Questions Of Cash: 'I have been hit with excessive hire car charges'
Saturday 05 December 2009
Q. You helped me get my Barclaycard bill below its credit limit (Questions of Cash, 14 November), but now Barclaycard tells me I have been paying for PPI for years when the policy did not cover me. HA, London.
A. You contacted us seeking help in getting your Barclaycard bill under control. It became clear that part of the reason for the high level of debt was the cost of your PPI – Payment Protection Insurance – policy for your Barclaycard debt. We cannot give financial advice, but we explained that consumer advisors – particularly Which? – argue that PPI policies are not good value for money. You then phoned Barclaycard to cancel the policy. The telephone operative told you that the policy ceased to cover you when you reached 65 – four years ago – and promised you a refund of four years' premiums, £864.
We intervened again and told Barclaycard that we believed you should also be repaid the interest on the cost of the policy over the period, plus a goodwill payment equivalent to the interest if you had invested the money. We both hoped that this would go a long way in clearing your total credit card debt. At this point, Barclaycard realised that you were misinformed by its operative.
At age 65, the PPI cover reduces, but does not end – you were still covered for accident, sickness and hospitalisation and, as you were still in employment, for involuntary unemployment. As Barclaycard already promised to refund you £864, it has credited your account with this sum. It will also provide a £50 goodwill payment, reflecting its failure to properly communicate with you. In fact, Barclaycard has made a thorough mess of this and you are now disappointed that you still owe it several hundred pounds. But you are in a much better position than you were a few weeks ago, with nearly half your credit card debt now cleared.
Q I hired a car from Europcar. Afterwards I had to pay two extra charges. One was for €2.50 and the other €75 (£68), plus 20 per cent VAT, which were taken from my credit card without authorisation. Yet I had paid an extra premium so that I didn't have to pay any insurance excess. There were a couple of scratches on the car when returned. But I did not have any accidents and if these happened during the time of hire, they must have been caused by other cars whilst the hired vehicle was parked. I made a declaration at the time of returning the vehicle that the car had not been in any accidents. I have been unable to get Europcar to make a refund and I regard the charges as excessive. KB, by email.
A. Europcar has confirmed that €75 was charged as "a damage processing administration fee" imposed by Europcar Italy. "This is a standard fee with Europcar Italy, as stated in the terms and conditions of the rental agreement," says the company and is not affected by your payment of a premium to cover the insurance excess. You were unaware of any damage to the car while it was your responsibility. There are two explanations for this: it may have been damaged while parked, or it may have been there before you rented it, but was not noted on the rental agreement. Europcar is not prepared to waive the charge and we can only suggest that next time you hire a car that you park carefully and check the surface of the hire car carefully before you rent it.
Q. I first used my 3 mobile broadband at Christmas last year. I made extensive research in a Carphone Warehouse store about which mobile broadband would give me best coverage in my home. In April, after a number of problems connecting, I rang 3. The advice worked, though again the signal was not good. In August I had great difficulty connecting, losing the connection within seconds most of the time. I was told by 3 that there were no plans to upgrade the service. The service is now unusable from my home. I have been unable to get a response from 3. ID, Cambridge.
A. 3 has now refunded you for the total cost of your mobile broadband package and apologises.
Q. My father passed away last year and I found an Abbey ISA book in my name holding around £9,000. I recall my mother opening an ISA account in my name a few years ago, but she died in 2000. I am not aware of the account being closed and the book has not been stamped as closed. Abbey does not seem interested. Can you help? SM, Hampshire.
A. It is possible to close savings accounts without having the pass book – and this seems to have happened here. The account was closed in 2002. Unfortunately, Abbey only holds full account records for six years and the paperwork associated with the closure of this account has been destroyed. A closing balance of £10,857.33 was transferred to another Abbey account. That account has since been closed, apparently by cheque – though there are no records to show who the beneficiary was. Nor does Abbey have any records showing the signature used to close the accounts. It would appear that you have been the victim of a fraud, but Abbey seems to have acted properly. You can lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman if you wish.
Q. I ordered a car gearbox in July over the phone and £149.50 was taken from my credit card account. The gearbox did not arrive as promised, only arriving after I cancelled the order and had gone on holiday using another car. GO, by email.
A.You paid using a Nationwide Visa debit card. This comes with a level of payment guarantee. As a result – after several weeks of investigation – Nationwide has been able to chargeback the payment to your supplier and you have been fully compensated.
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: email@example.com
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
Mark Dampier: Woodford’s young companies could be the stars of the future
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
You'll need £220,000 for a minimum wage in your retirement
Questions of Cash: Something rotten in the cellar causes trouble up above
Weekly Money: round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 20-24 October
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...
£100 - 125k: Guru Careers: A CTO / Chief Technology Officer is needed to join ...
Day In a Page
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
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
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village