Ask Sindie: 'My new cards went round the globe and back'

The trials of replacing stolen plastic... and when solicitors have second thoughts

Q: I am at my wits' end over my Nationwide building society credit card account.

My bag was stolen in Lewisham, south London, recently and I had to cancel all my credit and debit cards. No fraudulent transactions took place, but I have had huge problems replacing my cards and getting my online banking facility to work properly again.

It took two weeks for me to get a replacement debit card, and my credit card still hasn't been sorted out - I can't access the account details on my home computer.

And the direct debit from my bank account to pay my credit card bill has yet to be reinstated.

I have made several visits to Nationwide's Lewisham branch and sent emails to Nationwide via its secure website but have heard nothing. Can you help?

AB, via email

A: Your case shows how a single moment of misfortune can lead to weeks of woe. But, after some investigation by Sindie, it seems that not all the hazards you had to negotiate in your quest to get your accounts restored were necessarily the fault of Nationwide.

The first problem was your use of a different first name on your various accounts to the one used to sign your emails. This meant Nationwide could not easily locate your accounts.

Your new Flexaccount debit card did take a while to reach you, but Nationwide says it tells customers that a replacement card can take up to 10 working days - and the card did arrive within that limit.

The credit card proved more problematical. Your registered address for this card is in New Zealand, where you spend half of each year. Nationwide explains that, for security reasons, its processing centre is not able to send replacement cards overseas.

Cards are therefore sent to the holder's local UK branch and, accordingly, yours was sent to Lew-isham. Unfortunately, an industrious Nationwide staff member then looked up your registered address and dispatched the card to New Zealand before you could come in to fetch it.

When this mistake was realised, the replacement card had to be cancelled and yet another ordered.

Because you did not want to have to collect the card from the branch - another lengthy trip for you - this new card is to be sent to your UK home address.

As for being locked out from your credit card details, this is down to discrepancies between the addresses on your current and credit card accounts. Nationwide's computer did not recognise the two accounts as belonging to the same holder, so did not display them simultaneously.

Nationwide says it has rectified this, and now you should be able to view both accounts online.

Finally - phew! - the direct debit to pay off your credit card bill has at last been reinstated. This problem arose due to the switching of the payment order from the first replacement credit card (the one that accidentally went to New Zealand) to the second.

It just took a while to catch up. Two payments to Halifax went awry in the meantime but have since been sorted out.

Your account should now be working smoothly.

Q: During the summer I purchased a house, at which time my solicitor issued a statement to clarify the balance that I needed to settle to complete the purchase. This included the deposit, legal fees, disbursements et al.

I paid the balance at the time of completion. Now, some eight weeks later, my solicitors have written to me with an amended completion statement. They are asking for a further payment of around £150.

It seems that the additional money relates to their costs for obtaining local authority searches, for which their original estimate was incorrect.

Are they entitled to come back to me requesting more money in this way?

DR, via email

A: Solicitors' charges have always been a bit of a grey area because some of the costs quoted at the outset are usually estimates, and solicitors will not know exactly how much they have to pass on in charges until they have actually undertaken the work.

However, your complaint hinges on a slightly different question - the stage at which these costs were firmed up and presented to you for payment.

The Law Society Regulation Board - soon to be renamed the Solicitors Regulation Authority - says that the final figures should certainly be clear by the time you receive your completion statement.

It therefore looks as if your solicitor might have missed his chance to adjust his charges if he got his sums wrong, and you could have grounds for a complaint if he tries to come after you with an extra bill as an afterthought.

Go back to the firm involved and take the matter up with the person authorised to handle complaints. All solicitors' firms have to have a complaints handling procedure.

If the problem is not dealt with to your satisfaction, your next port of call should be the Law Society's consumer complaints service.

If you need help from our consumer champion, write to Annie Shaw at The Independent on Sunday, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or email We cannot return documents, give personal replies or guarantee to answer letters. We accept no legal responsibility for advice given

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before