Questions Of Cash

We've been left in the lurch by Wanadoo
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Q. We placed an order to connect to Wanadoo's "Wireless and Talk" broadband service two months ago and were assured the order had been accepted. We waited through the quoted 10-day period, but the service was not connected. We were then told to place a fresh order.

This is irritating as we are students living in rented accommodation for a fixed period, which means we lose money by taking on the minimum one-year contract. However, as other providers made the same requirements, we reordered.

We were assured the order was accepted, but again the connection was not made. As a result we are still waiting for broadband.
SL, KS and KG, Sheffield.

A. Wanadoo apologises for its systems errors. Your broadband service has now been connected. Wanadoo is waiving its rental charge for three months as compensation for its poor service.

Q.I recently transferred my Wanadoo broadband to my new address. I telephoned on 7 April, when my line had been transferred, and was told it could take 20 days for the broadband service transfer. I expressed my discontent as my £17.99 monthly fee continued although I could not use the service.

On 28 April I received an e-mail confirming the transfer had occurred. However, I later found that I had been charged a £25 moving-house fee.
MC, by e-mail.

A. Wanadoo defends its actions, pointing out that its terms and conditions warn that a transfer takes 20 days and that a one-off fee of £25 is chargeable. However, it is waiving this £25 charge to you on a goodwill basis.

Q. My husband has a small pension fund worth approximately £11,000 ­ his only pension savings apart from the state pension ­ originally taken out with Royal & Sun Alliance, whose funds are now administered by Phoenix.

After the new laws came into effect on 6 April my husband, who is now 61, telephoned Phoenix to ask if he could have the monies accrued under the pension. It said it would send the forms to him to return so the fund could be released, with this taking up to 10 working days.

Despite repeated requests, more than a month later we have still not had these forms and my husband is losing the opportunity to reinvest this money.
AS, Stanmore.

A. Following our intervention, Phoenix has sent the forms and processed your husband's payment as a matter of urgency.

Q. I was widowed 16 years ago. Both my husband and I were in full-time work throughout our careers, my husband being self-employed. I am now approaching retirement and wondered why I had never been paid a widow's pension and whether this will be paid alongside my state pension when I reach 60. All the agencies I have contacted say they don't know.
PW, London.

A. Carl Melvin, a financial planner with Millbrae Financial Services, suggests you engage a fee-charging independent financial adviser to assist. He adds: "As your husband was self-employed he would not have had an employer's pension scheme ­ but may have had one if he was employed before he became self-employed.

"As far as state pension entitlement is concerned, you should first obtain a state pension forecast using form BR19, which can be obtained through the website of the Department of Work and Pensions (see the link at /lifeevent/penret/). This will outline your entitlement to state pension and any inherited graduated or Serps pension, if applicable.

"You may also be able to inherit your late husband's prospective state pension via state scheme substitution ­ you will need to speak with the state pension team to clarify this (call 0845 6060 265). Your position can be clarified by the financial adviser."

Q. I opened Foreign & Colonial mini-ISAs for the tax years 2004/5, 2005/6 and 2006/7. Subsequently, I asked it to cancel the 2006/7 ISA and return the share sale proceeds, requesting the cancellation within the 14-day period. But while I stated clearly my instruction to cancel only the 2006/7 ISA, F&C cancelled and sold my holdings across all three years.

It has ignored my various written and verbal requests to put right the error. Eventually in April I wrote again, enclosing a cheque for £8,500 to reinstate the wrongly cancelled ISAs, but the letter has been ignored and the cheque has not been cashed.
RC, by e-mail.

Q. F&C apologises for its errors. It has now initiated the correct action to reinstate the accounts. In addition, F&C has listened to the records of the calls you made to its call centre staff and further action has been taken to instruct the staff on how to deal with this type of problem more efficiently in the future.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS;

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