Questions Of Cash: 'Airline lost my luggage and ruined my World Cup trip'


Q. I travelled to South Africa for the World Cup, but my baggage never arrived in Johannesburg. I had to travel around South Africa for three-and-a-half weeks without any clothes, sleeping bag and other essentials. I never received any advice or offer of assistance. Every time I called, I was just told the bag had not been located. The value of items in it was in excess of £2,000. I had to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone in South Africa for £15 and a further £15 in airtime vouchers to keep chasing the whereabouts of my bag. I also spent £300 on my credit card for replacement clothing and toiletries. I logged a lost-baggage claim with KLM, as I had booked through its website. KLM says that as part of my journey was with its alliance partner Kenya Airways, the claim should be made through Kenya Airways and it is not KLM's liability. I booked through KLM, paid KLM and it was KLM who checked my bag in, so I consider my contract to be with KLM. KLM insists responsibility lies with Kenya Airways. My insurance policy states that any lost baggage must be settled by the airline. PS, Wigan.

A. When you initially contacted us, the World Cup had just taken place. KLM insisted the matter had to be settled by Kenya Airways. "An agreement between all airlines states that the last carrier takes responsibility for the tracing of any missing baggage and settles the claim with the passenger," KLM said. However, communications with Kenya Airways have been sporadic and the airline has been slow to respond. Kenya Airways has now partially settled your claim – paying £1,070. This is more than the £800 compensation limit often specified by airlines under the Montreal Convention. You are now seeking the recovery of the balance of the value of your luggage from your travel insurer. Kenya Airways has not responded to our repeated requests for an explanation of the delays in settling your claim.

Q. Several financial services companies write to me as if I live in Scotland. I live in Northumberland, England, but have a postcode for Berwickshire, in Scotland. One day, the Scottish Government will change its tax regime and I'll be stuck trying to explain where I live. Does the Scottish Government use the same erroneous software as the financial services companies? DS, Northumberland.

A. A spokesman for the Scottish Government insists its systems will not make the same mistakes. "Only Scottish taxpayers whose main home is in Scotland are required to pay local taxation in Scotland," he said. He added: "I cannot comment on systems used by financial service firms, but systems used to facilitate collection of local taxation will be reliable."

Q. In 2007, I upgraded a Tiscali dial-up Anytime package to the Tiscali broadband service. I am currently transferring to BT. In the process of doing this, I realised I had been paying for both dial-up and broadband for three and a half years. The overcharge adds up to more than £700. NM, Liverpool.

A. You assumed that when you upgraded your service, the old payment instruction would automatically be rescinded. This did not happen. TalkTalk – which has taken over the Tiscali service – apologises for the problems you have had and has provided you with a full refund.

Q. We switched to TalkTalk's telephone and broadband service on 22 September. We could not connect to the broadband service for a week, as TalkTalk did not send us the router until 29 September, after I had chased it up. I emailed and wrote to TalkTalk to say that given its mishandling of our connection, I did not expect to pay the connection fee. All I have received is a phone message referring to my correspondence, saying it would not refund the connection fee and for me to ring customer services. This response is totally inadequate and there is no point in me ringing them again. DM, West Sussex.

A. TalkTalk apologises for your difficulties and has refunded the connection fee and applied a £20 goodwill credit to your account.

Q. Towards the end of October, AOL barred my internet service, without telling me, because direct debits in September and October had not been paid. My bank, RBS, tells me that although AOL set up a direct debit, no attempt had been made by AOL to take any payments from my account. I am getting nowhere contacting the AOL helpline and I have had no response to a letter of complaint sent by recorded delivery. NH, Chesterfield.

A. You tell us that AOL has contacted you to explain that the direct debit instruction was not in place on the date that the payment was due to be made. This is why the payment was not processed. AOL told us it apologises to you and that it regards the matter as now resolved.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: questionsofcash@ independent.co.uk.

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