Questions of cash: Frozen out of a refund request

Q. My parents bought a freezer from Comet, which was delivered in December. The old freezer was removed by Comet’s delivery men. They were told to wait 24 hours before switching on the new freezer. They were confident that the food from the old freezer would not thaw by then. But when they went to switch it on they found that the freezer had been wedged in so close to the wall that they were unable to access the plug. Comet said someone would visit to help, but turned up at a time when my parents had said they would be out.

When, a day later, someone from Comet arrived again, they said all the food in the freezer had to be thrown away. Comet twice assured my parents they would compensate for the cost of the food that had to be destroyed. But, after my parents spent hours compiling a list of items, Comet phoned to say that it was not liable for the loss as there had not been an electrical fault. I have taken legal advice and been told that as Comet delivered the freezer, it is liable. GT, Cambridge.

A. Comet apologises. It has sent your parents £220 in full settlement of their claim. It has also initiated an investigation to establish why your parents were not compensated when they first submitted their claim.

Q. I bought goods from in September. I was disappointed with the standard of the goods and tried to return them immediately. There was no return address, so I emailed repeatedly but without reply. I then asked Halifax to stop the credit card payment. Initially, it said I had to wait until I received my next statement. Then it asked for details of the complaint, but said it was unable “to assist in disputes of this nature”. Instead, I would have to get a refund voucher from the merchant before Halifax could process a refund. But, as I have been unable to contact the merchant, I cannot get this. Has Halifax acted correctly? RM, Co. Tyrone.

A. The website still exists, but its “contact us” option was not functioning on the occasions we tried to use it. Nor were any addresses, phone numbers or email addresses shown on the website. The website does contain the promise that “we will gladly accept a return in brand new condition” – but this is not helpful when there is no return address!

We took up your problem with Halifax, pointing out that you seemed to have strong grounds for it to activate a chargeback against the retailer. However, Halifax informed us that the purchase was for less than £100 – the threshold at which they become jointly liable with the retailer for the supply of goods. Moreover, Halifax argues that under Mastercard regulations it cannot be held responsible for the quality of goods.

The Financial Ombudsman says that responsibility for disputes over the quality of goods can be difficult to resolve. But Halifax accepts that the normal resort of resolving matters by communication with the retailer appears not to be available to you. On this basis, its dispute resolution team has agreed to reconsider your case and whether it can make a chargeback. To enable it to do this, it asks you to forward copies and details of the order and your attempts to communicate with the business.

Q. My brother-in-law is being harassed by MBNA over my credit card debts. He should not have borrowed large amounts of money on the card, but MBNA should not have allowed him to do so. He can’t repay the debt and, as he is now 65, he is unlikely ever to repay in full – though he is trying to do so. He keeps getting calls and letters from MBNA, despite it agreeing in September to stop making calls.

He has entered an agreement through Payplan with his creditors. Payplan is now updating his statement of income and expenditure. All creditors will then be notified of a realistic schedule of repayments. He cannot now legally repay MBNA in preference to other creditors. I believe MBNA is in breach of the banking code and its legal duties. SC, Tring.

A. MBNA says that the agreement in September to stop making calls was subject to your brother-in-law remaining in contact with it to advise a structure of repayments. MBNA believes he broke this agreement, which is why it wrote and phoned him in October. But MBNA accepts that it made five further calls late last year in breach of the agreement and apologises. Subsequent calls, says MBNA, were trying to arrange the details of an offer made by your brother-in-law for partial repayment. It does not regard these calls as harassment, or as unreasonable. It says it has not received any correspondence from Payplan, or a reference number to confirm that it is dealing with your brother-in-law’s affairs.

While it does not regard its actions as excessive, it has refunded some of the charges on the account. It is willing to accept an offer of partial repayment of the debt, but it does not believe that proposals previously provided are affordable for your brother-in-law. It therefore requests that he makes fresh contact to agree a mutually acceptable schedule for repaying the debt.

Q. My son is being chased by debt collectors on behalf of Scottish Power for an energy bill mostly run up by his flatmate. Can you help? ST, by email.

A. Your son made the common mistake of entering into a supply contract with an energy company in his sole name, despite the accommodation being shared. It then became his responsibility to recover his flatmate’s contribution. But Scottish Power has agreed to instruct its debt collectors to suspend action against your son, providing he supplies proof of the joint tenancy. They will then initiate collection action against his flatmate.

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:

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

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

    Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

    £85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

    Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

    SQL DBA/Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering