A PENSIONER is taking on a phone giant after it took money from his bank account and threatened him with debt collectors.
Geoff Roberts, 76, says landline company TalkTalk failed to live up to its name because to date he had not received any explanation.
Industry watchdog Otelo has reprimanded the company, part of Carphone Warehouse, but Mr Roberts, of Springfield Avenue, Malpas, has rejected its suggestion that TalkTalk pay him £50 compensation, describing it as 'an insult'.
He said: 'Accessing my bank account details is a gross invasion of my privacy and putting me in the hands of debt collectors was an assault on my personal integrity.'
Mr Roberts said while he was attempting to resolve matters he was put through to a woman in a call centre in India who also knew his bank details. He described his treatment as 'disgraceful and unethical'.
Mr Roberts, caretaker of the Jubilee Hall, fears more vulnerable people such as his brother-in-law, who has dementia, would simply have paid the bill for £77.39.
The saga began when the TalkTalk bill was sent to another villager with the same surname of Roberts who lives in sheltered accommodation.
But a visiting warden recognised the telephone number as Geoff's - although when he saw the bill he realised it had nothing to do with him either.
Mr Roberts, whose phone company is Toucan, explained that he was not scared: 'The thing was I knew that I had never had anything to do with Carphone Warehouse so it was not bothering me at all.
'What I am angry about is putting me in the hands of debt collectors and this hardened my resolve,' said Mr Roberts, who described the action as 'bully-boy tactics'.
Mr Roberts had £23.44 removed in direct debits from his Lloyds TSB account. The bank refunded the money without fuss but claimed the phone company must have received permission from Mr Roberts, which he denies.
Richard Sills, principal ombudsman with Otelo is now suggesting TalkTalk apologise and offer £100 compensation for the dis-tress and inconvenience.
He said: 'TalkTalk had never spoken to you and you had not requested your line to be transferred from Toucan to TalkTalk. Furthermore, TalkTalk obtained your bank account details in an unexplained manner and withdrew money from it.'
A company spokesman said: 'TalkTalk has a very low rate of mis-selling cases but is committed to reducing these still further and is working hard with the industry to do so.
'Mr Roberts was signed up to our Talk-Talk landline package through a third party, whose services we no longer use. We apologise if the implications of this were not clarified to Mr Roberts but have waived all charges and issued a £50 cheque as a gesture of goodwill.'