Questions Of Cash: Barclays gets plenty of currency from Connect card
Saturday 04 July 2009
Q. I recently purchased foreign currency at a Post Office branch, using a Barclays Connect card. I bought €220 across the counter at my local Post Office, which cost me £203.44. When I received my bank statement, the amount debited was £207.50. Barclays told me that the additional amount was a 2 per cent commission charge for foreign currency purchase. It seems that I should have withdrawn cash from my Barclays account in the Post Office using my Connect card – for which no commission is charged – and then hand the cash back across the counter to purchase my foreign currency. CP, by email.
A. Barclays explains that a condition for using Barclays Connect cards stipulates that there is a 2 per cent charge – a minimum of £1.50 and maximum of £4.50 – to obtain sterling anywhere in the UK other than at a cash machine or Barclays branch, or to obtain currency or travellers’ cheques other than from Barclays. So there is a financial incentive to use your card to obtain the currency direct from Barclays. The bank says it offers a commission free foreign currency service, including free home delivery. But, as a gesture of goodwill, Barclays will refund the fee on this occasion.
Q. Vodafone alleges that I owe £691. It has twice acknowledged that this amount should be removed from my account, yet keeps sending demands for it. It is also threatening to damage my credit rating. I told Vodafone in February that I wanted to change phone providers and, instead, it generated an order for a new phone. I explained that I had not ordered this, but in March it sent me a bill for £691.43 for cancelling the order for the new phone that I had never actually ordered. DO, by email.
A. Vodafone accepts it generated the order for the new phone by mistake and that the bill was automatically produced because of that earlier error. This was made worse by the fact that its systems then automatically referred the ‘debt’ to a debt collecting agency. It has now cancelled the charge, told the debt collecting agency that the bill was wrongly produced and has assured us that there is no adverse entry on your credit file. It also apologises.
Q. My son left home for the United States at the age of 18, 22 years ago. He still lives there: now with a wife and two children. He has |always had a credit card on my Barclaycard Visa account: if I want to buy anything for him and his family, he uses this card. It has been used only sparingly and without difficulty. But on the last two occasions he tried to use the card, the payment has not been accepted. Not only this, Barclaycard blocked my son’s card and mine and my wife’s. Barclaycard says this is for security reasons, my son’s payment being considered unusual, and therefore suspicious, as it has taken place in America. Barclaycard tells me it is not possible for his card to be recorded as being used only in the United States, which seems remarkable. JT, Preston.
A. Barclaycard confirms that its IT system is not ‘smart’ enough to flag individual cards on an account to indicate those cards are used differently from the rest of the account. Barclaycard offered to flag the account as a whole as being one which is occasionally used in the United States. However, Barclaycard says that even after doing this it might still periodically block the use of the card in the US where spending appears unusual, though this “should” happen less often. You have reached a more satisfactory solution. Your son now has a Barclaycard on a different account, which is also billed to you.
Q. I received a mobile broadband dongle from Orange last September and, as a result of an error caused by Orange, I have been charged each month for two dongles. It has taken six months and many phone calls to Orange to get the additional dongle cancelled, but I am still |waiting for the refund. HR, by email.
A. Orange has now promised to make you a full refund.
Q. I have been contacted by Westcot debt collection agency, which is trying to collect a debt on behalf of Virgin Media. But I have never had an account with Virgin Media. Westcot is trying to collect the debt of someone else with a similar name. I have been promised by Virgin Media that it will sort this out, but I don’t have any confidence that it will be. WB, by email.
A. Virgin Media promptly contacted Westcot after we passed on your complaint and we have an assurance that you will not be pursued further. Westcot has written to you directly to apologise.
Q. In August 2008, I decided to upgrade my Tiscali Broadband 8Mb package to “Broadband plus Talk”. This added a landline phone service to the existing internet service. Before the phone service was transferred to Tiscali I realised that its call diversion facility could only transfer to UK numbers. As it was essential for me to transfer calls to France, I cancelled the upgrade and told BT that I had reverted to its service. The transfer to Tiscali did not take place. But in January, Tiscali started billing me for £17.61 per month, having previously billed me for £14.99. When I phoned Tiscali, it told me that the service I had been on was no longer available. However, it was still advertising the same service for the lower amount. I have received apologies from Tiscali, but it has not got the problem right. KB, Bradford.
A. Tiscali has now |refunded the overcharge of £20.40 and has apologised for the error. It also says sorry for the several months and the |significant amount of |correspondence from you and ourselves that it took them to finally resolve the problem.
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
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
Bargain Hunter: From The Outsider to 1984, catch a cut-price classic, read it in the rye
Donald MacInnes: My wasted hours in the retail deserts of Dixons-Carphone
Money Insider: Smart alternatives to the pensioner bond
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 SAG Awards: Fake applause track interrupts Reese Witherspoon
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
Day In a Page
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 deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
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
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
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