Questions of Cash: Budget failed to repay my premium for off-the-road car

 

Q. I insured my son's car with Budget Insurance in April 2012. The policy was in his name, but I paid the premiums. On 25 April I received policy renewal documents from Budget. I rang Budget to inform them that I did not wish to renew the policy as the car was off the road and about to be sold. The call centre operative asked me when the car had been taken off the road and if there was a SORN [Statutory Off Road Notification]. I said there was.

The operative then suggested it may be possible to get a premium refund dating back to the commencement of the SORN. He checked and confirmed that premiums would be refunded if I supplied a copy of the SORN. Budget would also waive the policy cancellation fee and any premiums shown as due from the renewal date of 20 April. On 27 April I received a letter from Budget saying that it had attempted to collect a payment of £3146.34 for the renewal premium from my bank account, but my bank had declined the request. I wrote the same day to Budget, with a copy of the SORN and confirming my conversation over the phone. On 5 May I returned, as requested by Budget, the certificate of insurance.

As I didn't hear anything more from the company I phoned Budget's customer services on 26 May. The operative I spoke to this time said she could not help me and I needed to speak with a manager – but none was available. I was promised that someone would ring me on 28 May and, at my request, I was given the name of that person. No one phoned on 28 May, nor on 29, 30 or 31 May – but each day I phoned asking to speak to that manager. On every occasion I was told that he was not available, but would phone me the next day. I paid Budget £2,587.97 on 26 April 2011 and by my calculation, the insurance company now owes me a premium refund of £1,637.86. PY, Hertfordshire.

A. Budget apologises for the confusion and for the wrong information you were given. A spokeswoman said: "We have identified that our advisor incorrectly told [the reader] that we would be able to backdate the cancellation of his son's policy to the date of the SORN declaration. Whilst the vehicle was declared as 'off the road' the insurer would have still been liable for any claim for theft or fire damage to the vehicle. It was not possible to backdate the cancellation of the previous policy, as the full annual cover had been provided. We have been in contact with [the reader] and are pleased that this issue has now been resolved to his satisfaction. We accept that the standard of service given and the communication provided, on this occasion, fell below our expected levels of customer service. By way of apology, we have refunded [the reader's] premium from the time the vehicle was registered as SORN and, in addition, offered a further £100 compensation." Consequently you will receive a payment from Budget of £1,737.86.

Q. Early this year I booked Flybe flights from Exeter to Dublin for my wife and myself to fly on 30 August. After purchasing the flights I booked a 10-day walking holiday, including accommodation and transfers, starting from Dublin early on 31 August. Flybe has now sent me an email stating – without either reason or apology – that the flight has been cancelled. I have been offered a refund or alternative flights one day later or two days earlier. Our only realistic option is to fly earlier and book two extra days' accommodation in Dublin. Flybe has rejected my request for compensation towards my extra costs of around £200. This seems very hard. Is the airline allowed to do this? NB, Somerset.

A. Flybe directed us to its website, which specifies that where a flight is cancelled more than 14 days in advance, a passenger is entitled to a refund of the ticket price, or the use of an alternative flight to the destination as soon as possible afterwards. Alternatively they can choose an alternative flight to their final destination at a later date which suits them. The airline adds that it is not required to provide any financial compensation to passengers affected provided they have been given more than 14 days' notice. We have compared this to current European Union legislation and it seems to us that Flybe's rules are entirely compliant with its legal obligations.

Q. I have purchased a franchise. The franchisor promised to provide in-depth support for me in setting up my business. I haven't signed the franchise agreement yet, but I have paid out more than £10,000. After I paid the money over, all the promised support dried up. The training was completely disorganised and of absolutely no value. I was given a personal computer as part of the deal, but instead of being the promised new model it was old and had been used before. I understood from the prospectus that the franchisor was a member of the British Franchise Association – but it is not. Promised stationery has not arrived. The website is of very poor quality. I have spoken now to other franchisees, who are earning less than a third of the income they were told they could expect. The franchisor rejects my complaints. What can I do? It would cost me a fortune to go to a solicitor. AN, by email.

A. Upon discussing the problems with you, it emerged that you have signed an agreement not to talk to anyone regarding your franchise contract. We are not in a position to determine if this is legally enforceable. In these circumstances, we suggest that you pursue a legal route. At present, the threshold for legal action in the Small Claims Court is just £5,000, so that is not appropriate for you. You could seek free legal advice from Citizens' Advice. There is also a law centre – which specialises in providing legal support to people who cannot afford to use a solicitor – near to where you live.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

    £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

    Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

    £50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

    SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

    £450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

    Project Manager - Pensions

    £32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone