Questions Of Cash: Costly mix-up over car loan and insurance
Saturday 10 July 2010
Q. I took out private car insurance with Sureterm Direct in April for a car that we had looked at on the internet, arranging insurance to drive it home. When we went to collect the vehicle it was not as described, so we declined to buy it. Sureterm had also arranged finance with Close Premium Finance. We cancelled the insurance and purchased another vehicle two weeks later. Sureterm again arranged the insurance and advised that a new direct debit would be arranged. Close Premium Finance attempted to apply the direct debit on 16 May, but the direct debit had been cancelled along with the insurance – we presume by the broker, as we had not done this. I received a letter from Close on 19 May, stating that no payment had been received. It said that unless a payment was made by 3 June it would take further action.
Close imposed a charge of £40 for administration. I made a payment of £70.88 within the specified time, but I received a letter dated 17 June claiming the payment had not been received and giving me notice of termination and threatening that my insurance may also be cancelled. I phoned Close, which said I must contact the broker to resolve the matter.
Close accepted that the payment they had requested for £70.88 had been received, but then said the administration fee was imposed because the initial agreement had been terminated. Sureterm were very helpful and said that Close had imposed the charge because the payment had not been made on time. Sureterm also said that a new direct debit mandate would have to be sent out for me to complete, but I have not received this. I have also been charged a cancellation fee by Sureterm of £50, even though I took another policy out with them. DE, Liverpool.
A. Sureterm Direct – a division of Capita – says that the initial insurance policy was never cancelled, but was actually kept in place and the vehicle details changed to those of the car you eventually purchased. The £50 charge was the fee for the change of vehicle details. This was cheaper than cancelling the policy and taking out a new one. Sureterm says that it did not cancel the direct debit and that Close told it that it also did not cancel the arrangement. Both had assumed that the direct debit was cancelled by the bank on your instruction. Your payment of £70.88 was received by Close on 4 June – the day after the deadline it had specified. Sureterm has now reinstated the direct debit, so that future payments can be collected. As a result, there is no need for you to complete another direct debit authorisation. As a gesture of goodwill, Close will refund you its £40 charge. Close declined to discuss your case directly with us, citing client confidentiality – even though we were explicitly acting on your behalf.
Q. My flight from Belfast to Birmingham in April was cancelled by Flybe because of volcanic ash. I chose to return home by other means and requested a refund for the return flight. I was told it could take 28 days to process the refund. But I have not had the refund. FM, Birmingham.
A. Soon after you contacted us Flybe repaid you £47.23. However, you had paid £146.96 for the return journey and wanted to know why you had not received much less than half the cost of the return flight. Flybe explains that the two legs of the journey had been priced differently and the £47.23 represents the amount you paid for the Belfast to Birmingham flight, including taxes.
Q. I booked a flight with Virgin Atlantic to fly on 26 March. Unfortunately, due to ill health I had to cancel it, and informed Virgin Atlantic immediately. It promptly refunded the tax, but I need to make a claim for the refund of the flight costs to my insurer, which requires cancellation invoices. I received the necessary cancellation invoice from my tour company in Jodphur by post in nine days, but I am still waiting on this from Virgin, despite many emails and two letters: phoning is pointless as no one can help. Eventually, three weeks ago, I received an email asking for proof of identity and flight details. I sent this immediately by post and a week or so later emailed a copy. But still I have not had a reply. I have received payment from my insurer for the tour, but it will not pay the £600 or so for the flights without the invoice. JW, Leicestershire.
A. Virgin Atlantic apologises, explaining that the volume of refund requests caused by the volcanic ash disruptions has created an administrative backlog. It has taken on more staff to handle these inquiries and has now sent you the invoice paperwork to enable you to submit the balance of your insurance claim.
Q. I read your recent warning (Questions of Cash, 12 June) about fraudulent payments that banks are rejecting responsibility for. My wife and I are concerned at two unexplained debits on my wife's account with Barclaycard. The charges are quite trivial, but we worry that this may lead to future more significant unauthorised transactions. The first transaction was on 21 February, with Waitrose in Chichester for £8.63. My wife was not in Chichester on that date and has never been to that shop. The second was charged against my supplementary card on the same account on 14 April for £14.95, with a payment to Rewardsfirst. I have never had any dealings with Rewardsfirst. I have written five letters to Barclaycard at their head office. One letter of reply refers to an account with a completely different number that is nothing to do with us. CB, Hampshire.
A. Barclaycard has now made a full refund. It has also provided you and your wife with some personal fraud advice and provided a direct line number in case of further fraudulent activity on the account.
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
Budget 2015: George Osborne is set to get tough with further cuts in public spending
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
Simon Read: 'Taylor Swift tickets purchased on Viagogo were cancelled hours before the concert'
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...
Day In a Page
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
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.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
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 six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.