Questions Of Cash: 'Halifax admits it let you down on ISA transfer'


Q. I had nearly £22,000 in an ISA, paying 3 per cent with the Halifax. This came to the end of its one-year fixed term in June and reverted to 0.5 per cent. I opened a new ISA with the Halifax, with an interest rate of 2.6 per cent. I sent a transfer request to put the original ISA into the new ISA Direct Reward. After a month, the money was still in the old ISA, running at 0.5 per cent, so I went into a branch and transferred it. I was assured that this had happened. But when I checked my ISA online six weeks later, I found the money had been transferred instead into a Liquid Gold account paying a paltry 0.05 per cent. How can they change my ISA into a tax-paying account anyhow? I have complained, but heard nothing. PE, Suffolk

A. Halifax accepts that it let you down, saying it could, and should, have transferred your money into the new ISA "without any difficulty". It has now opened the correct ISA for you, transferred your funds into this account, re-established the tax-exempt status of the account and credited your due interest.

It has also sent you a cheque for £50, recognising that "the service we provided was less than you should have expected".

Q. I booked a flight from Cartagena in Colombia to Fort Lauderdale, USA, with Spirit Airlines, but I was not allowed to board. I had to apply online for an Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) upon arrival at the airport. Even though I arrived in plenty of time, Spirit closed the check-in desk more than an hour before the flight departed and would not reopen it. I had to book a very expensive alternative flight to get me to the Miami area instead. Spirit will not refund me for the flight I was not allowed to board, nor will they compensate me for the alternative flight I had to book. RS, by email.

A. Spirit says that when you attempted to check in for the flight at the airport, you did not have the necessary travel documents – the Esta form required for foreigners making a connection in the US. By the time you returned, the flight had closed. It refuses to accept any responsibility for this, saying that it was your duty to ensure you had the correct documentation prior to check-in.

Q. I have received a bill that includes ludicrous charges for mobile phone internet use on an "unlimited data package". My phone was configured by the Carphone Warehouse, in such a way that it was constantly connected to the internet, even when I had it switched off. In one week, I had, unaware of the situation, used up my allowance and consumed an extra 103MB, at a charge of £1 per MB. This generated a bill of approximately £126 for one week of internet use. I only found out through my calls being barred, once I had reached that debt level. BK, by email.

A. It would seem that, for some reason, your internet connection was not halted when you pressed the phone's "Off" button. The Carphone Warehouse says that this can sometimes happen, depending on the model of handset used, and that it is important that consumers carefully read their handset manuals. But the CPW accepts that you do not believe you were given the correct data-usage information that you needed. The CPW is therefore offering to write off 90 per cent of the data-access element of the debt, leaving you with a charge to pay of £48.75. It believes that this would be a reasonable amount for you to pay, given that its records show "heavy streaming usage on the phone" while it was in your possession. As you have now returned the handset within the contract cancellation period, there would be no further charges. The CPW says that consumers cannot expect instantly to receive warnings of high charges for internet use, as these can take several days to process. However, it is working on adopting new systems that will provide real-time warnings.

Q. We have had problems with TalkTalk, our broadband provider. We were originally with Tiscali, which was taken over by TalkTalk. It persuaded us, reluctantly, to sign a new package with TalkTalk, which it charged for but failed to provide. We have complained repeatedly, without success, and have now decided to leave the service – but we want a refund for the payments we made for the service we did not receive. We must have sent 50 emails, without reply. We were eventually promised a £40 ex gratia payment as an apology, but this never arrived as it was provided as a credit on an account that is now closed. But to make matters worse, we have now received a bill for another £6.50. EG, Nottinghamshire.

A. TalkTalk has now refunded all charges levied in error and has sent you a payment for the promised £40.

Q. For several years I have had an Egg Money MasterCard and an Egg Visa card. I attempted to use the MasterCard to buy a guitar for my son's birthday. The transaction was declined, to my embarrassment. Egg told me that my card was cancelled last year, although the details still show clearly on my internet banking page and there is nothing to say that the card is no longer valid. There is even a credit balance shown. Egg claims that it wrote to me in August 2009 to say that the account would be cancelled if not used within a month. This was despite the fact that a new card with a starting date of August 2009 had just been sent to me. I have no recollection of receiving a letter saying that the account was about to be closed. When I asked to have the card renewed, I was told to apply for a new card. NS, London.

A. Egg confirms that it wrote to you in August last year, pointing out that you had not used this card for 13 months. It automatically advises customers who have cards that have not been used for 13 months "to protect customers' security and guard against any potential fraud". You were told that you needed to use the card in the next month to keep the account open and the card valid. This warning was issued despite you being issued with a new card at around this time. You could still view your account online because of the credit balance – which was less than £1. Egg apologises for the embarrassment caused to you, but believes it has acted correctly.

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.

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