Questions Of Cash: 'Halifax didn't update details and my direct debits failed'
Saturday 12 February 2011
I have had an email from my broadband provider, O2, to say that the direct debit for my last payment was refused by my bank, Halifax. I went into my Halifax branch, to be told they could not help me unless I could produce ID with my address on it. I went into work to obtain ID, including copies of my passport and driving licence, plus a letter from the tax office, a credit card bill and my membership card from my professional accountancy institute, all with my address.
When I went back to Halifax, I was told this was not enough, so the bank would put a stop on my account until I could show them some other ID. They would not explain why the account was on stop. I phoned the Halifax phone-banking service, but was told my account could not be taken off stop. I then found the account had been on stop for several days, since a letter that was sent to my wife at our previous address, from which we moved in November 2007, had been returned. I have had at least two direct debits bounce, as well as two cheques, which is highly embarrassing and frustrating: the account had more than sufficient funds. PA, Kent.
A. Halifax says the problem arose because when you notified it of your change of address, the contact details on your joint account with your wife were not updated – which they should have been. Halifax accepts that your experience "was less than satisfactory" and apologises for the mistakes made and the lack of help given to you at your branch. Feedback will be given to the manager of that branch, with the expectation that staff will be more helpful with other customers. Halifax has written to O2 to explain the reason for the non-processing of direct debit and says your credit report should not be affected. Halifax has offered you £300 as a goodwill gesture, which you have accepted.
Q. I had an Npower gas and electricity account while I was living with friends while studying at university. I asked for my name to be put on the account because I needed an address history for an application of my wife's dependent visa from Pakistan. When my wife arrived, I moved out of the house. But my friends forgot to remove my name from the account. They then switched the energy account to ScottishPower, which promised to close the Npower account. However, Npower kept sending monthly bills. When ScottishPower realised what had happened, it returned the amounts paid to it. But it seems the bills from Npower were not paid.
In 2009, I received two letters from Npower requesting payment for old bills. I told Npower I had left the property in February 2009. I then set up a payment plan for my friends and myself, without changing the names on the account. But my friends did not make the payments that were agreed. I told Npower, which asked me to send a copy of the tenancy agreement. Now Npower has done its own calculation and reduced the sum unpaid from £154.67 to £134.67, out of the total outstanding on the electricity account of £287.67. The gas account of £653.92 has now been fully paid. But I am unable to pay at present because a company I worked for failed to pay me the wages it owed me. AA, Bradford.
A. A spokeswoman for Npower says: "[The reader] called us in October 2008 to let us know he was moving into the property – we duly opened an account in his name. He then contacted us in May 2009 to say he would be moving out of the property the next month and therefore would no longer be responsible for the account. We closed the account and the final balance came to £287.67 for electricity and £653.92 for gas. In September 2009, he called us as he had received a debt-collection letter for the above amounts. He agreed to pay £100 a month towards the outstanding balance – £70 for gas and £30 for electricity. We have now received a lodger's agreement – dated from February 2009 – to say he moved address, so we are just in the process of updating his account. To be honest, this is a cautionary tale – the situation has arisen because we were not informed that he had left the property until the end of November [last year] – nearly two years later." Npower is now recalculating your account in line with this information.
Q. I have a Santander cash Isa. On 2 January I checked my account and was pleased to see the annual interest had been added to it, but when I rechecked on 11 January, I discovered that the interest had been reduced by £87.53. When I spoke to Santander, I was told that the interest on my Isa had been wrongly calculated and subsequently reduced. I received no communication from Santander that this had happened and no explanation about why it had happened. GC, Powys.
A. A spokeswoman for Santander says that "a technical error caused the interest to be calculated incorrectly on a small number of accounts, which have all been identified and the correct interest recalculated and posted to the accounts". She adds: "We did alert all affected customers of the issue, by delaying statements for one week to allow for the adjustments to be made and an apology was included within the statement. We understand [the reader] found out about the error when he checked his account online and we apologise that there was no explanation provided via this medium. We have taken his comments on board." A goodwill gift of a bottle of wine has been sent to you as an apology, but you have decided to close your account with Santander anyway, reflecting your unhappiness with this and the higher interest rate available elsewhere.
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.
Rain doesn't stop profits at Andy Murray's £600-a-night hotel Cromlix House
Tips on tipping: How and when should you give extra money for good service?
Think twice about investing in fine wine - it's a vintage ploy for the fraudsters
Five Questions On: GB Energy's new tariff
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 2 Edward Heath 'child sex abuse' allegation: Investigation to be held into Wiltshire police handling of alleged claim in the 1990s
- 3 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 4 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks busy Dublin road
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...
£11000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This financial company offer ma...
Day In a Page
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.
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.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.