Consumer Rights: On a wing and a prayer with holiday bookings


Q. have just returned from a trip to Budapest. I booked in January but my computer crashed and, not knowing if I'd bought the flights, I booked again. I realised the error three days later and contacted Jet2. But the airline has refused to honour a refund, though it must have been obvious the booking was exactly the same. What are my rights?
JM, Leeds

Q. Earlier this year we booked return tickets to Hong Kong with Oasis Hong Kong Airlines. However, the company went bust before our departure date. We filled in a claims form and sent it to Oasis. We have also spoken to our credit card company, MBNA, which says it is dealing with the matter. Is there anything else we should be doing and do we stand a chance of getting our money back? CW, Norfolk

A. These are not the cheeriest of letters with which to welcome the holiday season, but they do highlight various perils for travellers. Unfortunately for the lady who booked flights to Budapest, you have few automatic rights as it was your error. But lawyer Ingrid Gubbay, at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, believes you do have some options.

She says that as the online payment will now show up on your bank statement, you should send this to the airline and request a refund. If it still refuses to pay, she advises: "Contact the aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, at www.caa.co.uk to report your complaint. It has a consumer protection advisory line.

"Depending on its response, you can then lodge a claim online against jet2 at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. If you have proof of the payment going through twice, the company will have no defence. It is most likely to pay up once it sees you are serious about pursuing the funds."

If you need any extra support, contact Consumer Direct, an advisory service run by the Office of Fair Trading, at www. consumerdirect.gov.uk. Consumer Direct adds that you should speak to your credit card firm to see if it can help out.

The situation with Oasis is trickier, though Ms Gubbay says you did well to contact your card provider as a first port of call as it may accept it is jointly liable for your loss.

Ms Gubbay adds: "The Civil Aviation Authority has an advice note at www.caa.co.uk. The process for passengers caught out by the Oasis insolvency is to visit Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (Atol)at www. atol.org.uk, which takes you through some options.

"First, if your flight is part of a package holiday, your money is protected by law under the Atol scheme. For flight-only tickets with scheduled airlines, the protection is not so straightforward: it depends on where you bought your ticket and when it was issued. If you bought your ticket from Oasis direct, there is no Atol protection."

If this is the case, you should check your travel insurance to see whether it includes payment for failed airlines. Otherwise you are at the mercy of the decision of the credit card provider.

For those yet to book their summer holidays, always check that the airline or package provider is Atol-protected.

Q. We are buying a new house. Everything is ready to go except the mortgage offer, with the lender now saying it wants a £2,500 "retention" for damp found by its valuer. We had previously used an independent surveyor, who found nothing.

I have also read in the small print that the lender may charge a "reassessment fee" for its surveyor to go back, which makes me a bit suspicious of the surveyor's motives. We had already negotiated 10 per cent off the original asking price and only need a 70 per cent mortgage, so we are surprised there is any problem with the valuation. What options do we have? CJ, London

A. I'm sure mortgage firms and surveyors are not in cahoots but it can look suspiciously like that at times. Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at broker Charcol, says: "Reinspection fees are relatively modest, usually in the £55 to £75 range, and so will not generate much profit. And in any case, it probably wouldn't be needed."

A lender will normally make a mortgage offer even if its valuer has recommended a retention, with the retention a condition of the loan. If the valuer suspects damp, it will usually recommend you have a timber and damp report, which can be obtained free from many specialist firms. This is then sent to the valuer, which will either accept there is not a problem or, if there is, reassess the amount of retention required.

As your independent surveyor did not find a problem, ask for their opinion. If the response is that the suspected damp was identified but not considered a problem, get this in writing and pass it to the lender, along with a copy of the independent survey. I would expect the valuer to accept that report as evidence there is not a problem. The lender will then remove the retention.

If you have arranged your mortgage through a broker, that firm should deal with all these issues on your behalf.

Q. I suffer from a debilitating phobia that I had tried unsuccessfully to get treated by the NHS. In desperation I turned to a hypnotherapist, who assured me I would walk out of his session forgetting about my problem. He charged £150 for 90 minutes and the experience had zero effect. The hypnotherapist has declined to do anything further about my situation. What rights do I have? SH, Bromley

A. Alternative medicine is largely unregulated and so you have few options if you believe you have been wrongly treated.

There are, though, trade bodies, and the practitioner you mention is a member of the Hypnotherapy Association. This has a complaints procedure in place, but says it wouldn't cover a treatment simply because it didn't work; the association is more concerned with professional standards.

You may be able to make a complaint on the basis that this man made over-blown claims for his treatments, which goes against the organisation's code of ethics. It is obliged to deal with your queries: www.thehypnotherapy-association.co.uk.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
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
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

    Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

    Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

    £18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

    Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing