POST Office Telecoms cut off a bereaved Redditch pensioner’s phone despite his daughter paying the bill in good time.
Then when in desperation he paid it a second time, they refused to give him a refund, bizarrely telling him to deal with Basildon Council in Essex instead and leaving him distraught.
Philip Henshaw’s nightmare began in December last year when his dear wife Jill died.
She had run the Matchborough couple’s household and Philip, aged 78, was too heartbroken to notice a telephone bill for £109.98 dated December 7.
However his daughter Nina, mindful of her mum’s role, and unknown to Philip, picked it up and paid it at Matchborough Post Office on December 23.
Despite this, in January Post Office Telecoms cut off Philip’s phone – his only connection with his family and a vital link since the loss of his wife.
After three days without a phone he remembered the bill and rushed to Redditch town centre post office and paid it again.
When he next saw Nina, he told her what had happened.
“I said Dad, I paid that back in December,” said Nina.
And so began the family’s three month fight to get their money back.
“I went back to the Post Office at Matchborough and they said they’d sent the money to Basildon Council,” said Nina.
“I don’t have a clue why.
“I asked them to sort it out and they said they couldn’t because of ‘confidentiality’ and said I would have to deal with Basildon Council myself for a refund but we were getting nowhere.”
In desperation Philip, who used to work at HDA, now Mettis, came to the Redditch Standard.
Luckily the family had kept the two receipts for the payments, and within a few hours the Post Office admitted their mistake.
A spokeswoman said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to Mr Henshaw for the error made by the branch.
“Post Office understands how inconvenient and concerning this must have been for Mr Henshaw and for this we are very sorry.
“We have issued a refund and we are contacting the branch to make them aware of the error and to provide refresher training to ensure this does not happen again.”
Mr Henshaw, who has a son and two daughters, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren, said: “It’s unbelievable that they did this. £109 is a lot of money to a pensioner and it’s taken me months to get it back.
“I’d like to thank the Redditch Standard for all its help.”