Consumer rights: Aer Lingus will not take my euro vouchers for a UK to Ireland return flight

A gift of a family flight to Dublin to commemorate a mother's life is spoiled by unread terms and secrets could cost you dear

In July it will be 10 years since my mother died in Ireland and I have arranged a memorial event, with a bench to be dedicated to her in her favourite spot.

I'd like my husband and daughters to be with me, but I'd resigned myself to that not being possible as things are tight financially. I got a wonderful surprise when my sister generously gave me an Aer Lingus voucher for €500 to buy flights for us all.

The voucher was bought online in my name in January in the EU. When I tried to book flights in early February I discovered that it can only be used to buy tickets in euros. I can't buy return flights starting in the UK as they have to be paid for in sterling. I could buy the return leg from Dublin back to the UK with the voucher but that would mean my paying for the outward journey to Dublin myself, in pounds, which I can't afford. Having explored the options and talked to the airline I've also discovered that I'd have to travel on the same flights as my husband and daughters which would be next to impossible given their locations and the times everyone can travel. In the end I reluctantly decided that I couldn't use the voucher and that it would be better to have the value of it refunded to my sister. However I've been told that's not possible either as vouchers are non-transferable. The only way I can use it is to buy €500 worth of flights originating in Ireland but to do that we'd have to get there – several times. Is there nothing I can do?

BH, London

I've had a look through the airline's website, at the terms and conditions that apply when you buy vouchers. From that I think this was a case of an emotional sister reacting quickly to do something to help you without really taking in the details. At the bottom of the first page – not buried in the small print – it clearly says that "vouchers can only be redeemed against bookings in the currency of issue". It would seem to me that the only recourse would be to argue successfully that was an unfair condition in the contract.

I have now contacted Aer Lingus through their press office and this is what they told me: "At the point of purchase on, customers have the choice of three currencies, euros, sterling and dollars. Flights are quoted in the currency of departure and it is therefore advised to purchase the currency with this in mind."

However, Aer Lingus's terms and conditions also advise that "Aer Lingus is currently working on the capability of the website to allow sterling vouchers purchase of euro flights, The airline expects to have this option available mid 2011."

In the meantime, the airline promises to issue you with a cheque for the sterling equivalent of 500 euros, which you can use to buy flights for you and your family.

I've been self-employed for a few months and set up an office in the back bedroom. Two weeks ago we had a break-in and my work computer, printer and camera equipment were stolen, along with things from the house. I've claimed on my contents insurance, but they won't pay out. I've provided all the receipts and documents they asked for, but they say they won't even pay out for the TV and music equipment we lost. Where do I stand?

RE, Dorset

I suspect from the tone of your inquiry that you didn't tell your insurance company about your business or the equipment you bought for your office. Contents policies are designed to cover household not business contents. Check the small print and you will find a clause that says you must reveal all material facts. Running a business from home is a material fact.

The general rule is that it's better to tell insurance companies the details up front rather than wait till you make a claim. If you don't, you could discover, at worst, your insurance won't pay out or, at best, the amount of your claim is drastically reduced.

If you're running a home business your insurance company will want to know what business equipment you have in your house and if additional people have access to the premises. You could try arguing that as you're at home all day the risk of being broken into is reduced. If you did inform the insurer about your business, go back and ask them to look again at your claim. If you didn't, your only hope is to throw yourself on their mercy.

Running a business from home throws up a lot of other issues, too. Public liability insurance is important if you have visitors to the house and professional indemnity insurance is a good idea.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionPart of 'best-selling' Demeter scent range
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
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

    Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

    HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

    £30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

    Derivatives Risk Commodities Business Analyst /Market Risk

    £600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...

    Power & Gas Business Analyst / Subject Matter Expert - Contract

    £600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Power & Gas Business Analyst/Subject Ma...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering