Questions Of Cash: 'Hotel costs lost after travel firm stopped trading'
Saturday 29 January 2011
Q. My son booked a "non-package" holiday last summer through a travel agent, flying with Kiss Flights. I took out travel insurance for him with the AA. Kiss Flights ceased trading and the travel agent could not find alternative flights, so the holiday was abandoned. Flight costs are being recovered via ATOL's protection scheme, but the hotel costs were lost. The travel agent explained that as it did not sell us a package holiday, it is not liable for the hotel costs. The AA insurers stated that as the hotel is still trading they are not liable either. We seem to have fallen between a rock and a hard place: is there anywhere further to pursue this?
A. You are correct in suggesting that no one is legally required to compensate you for the loss on the accommodation costs. Happily, though, the AA has agreed to be flexible. AA spokesman Ian Crowder explains: "Many – but by no means all – policies include trip abandonment and in common with other providers, the reasons for abandonment would be stated in the policy document and in the case of the AA are strike or industrial dispute; weather conditions affecting scheduled public transport; mechanical breakdown of the aircraft.
"Of course, none of these applied in this event and it is highly unlikely that any other policy would meet the cover under the circumstances. However, the AA does offer more comprehensive travel insurance than many and is always looking for ways to improve its cover to reflect changing travel patterns and is interested in feedback of this sort. [The reader] would not ordinarily have been able to recover his hotel costs, but we're grateful to him for pointing out the peculiar circumstances he has found himself in and, as a goodwill gesture, we are on this occasion meeting his loss, excluding the £60 excess."
Q. I purchased breakdown cover from Aviva in August. When I bought it I told the salesperson that I would soon be buying a new car from Ford, which would supply free breakdown cover. I was told that if I did, I would be able to have a refund from Aviva for the unused period of cover. I bought my new car and cancelled my Aviva cover on 5 October, when I was told I would get a refund as a voucher. This did not happen and I have consistently failed to get a satisfactory response from Aviva's customer service centre. BB, Canvey Island.
A. Aviva apologises "for falling short of our usually high standard of customer service". Apparently, the wrong code was entered into Aviva's IT system for the contract cancellation, but the advisers you spoke to were unaware of this and wrongly assumed that vouchers would be issued as promised. Aviva has agreed to pay you a full cash refund of £59.14, plus a £50 shopping voucher as a gesture of goodwill.
Q. I applied to Virgin Media for a BlackBerry and a mobile phone account. But after my credit reference came in, I was turned down. I contacted Equifax for an explanation, but it said that it only provided the information and that a company does not share with it the reasons for turning down an account application. I don't understand. AP, Brighton.
A. It seems that Virgin Media did not intentionally reject your account application and there is no problem with your credit rating. Virgin Media has now opened your account, delivered your BlackBerry, apologises for the inconvenience of the delay and has applied a £10 credit to your account as a gesture of goodwill.
Q. Barclaycard has imposed a late payment charge on my latest bill. I failed to notice that the due payment date for December was brought forward to the 17th of the month – in the previous months the due date had been the 23rd, 22nd, 22nd and 22nd and in January it was the 27th. It seems like "sharp practice" to bring forward the date in just one month. I spend over £7,500 a year on my Barclaycard and I am now looking at other card providers. I would like the late payment charge and interest refunded. MG, Leicester.
A. Barclaycard says that the payment date in December can vary significantly from other months because of bank holidays. Your statements are prepared on the 17th of each month, but the actual payment due date can vary, according to the dates of weekends and bank holidays. It also varies to assist Barclaycard manage the flow of post during a month. In the case of December, the due date was accordingly earlier than usual, while it was later in January. Barclaycard apologises for the inconvenience this has caused and assures that this was not intentional. It has refunded you with the £12 late payment fee and £10.70 interest that were charged. No adverse entry will be made on any credit reference report.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customers paying up to £250 more on energy bills than they should every year
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Has your Premium Bond won the £1million jackpot?
There are 'dark corners' of the investment and pensions industry, says Pension Minister
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
iJobs Money & Business
£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...
Day In a Page
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
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads