Questions of Cash: Charged interest for MBNA's mistake over extra payment

 

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Q. I attempted to clear my balance of £5,810.72 on an MBNA credit card in October. I paid £5,400 on 9 October and left the balance to be collected by direct debit, which is processed in the last week of the month. At that time, I confirmed the balance on the account was £410.72 and thought all was well.

Instead, MBNA submitted a direct debit request for £5,810.72. I didn't have this much in my current account, so the request was rejected. At that time I checked my MBNA statement online, which showed a balance of £5,400 in credit, suggesting that MBNA owed me money. I phoned MBNA and was told that "this is how things work" and "if you make another payment you have to tell us". Surely MBNA should have known the payment had been made.

After this I found that the balance on the account was showing as £410.72, but that no payment was being requested – the screen stated "no payment due". I phoned again and the person at the contact centre was also confused. Eventually I was told that if I made a further payment of £410.72 I would be charged interest only on the few days after the due date. But this would mean paying interest that was only chargeable because of a mistake by MBNA. I then found that I had been charged £12 for late payment.

To make matters even worse, MBNA has now paid me £5,400 to repay the overpayment that was never actually collected! My balance is now £5,412 so I foresee an argument when I get charged interest on this as well. IH, Cheshire.

A. MBNA tells us this is now fully resolved. A spokeswoman says: "MBNA would like to apologise for any inconvenience that may have been caused by our actions. The error has been rectified and we are, of course, happy to refund any charges or interest that the customer may have incurred."

Forgotten pension found by Aviva

Q. My sister moved to Australia in 1987. While she was working in London, from 1973 to 1980, she had a workplace pension with Provident Mutual. But Provident Mutual does not exist any more. While the pension may be quite small, she would like to access it, but does not know how. Can you help us? JP, by email.

A. Aviva is the successor body that took over the former Provident Mutual business. As we were unable to obtain the specific approval of your sister to investigate the matter on her behalf, Aviva was not in a position to discuss the matter with us. But we understand that as a result of our initial inquiries Aviva traced the old policy through its Lost Policy Trace Team. This established that there was around £4,000 in her pension. Your sister has decided to cash this in.

Refund available on mystery box

Q. I put in an order in August for a garden storage box from Pet Hut UK, paying £89.99. The item never arrived and the company blamed the courier. I have sent Pet Hut UK several emails, which have been automatically acknowledged, but I have not had replies. I have repeatedly phoned, asking to speak to someone who can authorise the refund, but have been fobbed off and promised that someone would phone back, but this never happens. I paid using a Visa card, but the amount is below that which I can claim back from Visa. MS, Worcester.

A. We also emailed Pet Hut UK and, like yourself, had no response. However, you are incorrect about the chargeback system with Visa. While there is a £100 limit under your statutory protection via the Consumer Credit Act, Visa also provides a chargeback system on both its credit and debit cards for disputed transactions, irrespective of the value of the transaction. When we informed you of this you contacted your card issuer, MBNA, which immediately agreed to make a refund and make a chargeback to the vendor.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we'll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

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