Questions Of Cash: Car repair claim has driven me round the bend
Saturday 03 September 2011
Q. In October 2008 I bought a second-hand Chrysler Grand Voyager, paying an extra £1,000 premium for a three-year policy from AA Warranty. I enquired about making a claim and was referred to Motorway Direct. When I phoned I was held for over an hour, at which point I hung up.
The phone message said that an initial enquiry about the validity of a claim can be made online, but I trawled the website and was unable to find anywhere to do this. It seems impossible to get in touch with anyone to discuss a fault that may be covered by the insurance, other than by email.
The reply to my email failed to provide the requested web link to check whether a claim would be valid and instead referred me to Halfords Autocentre. When I spoke to Halfords I was told it would take 19 days for an appointment to obtain a diagnosis. I couldn't wait that long, so I made my own arrangements for a repair at a garage at a cost of £741. The policy states that "you must contact us in the first instance" before arranging for a repair. Yet it seems impossible to do so. PH, by email.
A. The AA apologises for the situation. Its spokesman Ian Crowder says: "It appears the problem was that Halfords Autocentres couldn't book the customer in promptly. The trouble [the reader] had contacting AA Warranty was simply because of a high volume of calls, but I'm told that the contact made through the website was promptly responded to. He was referred to Halfords Autocentres as a first course of action to identify the problem and, indeed, this is the national network that AA Warranty normally refers customer to." The AA says that if you had told AA Warranty about the difficulty you had in booking your car into Halfords, you would have been referred to another garage. The claim has now been settled and you have received a cheque for £741, which includes the cost of replacing brake pads – not normally covered by your policy.
Q. I was interested to read the article "Crafty Online Fees" (The Independent, 13 August), [which reported that the Office of Fair Trading is investigating web-based businesses that charge for information that is publicly available free of charge, possibly breaching consumer protection laws]. I too fell for one of these websites and paid £14.99 for something I could have had for free. However, I was more concerned that I'd given this website important personal and financial information such as bank card details, passport numbers and so on. Will the OFT during the course of its investigation consider this? FB, Sheffield.
A. A spokesman for the OFT says: "The focus of the investigation is on potential breaches of consumer protection law. The Information Commissioner's Office enforces data protection law, but if we became aware of data protection concerns during the course of our investigation, we would liaise with them." Details of the inquiry are available at oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/consumer-enforcement/consumer-enforcement-current/government-services.
Q. My business partner and I purchased an investment property for £250,000 in 2004, of which we put down £50,000 in cash and borrowed £200,000 from Lloyds Bank. Soon after, we purchased the adjoining investment property for another £250,000, again putting down £50,000 ourselves and borrowing another £200,000 from Lloyds.
Initially I managed the properties, before instructing a professional property management company to undertake the role. As we purchased additional investment properties, we gave this company further properties to manage. In 2008, I requested a further loan from Lloyds for additional properties and was surprised to find that our account was in arrears. Lloyds had not advised me of this, or sent me a statement on my commercial accounts for some time. I contacted the property management company, which told me there had been a delay in receiving some payments because of a change in tenancy arrangements, but that the arrears would soon be cleared when a backlog of rent was paid.
This never happened and the property management company closed soon after. The arrears then built-up further and Lloyds' relationship manager asked us for a face-to-face meeting. We were told our loan accounts would be moved over to recovery – this meant that the bank would sell the properties to recover the loans.
We explained the reasons for the arrears and agreed with the relationship manager that we would take a series of steps to improve rental income, including a programme of refurbishment, and would pay the bank £3,000 a month from our resources, in return for Lloyds holding back on recovery action. We acted on this basis, until in April 2009 a tenant told us he had been instructed to make future rental payments to a receiver, not to us. Lloyds has lost £8,600 of payments that we paid into our account and now denies that our meeting with the relationship manager ever took place. DC, Huddersfield.
A. There is a long standing disagreement between yourself and your business partner on the one side and Lloyds on the other. Lloyds does not accept your version of events, in particular about an agreement having been entered into on how to wind-down the debt. The Financial Ombudsman has reviewed the matter and failed to uphold your complaint. There is little we can do when matters have got as far as this. The matter is further complicated by the fact that the receivers are legally bound to act independently of Lloyds or any other creditor and that the Crown Prosecution Service is involved. We understand, however, that the value of the asset sales will exceed your debt to Lloyds. A spokesman for Lloyds says: "We have done everything possible to support this customer."
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.
Mark Dampier: 'We're on our own in retirement. They've pulled pensions to pieces'
Questions of Cash: I don't use Amazon Prime, but my credit card bill says I do
Donald MacInnes: 'I have to have £500 a month spare from now until at least 2035'
Crippling PFI deals leave Britain £222bn in debt
Pension freedoms: How to deal with cold calls from scammers
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...
Day In a Page
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
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