:11

I fibbed and pretended I was my mum. I do have POA but it never occurred to me to use it for that - thanks

picklemepopcorn Mon 15-May-17 07:43:30

Sis does help, to the extent DM lets her. I'm a long game, everyone cooperates kind of player, she's a bit more direct, ruffles feathers kind of person. Both of us get frustrated!

Anyway, POA is on hold at the moment, DM has 'more urgent' things to do. She will need a bit of advice from a solicitor I think, about the joint and severally for different things. Unfortunately we aren't a family that can be relied upon for everyone to amicably and responsibly play their part. There have been lots of falling out in the past- I'm the only one who hasn't fallen out with everyone else at some point!

Anyway, hey ho! On we go!

Thanks for the link to the other thread- it's a bit quiet there at the moment.

paddypants13 Mon 15-May-17 08:09:23

I used to work for a large energy supplier, they could add you on as a contact for 12 months as long as an account holder gave verbal permission. The account holder had to pass security first though. Once you have POA, you can forward that to them and it will remain on the account until it is no longer required.

My dh is a contact on my phone contract (my contract is for both phones), I asked for him to be a named contact on the account.

picklemepopcorn Mon 15-May-17 14:47:23

That's worth knowing, thank you. I will set things up differently in future.

People should be asked whenever they set these things up for a back up contact who has permission to act for them.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 15-May-17 17:05:10

Just make sure you get POA in place while they're still mentally competent enough to understand and agree to it. Once you get past that point, POA is extremely difficult to put in place. I speak from experience.

JigglyTuff Mon 15-May-17 20:26:54

That's a really good point MsAdorabelle. Actually, it was done at my parents' instigation because they had massive issues with their parents.

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