Questions of Cash: I want a refund for these unfair overdraft charges
Saturday 25 October 2008
Q. Credit card fraud led to me receiving a £2,000 American Express bill. AmEx told me to cancel my direct debit with my bank, Alliance & Leicester, to avoid this payment being processed. I tried to cancel using A&L's online service and thought I had done this when I entered a "cancel" instruction – but it turned out that this just cancelled the cancellation request. This led to the direct debit being processed. When I realised, I phoned A&L and it approved a new overdraft limit to avoid triggering unauthorised overdraft charges. But A&L imposed charges anyway. It says it will not consider refunding these until the court cases on unfair bank charges are settled, arguing it has a waiver from the Financial Services Authority covering all bank charges regarded by customers as unfair. But my complaint is nothing to do with charges covered by these cases. LC, Cheltenham.
A. A&L accepts you are correct and that you have not been given the level of customer service you should have when you repeatedly complained. It apologises, is refunding fees of £35 and is making a goodwill payment of £50. Court cases on allegedly unfair charges imposed by the banks continue. A High Court ruling earlier this month supported banks' argument that fees levied for breaching overdraft limits and for bounced cheques cannot be regarded as unlawful penalty charges. However, this judgment covers only one element of the legal dispute.
Q. I received a "warning letter" from the Post Office after I declined to renew my house insurance with them, because there was a huge increase in the premium. The letter states that I owe £22.71 because I decided not to renew. The Post Office claims it sent out a renewal notice, but I was not given advance warning of the premium increase. When I was told, I immediately phoned the Post Office and said I would obtain insurance elsewhere. The Post Office attempted to take money from me anyway, using a credit card that had expired – so payment was declined. It is now demanding payment through this "warning letter". I was told that the terms and conditions of Post Office Insurance include a clause saying a charge will be made if the policy is not renewed. NS, London.
A. Ironically, it seems as if your insurance renewal letter was lost in the post. A Post Office spokesman says: "There is no charge for customers wishing not to renew their house insurance. What happened with this customer is the standard renewal invitation was sent to him a couple of weeks before the expiry of his home insurance policy inviting him to renew. The letter stated that if he decided to renew, he need do nothing further." As you did not receive the letter, you could not respond and the insurance was automatically renewed. The charge for £22.71 was for the period between the renewal date and the time when the Post Office processed your cancellation. But the Post Office accepts that you did not wish to renew and has cancelled the charge.
Q. After receiving a promotional offer from KLM by email I looked on its website and saw that return flights to Sao Paulo were available for £558. We had to confirm travel arrangements with our family in Brazil before we could book. But when we went to book, the cost of the flights had risen to £642.70. Thinking the flights would get more expensive still if we waited, we booked. But when I went back on another day I found the flights were back on sale for the dates we were flying at £558. I feel ripped-off for booking too soon. FN, Chalfont St Giles.
A.The return leg of the journey you booked was using an Air France flight, not one provided by KLM, therefore the promotional offer was not valid – even though KLM is owned by Air France. Airlines generally do not guarantee that flights available at one price will not become cheaper nearer to the date of travel.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; email@example.com
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
Bargain Hunter: From The Outsider to 1984, catch a cut-price classic, read it in the rye
Donald MacInnes: My wasted hours in the retail deserts of Dixons-Carphone
Energy switching app Voltz allows users to switch with just a few taps
Money Insider: Smart alternatives to the pensioner bond
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
Day In a Page
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
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