Q. I receive a pension from the Netherlands. For four years my pension fund transferred my payments to my Lloyds offshore euro account in the Isle of Man without problem. In July, Dutch banks began implementing Europe's SEPA system. Now my Lloyds branch refuses to accept the payments. Lloyds told me to instruct the Dutch bank to revert to the old system as Lloyds in the Isle of Man is not changing to the SEPA system. YL, Somerset.
A. SEPA is the Single Euro Payments Area and is designed to speed up and improve payment transfers that are conducted in euros. As the Isle of Man is not part of the EU, banks there are not required to make their accounts SEPA enabled. However, Lloyds said: "We were unable to obtain evidence of any of [the reader's] pension payments being rejected. Spot checks were carried out on the pension payments coming into his account and I can confirm that all payments checked were credited effectively and timely without any problems or delays... Whilst Lloyds Banking International Ltd does not offer accounts based within the EU, we do offer some accounts, including euro accounts, which are SEPA enabled." We attempted to discuss the matter with your pension fund in the Netherlands, but were unable to locate anyone who spoke English. Meanwhile, you resolved the problem by closing the Lloyds account and opening a euro account with HSBC.
My daughter is British but I was denied child benefit
Q. In September 2007 I delivered my daughter at a London hospital. I applied for child benefit immediately, but this was denied. I appealed, but the tribunal decided I was not entitled to it because I was subject to immigration control and did not satisfy the prescribed requirement. I appealed again but benefit was again disallowed on the same grounds, that I am an asylum seeker. I was surprised to learn from the Home Office that my child was a British citizen by virtue of her father being British. If my daughter were British at birth, should she not be entitled to child benefit, regardless of my immigration status? Is it too late to claim my child-benefit entitlement now? TA, London.
A. A spokesman for HMRC responds: "Eligibility for child benefit depends on a number of different factors, but all are based on eligibility of the recipient – not the child. One of the main tests for child benefit is around residence – you need to have a 'right to reside' in the UK, or be an 'ordinary resident'. Further guidance can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/start/who-qualifies/new-arrivals-uk.htm.
If the customer still feels she is eligible, she needs to contact the child-benefit helpline which will look into the details of her claim on 0300 200 3100." Pól Callaghan of Citizens Advice provided a more-detailed explanation. He said: "Child benefit is paid to a person who is responsible for a child or qualifying young person. The responsible adult must pass residence and presence tests and not be subject to immigration control. If you are subject to immigration control you do not have recourse to public funds. The immigration status of the child is irrelevant.
"You can backdate tax credits, child benefit and guardian's allowance to the date of your asylum application only if you have been granted refugee leave. You can't backdate these claims if you have only been granted other types of leave, as you must have been recognised as a refugee in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention to qualify. In general, a revision or supersession can only be applied within a time limit of 13 months."
Our English Dell computer wouldn't work in France
Q. We bought a Dell Vostro PC in April and a technician set it up in our English home. It seemed to work fine, so we took it to France. After a couple of days it stopped working. I phoned Dell, which said we had to speak to Dell France. After a long time on the phone we found it could not be fixed. I was promised by Dell in England that a technician would visit us in France. But Dell got confused and someone came to our house in England.
When we next visited France promised software had not arrived and the person who was going to home visit us had gone on holiday. We then took the PC back to England to request a replacement. We were told this was not Dell's policy, but they would send out a technician to replace the motherboard and hard drive. The computer is now working, but I want compensation for the £77.50 I paid to bring the PC back to England. PS, Buckinghamshire.
A. Dell points out that the collect and return warranty only applies in the UK. Dell says it was as a gesture of goodwill that it connected you with a service engineer in France. It was also, says Dell, a gesture of goodwill that it offered to send out a technician to your home address in England, although home service was also not included in the terms of your purchase. Its spokeswoman added: "Costs associated with the transport of the laptop between the two countries are the customers' own."
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