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.
- 1 JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 Georgia Army veteran arrested for breaking window to save dog has charges dropped
- 4 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
- 5 Melissa McCarthy's brilliant response to one sexist question posed to her on the red carpet by a male reporter
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Labour leadership: Battle lines are drawn as members battle over party's ideology at first hustings of the contest
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
Day In a Page
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
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