A PENSIONER and his wife say they have had sleepless nights after receiving letters from a debt collector on behalf of their phone provider when owing just £12.

Mr Richards and his wife, 90 and 87 years old respectively, say they have had threatening letters from a debt collector on behalf of O2 over some money they allegedly owe over a missing phone.

Mr Richards, from Rogerstone, is allegedly being charged with an outstanding debt of £12.31 over a phone he lost while on holiday in August. While the phone provider has now cleared the debt, the couple have found the experience very distressing.

He accidentally left the phone on a coach when returning from their summer holiday on August 11, only realising it was missing when they arrived home. They attempted to contact the coach company and were eventually told the phone was never found.

They contacted his provider at the time, O2, to cancel the phone’s contract, and thought it had been dealt with, only to receive a letter claiming he had an outstanding payment on October 18.

Mr Richards said: “This whole situation has been really distressing for the both of us. We had no prior contact with O2 before this letter turned up last month completely out of the blue.

“We’ve had sleepless nights panicking about this, as we had no idea this money was owed. Neither of us have ever been in debt, and we can’t cope with this sort of stress at our age.

“The debt is for a miserly £12.31, which is nothing. I imagine it cost more to send the letter.”

Mr Richards contacted the debt collectors three times last month, and they expressed concern that the letter had even arrived. He was then told he would have to speak with O2 directly to discuss the matter, and has been doing so since October 28, with no success.

O2 said Mr Richards informed them of his request to be disconnected on August 14.

A spokesperson for O2 said: "Mr Richards’ final bill wasn’t paid as he had cancelled his direct debit before it was due to be taken, which later led to him receiving requests for the payment.

"We always advise customers against amending or cancelling their direct debit early to avoid any unnecessary issues."

O2 were made aware of his situation on October 30, and have since spoken with Mr Richards. They have confirmed that the outstanding amount has now been cleared.