Questions Of Cash: 'Debt collector won't explain mystery debt'
Saturday 30 October 2010
Q. I have been contacted by a debt collecting agency, Fredrickson International, regarding a debt I'm totally unaware of. When I contacted Fredrickson, I was told it was a debt I allegedly owed Bulldog Broadband in 2006, and I could settle this for £131.76. I responded by requesting details of this debt, but the only replies I have had have been further demands without any explanation of the debt – which has now risen, with collecting charges, to £263.51. NJ, by email.
A. You took out a short-term broadband line rental contract with Bulldog when you lived in rented accommodation for a short time after you split up with your former partner. Bulldog instructed you to cancel this account in order for it to open a new account at your next address. But it seems that Bulldog – which became part of Pipex, which, in turn, became part of TalkTalk – generated an internal contract cancellation fee, of which you were unaware. Eventually this unpaid account was put out to collection. After our intervention you received a letter from Fredrickson advising you that the debt had been cancelled by its clients and no further collection action would be taken.
Q. I opened a two-year fixed rate bond for £77,000, paying 3.5 per cent gross, with Nationwide in April this year. I had to close this in June. I understood there would be a penalty, but I was surprised that this was £750.17. So I received less than I paid in – just £76,249.83 of my original investment. HC, by email.
A. Nationwide says this is consistent with the terms and conditions of the account. A spokesman explains: "Fixed rate bonds are medium-term deposit accounts that offer customers a higher rate of interest in return for 'locking in' their money for longer. Fixed rate bonds complement savers' portfolio of savings and investments and are intended for those who do not need access to their deposits. If a customer does need access to the money in their Nationwide Fixed Rate Bond, they are able to close the bond early, subject to an early closure charge. This is made clear in the society's literature when the bond is opened. It is important to note here that some savings providers do not allow any early closure at all except for exceptional circumstances – eg death, bankruptcy – while others operate a similar policy to the society."
Q. I bought flights in March through Ebookers with Continental Airlines for a multi-city trip from London to New York to San Francisco, back to New York and then home to London. But my plans changed and instead of taking the flight from San Francisco back to New York, I flew to Denver with a different airline to visit some friends and start a road trip from Denver to New York. When I went to check in at New York I was unable to do so, because I hadn't taken my flight from San Francisco to New York. The rest of my trip was now voided. To get home with Continental I would need to buy a new flight at a cost of $1,970. I phoned my parents, who were able to buy online a cheaper ticket with another airline. AB, by email.
A. Continental Airlines says that the "fare rules" issued to you by Ebookers made clear that "once an itinerary is ticketed, all flights must be flown in sequence, or the remaining flight segments will be automatically cancelled". Once you were recorded by the computer as a "no show" on the booked flight from San Francisco to Newark, your onward flight was automatically cancelled. Continental says that while it is sympathetic, it is the responsibility of passengers to be aware of the rules associated with tickets purchased. Ebookers says these are industry standard rules and that you should have contacted the airline once you decided to change your itinerary.
Q. I am the main beneficiary of my father's estate. His estate includes a stocks and shares Invesco Perpetual ISA. Selling this in the current financial climate is not very attractive. I have not taken out any type of ISA in the current financial year and the value of the equity ISA is less than the maximum permitted – is it allowed for the equity ISA to be transferred to me? The solicitor who is acting as the executor has told me that he believes the ISA is based on an individual savings plan and tax benefits that apply only to my father and therefore cannot be transferred. He says that our only option is to sell it and use the monies to purchase another ISA in my name, or use it for some other asset. He says he has "read and re-read the information sheet but can't find any alternative to sale". Is this correct? AN, Leicester.
A. Yes, that is correct. Invesco explains: "The deceased client's ISA cannot be 'transferred' into the beneficiary's name, but will need to be sold and then the assets invested into an ISA in the beneficiary's name." This has the same effect as a transfer and if you do that, Invesco will waive its initial investment charge. Invesco points out that you will need to send an original or copy of Grant of Probate, though if your father's estate is valued at less than £20,000, a copy of the death certificate and will may be sufficient. Your father's holding is in excess of £5,000, so the executors of your father's will must complete and sign a small estates form. It will also require a probate closure form, or letter detailing all the information contained on the probate closure form, signed by all executors.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk
Mark Dampier: 'Headlines scream panic but don't start ripping up your investments'
Buying property overseas? Check out these hotspots
Bargain Hunter: Exclusive discount on a SmartGlider - a self-balancing electric scooter
Questions of Cash: I've been chased for a phantom debt. What can I do to stop it haunting my credit status?
