Questions Of Cash: Bank's double refund was cause of confusion
Saturday 14 January 2012
Q. Our daughter visited India last year to stay with the family of a friend. She enquired about travel insurance through several providers, including our bank, HSBC. Two days before she was to leave the UK we received the travel insurance details from HSBC and paid the premium. When we told our daughter, she explained that she had refused the quote from our bank and accepted a better alternative. We told HSBC that we felt misled, as it knew our daughter had not accepted its offer. HSBC refused to refund the premium until our daughter cancelled the insurance, which she did and the premium was refunded.
In September we received a letter from the bank's debt collection department claiming an amount the same as the cancelled insurance premium. We replied, suggesting a possible mistake. Several weeks later we received another letter from our bank giving us seven days from the date of the letter to pay the outstanding debt, otherwise the debt would be handed over to a debt collection agency. We actually received the letter nine days after its date.
Our daughter visited an HSBC branch with all the correspondence and it was agreed there had been a mistake. A week later we received a demand from a debt collection agency acting for the bank. Our daughter went back to the branch and we now have a letter from our bank which states that there is no longer an outstanding debt. But we have lost confidence in HSBC and have not received an apology. AB, by email.
A. The policy was processed by the insurer, Aviva, after you made the payment to HSBC. When it was recognised that your daughter did not want the policy, a refund was processed in November 2010. However, in error this refund was paid twice. Consequently, HSBC was correct in asking for £47.26 – equivalent to the premium – to be refunded. But neither Aviva nor HSBC explained to you why you were being asked to make this payment, nor did the branch staff who spoke to your daughter apparently understand the reason for the demand.
When the problem was recognised by Aviva, the sum was written off – although again you were not notified. HSBC suggests that you may wish to donate the £47.26 to a charity of your choice. It has also sent you a case of wine as an apology. It also apologises for a further mix-up which caused your daughter to be referred to by the wrong surname in a subsequent letter, but confirms that there has been no confusion of records between different customers. HSBC also confirms that there are no negative entries on your credit file, nor those of your daughter.
Q. On 7 November, I rang F&C Investments to sell my All-Share Tracker fund totalling £48,390, to put this into a fixed-rate bond to provide more short-term security. F&C's adviser informed me I would receive a form to sign and return before my money could be released. She explained that the form would take four days to arrive. Almost two weeks later the form arrived, which I signed and returned.
On 30 November, I rang again to ask what had happened to my cheque. I was advised that it had been processed on 24 November and that I should wait until Friday when, if it still had not arrived, the cheque would be replaced. On the Friday I rang back to instruct them to process another cheque as I still had not received it. The original cheque arrived a day later, but was now void. I finally received the replacement cheque on 9 December, which cleared on 15 December – 38 days after selling my fund. I have lost more than a month's interest. AD, Rochdale.
A. F&C has conducted an investigation into the delays. This has established an error by what F&C refers to as a "third party administrator", who failed to adopt the proper procedure to release the payment by failing to issue an initial Form of Renunciation. A client must sign this before payment can be released following the sale of a holding. A second Form of Renunciation was issued a week later, which was the one you signed and returned.
A cheque was issued by first class post within five working days, but was only received by you another nine days later – by which time you had requested a stop be placed on it and the cheque replaced. The replacement cheque was dispatched on 6 December. F&C accepts that its administration agents were responsible for a delay of a week and has therefore apologised and provided a payment of a week's interest to cover this element of your loss.
Q. We have a dispute with Npower about energy supplied between October 2010 and October 2011. I contacted Npower last February asking why we had not been billed. We then received a bill for £304.09 which we paid in full. We also paid the May bill for £89.87. We questioned the estimated bill of £183.06 for September and asked Npower for an accurate reading as we were moving out in October. We took a reading, notified Npower and made a series of calls to try to get a final bill agreed. At the end of October our amended bill arrived for £700.78. We are willing to pay half this bill, but we believe that Npower is unreasonable to ask us to pay more as it has handled our account very badly. TB, by email.
A. Before you raised this with us, Npower offered to write off £100 of the outstanding bill. After we contacted the firm this was raised to £150. It refused to write-off the £350 you requested and we were going to suggest that you refer the matter to the Energy Ombudsman. However, after a further review of your account Npower has now agreed to reduce the amount you owe by £350. The outstanding balance has been recalculated as £782.21, leaving you £432.21 to pay if you accept the revised offer. We suggest that you do so to resolve the matter.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 1 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 2 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 Germanwings crash: 'Andreas Lubitz planned to marry pregnant girlfriend', claims German report
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: Transcript reveals passengers 'screamed for over five minutes' before plane crashed into mountain
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
iJobs Money & Business
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Day In a Page
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
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.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
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.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
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
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station