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 conditions....insurance secrets could cost you dear
Sunday 27 February 2011
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?
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 aerlingus.com, 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?
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.
Switching your current account? Pick one that reflects the way you run your finances
Profiteering? British Gas customers hit again as energy giant fails to pass on profits hike
The most expensive cities in the world 2015
Payday lender Cash Genie forced to repay £20m to ripped-off customers
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
- 1 Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May officially heading to Amazon Prime for new car show
- 2 Stuart Baggs: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 3 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 4 Tesco scraps 'unexpected item in the bagging area' as self-checkouts switch to less 'frustrating' audio
- 5 Living in Spain and commuting to London 'cheaper than actually working in London'
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Government is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: For desperate migrants it is 'England or death' as they brave dogs, riot police and speeding trains
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company prides itself on its ability to p...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company prides itself on its ability to p...
£800 per day: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, global financial services co...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...
Day In a Page
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
With five bedrooms, this spacious home offers beautiful gardens and modern interiors - set within the popular market town of Bingley.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This first-floor flat comes with two bedrooms, an impressive open-plan reception room and two lovely roof terraces.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Moored at Taggs Island and reached via a pretty garden, this two-bedroom houseboat has a vaulted reception room and skylit garden studio - currently a beauty salon.
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
A contemporary house spread over three storeys, this three-bedroom detached home has large sliding doors that open out to the River Quaggy.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
This former village bakery, dating back to the 17th century, is now a three-bedroom detached home just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
On the picturesque Isle of Man, this four-bedroom character home has a ground-floor shop that's currently run as a newsagents and a flat that would make an ideal holiday let.
In a new collection of flats, this first-floor two-bedroom apartment offers ample entertaining space and a prime view of Furze Green from a private balcony.
This three-bedroom stone-built cottage currently trades as the village store with a restaurant in the annexe and family accommodation on the upper floors.
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.