Offset mortgages: How to save thousands of pounds and reduce the term of your home loan
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...
£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...
Day In a Page
This five-bedroom home in Sutton Coldfield is arranged over three floors, with a detached garage to the rear and a driveway at the front of the property.
In an elevated position above the bay, this four-bedroom home offers sea and headland views. There is a decked balcony and sun terrace - plus coastal walks on the doorstep.
With four bedrooms, this spacious maisonette in a mid-terrace period-style house in Holland Road is well-maintained and offers high ceilings and period features.
The terraces of this two-bedroom penthouse apartment offer panoramic views that stretch over fifty miles from the cliffs of Beachy Head.
In the heart of the coastal village of Mumbles and moments from the pier, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is set over three floors and retains many original features.
In a sandbanks location, moments from the beach, this three-bedroom apartment has a large open-plan living area and a south-west facing balcony.
This four-bedroom home has an annexe accessed from the side of the house, with potential for improvement and conversion subject to the necessary permissions.
In the heart of the hamlet of Wardley, this five-bedroom period home offers countryside views and a stylish interior, with original features and open fireplaces.
Offering countryside views and landscaped gardens, this three-bedroom Grade II-listed lodge has a spacious conservatory and a large cellar that could serve as a workshop.
Set in approximately 1.5 acres, this four-bedroom home comes with a second, detached property that's currently used as an annexe.
In the hamlet of Newchurch, this former parish church is now a four-bedroom home complete with clock tower and eyrie.
Offering scenic views from a large balcony and sun terrace, this four-bedroom home has a wraparound garden and a heated swimming pool.
Offering views across the Humber and East Yorkshire Wolds from a glass panelled balcony, this four-bedroom barn-style home befits a life of leisure.
This four-bedroom home offers versatile accommodation with annexe potential; features include a hot tub, sauna and Norwegian BBQ hut.
Well-located for schools, colleges and the town centre, this contemporary thatched cottage offers flexible living space with six bedrooms.
Built in 1907, this four-bedroom Edwardian period home has been refurbished by the current owners, retaining many original period features.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens, this five-bedroom home offers living space across three floors.
This lovely country home in Burnham Market is currently run as a popular holiday cottage, with five en suite bedrooms and colourful gardens.
This three-bedroom 17th-century former village bakery is just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
Set on a landscaped plot, this light and airy four-bedroom home comes with a log burner in the lounge, a fitted kitchen and an open-plan ground-floor layout.
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.
Built on a former chapel site, this impressive four-bedroom home boasts balconies, stunning views and contemporary modern living.
This three-bedroom house is situated in a quiet mews and set over three floors. Features include glazed staircases and high ceilings.
A period townhouse set over four floors, this five-bedroom home was built in the 18th Century and retains many original features.
With five bedrooms, this spacious home offers beautiful gardens and modern interiors - set within the popular market town of Bingley.
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.
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 first-floor flat comes with two bedrooms, an impressive open-plan reception room and two lovely roof terraces.
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.
Moored at Taggs Island and reached via a pretty garden, this two-bedroom houseboat has a vaulted reception room and skylit garden studio - currently a beauty salon.
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.
A contemporary house spread over three storeys, this three-bedroom detached home has large sliding doors that open out to the River Quaggy.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
This former village bakery, dating back to the 17th century, is now a three-bedroom detached home just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
On the picturesque Isle of Man, this four-bedroom character home has a ground-floor shop that's currently run as a newsagents and a flat that would make an ideal holiday let.
In a new collection of flats, this first-floor two-bedroom apartment offers ample entertaining space and a prime view of Furze Green from a private balcony.
This three-bedroom stone-built cottage currently trades as the village store with a restaurant in the annexe and family accommodation on the upper floors.
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.
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.
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.