Questions Of Cash: Customer wasn't told AA driving lesson vouchers had an expiry date

 

 

Q. In April last year I purchased £150 of driving lesson vouchers from the AA website as a present for my partner. It was only last month that my partner could proceed with lessons. When he phoned to book he was told the vouchers expired on 31 March 2011. The expiry date was printed at the foot of the voucher, but I did not examine the vouchers, nor did my partner. I accept there is an expiry date, but I was not told this when I bought the vouchers and it is not referred to in the terms and conditions at the point of sale, or in the letter that came with the vouchers. Had I been aware of the expiry date I would not have purchased the vouchers: I knew my partner might not be able to use them immediately. I emailed the AA, but it will not honour the vouchers, or issue a refund – which is my preferred outcome. VO, by email.

A. The AA has agreed to fully refund the cost of the vouchers. A spokeswoman explains: "Like many vouchers, all AA Driving School lesson vouchers are printed with an expiry date beyond which they cannot be redeemed. However, we are sorry the expiry date was not explained to [the reader] during the sales process and that her partner has missed out on their AA driving lessons."

Q. My family booked a seven-day activity holiday in the French Alps for July through the agents Alpine Elements. The bedroom was of poor standard and much too small. We booked in February – before other visitors, who were given superior rooms. All the bedrooms have access to a bath or shower, yet we were charged extra for "full en suite". The agents did not give us accurate information about the accommodation.

When I complained, I did not get an answer to my points from Alpine Elements for over a month, despite an initial email promising a full investigation and response within 28 days. The eventual letter did not address all my points and offered £21 to compensate us for having paid extra for a balcony that turned out to be just big enough for only two of us to sit on it. Building work was taking place opposite our hotel: we had been warned of this, but had been told that the main work was completed and that only some carpentry was continuing.

But drilling and power tools were taking place full scale, from 7.30 in the morning. The noise and scale of the building work made the balcony useless. We had paid for bed, breakfast and evening meal, but when we got there we were told that Wednesdays were the chef's night off and that we would have to obtain our own meal: which is not cheap in that area. The compensation does not provide any compensation for the accommodation being over-priced, or for the additional costs we had to meet. LR, Bristol.

A. You provided us with a very detailed criticism of Alpine Elements and your holiday. Alpine Elements also provided a detailed response. It argues that its reply to you was comprehensive and that other holidaymakers going to that hotel – the Hotel Christiania – seemed happy with it. A spokeswoman says: "Very few complaints have been received this summer regarding this hotel. In fact most comments have been complimentary. The rating for this hotel on Trip Advisor is fourth out of 22 hotels in the region, with an overall score of four out of five." With regard to the building works nearby, the site had been in this state for a number of years.

However, this year the owners began work on the building. As the main activity for this region is skiing, it is not entirely unreasonable to expect that any work being undertaken has to be carried out during the summer months." Alpine Elements insists that although the building work "may not have been aesthetically pleasing, there was only light carpentry work being undertaken at the time." As soon as Alpine Elements' local staff became aware of the building work, they arranged with the mayor to have the work discontinued. The company has now offered to pay you £120 as additional compensation, which you have accepted – although you continue to dispute the suggestion that only light carpentry work was taking place while you were there.

Q. My husband and I joined a health club several years ago, which has since been taken over by David Lloyd Leisure. Recently we wanted to leave the club and were told that three months' notice was required, which we submitted on 6 September. We were then told that the notice had to be submitted on the first of the month and therefore we would not be able to leave until 1 January 2012. We did not originally take out a contract with David Lloyd. The monthly combined membership fee has been increased to over £140. Can the club keep changing the rules like this? JB, High Wycombe.

A. David Lloyd Leisure is not for persuading. A spokeswoman for the company says that all members were notified in September 2008 of a rule change that included introducing a three-month cancellation period, as from January 2009. The company points out that this rule change was in place before David Lloyd Leisure took over the company. She adds: "Our terms and conditions clearly state that notice periods begin from the first of the month after we have received a member's notice in writing.

In this instance, [the reader] gave notice of cancellation on 6 September 2011, meaning that her three-month notice period would be effective from 1 October 2011 – ending 1 January 2012 ... We also clearly state that we reserve the right to increase membership rates, and in such instances we give three months' notice to those members on standard contracts. It is important that we abide by our terms and conditions to be fair to and consistent with all of our members."

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.

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

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
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

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

    Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

    Day In a Page

    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
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?