The grieving family of a retiree who died of lung cancer have been told by O2 that the credit on his payphone will not be refunded.
Relatives of former heavy factory machinist Allen Harrison were devastated by the death of the 73-year-old earlier this month.
He spent his final days in a hospice, with his daughter and son-in-law, Kerry and John Davies, putting £ 25 credit on his phone so he could keep in touch with friends and family.
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Mr Davies says he then called 02, explaining Mr Harrison, from Burton, had passed away and they wanted to get the unused £ 25 back. He was told that it was not O2’s “policy” to offer a refund.
But after the family contacted our sister site, Staffordshire Live, the company agreed to repay the amount as a “goodwill gesture”.
When Mr Davies initially raised the issue with O2, he maintains that the company said there was nothing they could do.
He added: “Why should they have this money? It’s like they say if you die you will be penalized for it.
“My stepfather was a very respected man and had been with 02 for years. He went to the hospice and we put money in the account for him.
“It’s not about the money, but I’m devastated, I can’t believe how cruel someone can be. He would roll over in his grave if he knew it.”
Mr Harrison’s daughter Kerry said her father, who was also a grandfather of three boys, went to the doctor at the end of the first lockdown last year and was diagnosed with lung cancer.
She said: “He didn’t let it be known, but he was losing weight. He then underwent radiation therapy and was given the green light in January, so he rang. [at the hospital]. He was waiting for the results and in May they found out he had spread to his other lung and spine.
“He was only supposed to go to St Giles’ Hospice so they could control his pain, but that never happened.”
Ms Davies said the family topped his phone with £ 25 and believed he had tried texting a few but they never succeeded.
She said: “When he passed away we spoke to the mourning service at 2 o’clock and they said it was not their policy to reimburse the deceased. It’s not about money, we would have preferred donate the £ 25 to St Giles, or maybe 02 should have made that donation. “
A spokesperson for O2 said: ‘We spoke to the customer on Monday and sent a check for the £ 25 Pay as You Go credit left on the deceased customer’s account.
“The terms and conditions for refunds for PAYG credit are described online here: https://www.o2.co.uk/termsandconditions/mobile/on-pay-and-go-our-service-terms-are-worth-a-read
“However, we would always be ready to speak to family members or next of kin if they contact us and speak to the bereavement team.
“And if they can pass data protection and access the device, we can look to return the credit as a goodwill gesture, as we did in this case.”