Consumer Rights: On a wing and a prayer with holiday bookings
Sunday 29 June 2008
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?
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.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square