Questions of cash: How can I get a refund for a cancelled flight?
Saturday 28 February 2009
Q. I bought a return ticket to New Zealand through Southall Travel. I was due to fly on Saturday 13 December and return on Tuesday 6 January, flying Virgin to Shanghai, with a return to Auckland with Air China. But in November Southall Travel told me Air China had unexpectedly cancelled all their flights between Auckland and Shanghai. I requested an alternative itinerary, but Southall Travel told me there was none. I tried to speak to Virgin and Air China, but got nowhere as I had booked through a travel agent. Southall Travel told me the only solution was to get a refund from Air China for the £800. I eventually managed to get an alternative flight with Emirates for £1,200, but I still haven't got my money back from Air China. EE, by email.
A. We are fed up with the way airlines and travel agents treat customers whose flights they cancel, but which act with the speed of a snail in making refunds. We have been in contact with your travel agent on a continual basis since November trying to get this resolved. Initially, Southall Travel was unable to process a payment to you because it had not received the refund from Air China. There was then an additional delay – more understandably – because in the meantime the debit card you had paid with had expired and you had moved. The agent therefore needed you to provide proof of your new bank account and address before it could send you the repayment – which it has now done. We believe it is past time that the airline industry cleaned up its act on this. Until it does, we advise readers to pay by credit card and then demand speedy repayment from the card issuers if a flight is cancelled. Perhaps the banks will be more successful than customers have been in getting the airlines to act with appropriate haste.
Q. I bought a flight with Kuwait Airlines through an agent, Asia Travel, in Manila. I had to cancel the booking but I have waited five months for the refund, which has still not arrived. I have complained to Kuwait Airlines, but it says it has not received a refund request from Asia Travel. ML, by email.
A. You made your purchase using your credit card. We approached your card issuer, Abbey, which says it received the refund request on 26 January and – after some mediation by us - processed the refund on 3 February.
Q. I took out a five year capped mortgage four and a half years ago with the Marsden Building Society. I researched the market extensively and chose this product over others, deliberately preferring it to a fixed-rate mortgage so that I would benefit from any fall in interest rates. But I am very unhappy because the rate has never come down. The reality is that this was a fixed-rate mortgage in disguise, which was more expensive than other fixed-rate mortgages. It is not the deal I thought I signed up for! It has a capped rate of 5.49 per cent until 30 June 2009. KA, Middlesex.
A. Rob Pheasey, operations director of the Marsden Building Society, says you misunderstood the product you agreed to, but that the correct information was included in the material supplied to you during the application process. "This very clearly describes how the mortgage would operate, particularly in relation to interest rates," he says. "In July 2004 (the start date of mortgage), the society's standard variable rate (SVR) was 6.49 per cent: the borrower's rate was 5.49 per cent (capped). The society's SVR remained above the level of the cap up to 1 February 2009, when the rate was reduced to 5.49 per cent, the same rate as the borrower's capped rate. The product terms and conditions clearly state that "in the event of the society's SVR falling below the capped rate, your rate will also reduce in line with society rate reductions". The society has provided a clear product disclosure to the customer. The society has reduced its SVR from 7.79 per cent (January 2008) to 5.49 per cent (February 2009). Should the SVR reduce further, the borrower would benefit, prior to the product term end date on 30 June 2009."
Q. In your answer about the "Buy & Fly" credit cards (Questions of Cash, 7 February), you refer to Barclaycard giving 1 per cent cashback on the first £200 spending per month. I can find no mention of this on their site. Could you please publish further details. VL, by email.
A. This is a cashback deal that applies only to a limited number of Barclaycards – those for customers who were previously on Morgan Stanley and Goldfish "Buy & Fly" credit cards and Barclaycard Travel Reward cards. They are not available to new customers. Letters are being sent to those customers eligible for the offer – which is for 1 per cent on the first £200 spending per month and half a per cent for spending above this level.
Q. I have moved home, transferring with me my subscription to Tiscali. But I cannot get them to cancel my combined broadband and TV service at my former address. Tiscali insists on asking me for my date of birth, which I refuse to provide – it is used as a security question by my bank and I am concerned that this reduces my fraud protection. I have never supplied Tiscali with my date of birth, so I don't see how this will help them. When I said this to Tiscali's call centre, I was told I could not close my account without supplying my date of birth. AL, London.
A. Tiscali has now cancelled your account at your former address. It is calculating whether you made an overpayment as a result of the delay in processing the cancellation; if so, it will refund this. When you took out the account at your previous address you did so with the cable company Homechoice, which was subsequently purchased by Tiscali. Tiscali insists that Homechoice required customers' dates of birth to confirm they were permitted to obtain adult TV services – and that it will not open accounts with customers who refuse to supply their date of birth. However, it has told its customer service staff to be more sensitive with clients who do not wish to be asked their date of birth and to be prepared to use alternative security questions.
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
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
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'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
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
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about custom...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Main purpose: Under the directi...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City...
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.