On my first post-lockdown visit to my 78-year-old mother who lives alone in Salisbury, I found her visibly upset. It soon emerged that she had asked a plumbing company called Rightio to replace a ballcock in her toilet and it later charged her £329. It also appeared to have signed her up to some kind of care plan costing £9.50 a month.
Rightio is a national firm that appears to subcontract local plumbers. She says that prior to the plumber arriving, Rightio took her debit card details, including her CVC number.
She says when the plumber arrived at about 4pm, he didn’t offer a quote, nor did he explain what he had to do. At 4.45pm he had to “pop out for a bit” and returned at 5.30pm to finish the job. When he left at about 6pm he didn’t leave an invoice.
Two days later, mum’s bank statement showed the charge. She phoned Rightio and staff said it was for three hours’ work, plus parts, the amount was correct and that “there was nothing else she could do”.
I’ve emailed the company three times but received no reply.
My mum has little money and feels that she’s been taken advantage of during lockdown when family couldn’t visit.
We have spent the past few weeks trying to get any kind of response out of Birmingham-based Rightio. We have emailed, called multiple times, even filled in a form to ask one of its plumbers to come and fix our toilet. Only once did we get through by phone, at which point we were told to email. No one at the firm wanted to discuss your mother’s case.
On the face of it, the £329 bill for that job looks hugely inflated. However, the fact that the company refuses to send an invoice or explain to you, or us, how it arrived at the sum, speaks volumes.
Sadly, a look at the online reviews of Rightio suggests your mother is not alone. While there appear to be some positive reviews for the company, overcharging is a frequent complaint.
Perhaps even more telling is the Indeed website, where staff rate their employer. One of the most recent posts is entitled: “If you like ripping people off this companies [sic] for you!”. Another, posted last November, says the company should be shut down and adds: “They charge customers a ridiculous amount of money just to show up.”
In your shoes I would use your power of attorney to contact your mother’s bank and explain that she has not authorised the £329 payment, and ask for a chargeback. You should also cancel any direct debits set up to pay for the care plan and use the direct debit guarantee to claw back any payments already taken. And I would contact trading standards and make a formal complaint.
Anyone else thinking of using Rightio is advised to read what its customers and employees are saying, before handing over your card details.
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