Questions of Cash: 'Expedia owes us for flights – but how much?'


Q. My husband and I went on holiday to Malta in April, and booked the flights through Expedia. Just before we left, my step-daughter fell ill and was admitted to hospital. I changed my husband's return flight to an earlier one and was told it would cost me an extra £244.30, plus £25 admin fee. When I did not receive confirmation I phoned to check and was told the charge would be £138.30 plus €25 (£17). But when I looked at my bank statement online, the charge from Air Malta was actually £294.30. Within hours, my husband fell ill and was told by a doctor he could not travel. I now need to make an insurance claim, but I cannot get confirmation from Expedia of the charges. Expedia has agreed we were overcharged £25, but we have not received this refund, and it has offered us a £50 credit on an Expedia account, which after this experience we would not be prepared to use. SW, Banbury.

A. Expedia apologises and accepts it took too long to resolve your problem. It is refunding direct to your bank account the administration fee, plus the difference – nearly £150 – between the actual charge for the flight and the lowest charge you were advised.

Q. I have a Lifetime Care policy with AXA/Sunlife, taken out in 1996. The monthly premiums rose steadily, but escalated recently. My husband died two years ago and I had to go to Australia to sell a property. AXA told me I could cancel the policy and take it out again within a 12-month period, or pay at a reduced rate – which I agreed to. When I returned I tried to reinstate the policy, but I had to complete a new questionnaire – which was not mentioned before – and because of this AXA refused to reinstate my policy at its previous level. Two years ago my monthly premium was £79.48 for a monthly benefit of £1,140.27, now, for the same benefit, the premiums are £161.36 – more than double. DW, Devon.

A. Your policy meets the cost of residential or home care in the event of you becoming unable to look after yourself. When AXA wrote to you last year saying you could pay a reduced rate, it stated that to reinstate the policy to the same level of benefit it would have to "re-underwrite" it. AXA assumed you would realise this meant applying again for the policy, with a re-evaluation of the risk. Having completed a new application form, it became apparent to AXA that your medical risk had increased and insurance cover was declined. Cover was only offered, at a much higher premium, when you complained. Allowing a policy to lapse has dangers, as your situation illustrates. But AXA says it has not done anything wrong and its position appears to be legally correct.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; cash@independent.co.uk.

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