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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 19:32 UK time, Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The mobile phone - it's a fantastic gadget allowing us walk, talk, text, take photographs, even listen to music. But with the constantly evolving technology, frequent upgrades are essential.

For one disabled pensioner, the mobile phone and the endless upgrades have become a curse - as she's hounded constantly for money.

Mair Jones lives in North Wales, is 65 and registered disabled. Her condition means she shakes constantly, so everyday tasks are a struggle. One thing she can manage, however, is a budget.

"Well I'm very strict with myself regarding money. I make sure that my bills come first," she said.

Mobile phone giant 3 might find that hard to believe. According to statements going back more than two years, Mair has paid them over £500 and owes another £500. All for phones she's never used. Mair has always had a pay-as-you-go phone from Vodafone which suited her needs.

But her phone problems began when she received a cold call from a mystery company trying to sell her another mobile phone. Mair says she told the caller she wasn't interested.

"They were pushing, pushing and pushing. I said no thank you, I said I can't afford it, I've already got a mobile phone."

But according to 3, Mair did agree to have a mobile phone and did pass on her bank details. Mair insists she didn't and that she never signed for a mobile phone contract. However, it's clear that such contracts can be made verbally over the telephone and still be binding.

In all, since 2007, Mair has received at least two mobile phones, and appeared to take out two more contracts. These overlapped so sometimes she was paying two bills at once. To keep up with the payments, she had to use her life savings.

"By this time the money was piling up on me. I'd go to my savings account. I couldn't cope any more; I didn't know what to do," she said.

Eventually with a friend's help, she contacted trading standards officer John Eden Jones, of Gwynedd Trading Standards. He believes Mair has not realised how much she's out of pocket.

"I don't think she's actually realised to what extent, how much money has been taken out of her bank over this period... and she wasn't getting anything for it."

Since May, John's been trying to sort out Mair's mobile phone problem. But the paper trail is confusing. As accounts have overlapped, she was sometimes receiving a bill for one account one day, and another bill for a separate account the next.

With the help of her bank, Mair cancelled the direct debit to 3. But that wasn't the end of the story. Soon bills arrived along with phone calls demanding payment. Mair began to receive four or five calls a day. When X-Ray asked her to keep a log of how many times she was called over a week, the total was 30.

John Jones said: "They shouldn't be doing it. They have got to put things in writing. Things have got to be clear particularly if you are going to be writing to someone who is elderly or vulnerable, and on this occasion I don't think that they met their responsibilities."

Recently, Mair has received a letter from a debt collection agency demanding immediate payment - or else.

When we spoke to mobile phone company 3, they insisted that Mair's contracts were set up and handled appropriately. However, the company has agreed, given Mair's personal circumstances, that they will cancel the contracts, waive any early termination fee and write off outstanding debts.

The debt collection agency will be informed and will not be pursuing her further. But there will be no refund of the money she's paid out for mobile phones she didn't want and didn't use.

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