Questions of Cash: I wanted to send money to Ukraine - and they told me it was a scam


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The Independent Online

Q. I have a friend living in Ukraine. She was recently displaced from Luhansk in the east and was forced to move to Dnipropetrovsk.

I tried to make a transfer to her by MoneyGram, which I have done regularly in the past months. I sent her £200, for which I paid a fee of £9.99, rather more than before. When I returned home I received a call from Moneygram saying it was "uncomfortable" with "people like me" sending money to Ukraine.

I was told that a smaller transfer would also not be accepted, nor would any future payments. I received a refund, but this was scarcely the point.

The refund placed me in the ridiculous position of filling out a form to send money to myself and then being told to go home for my passport to prove my own identity. JR, Cardiff

A. MoneyGram says it will not change its mind. "The customer was interviewed and upon further investigation it was determined he could potentially be a victim of a scam," says a spokeswoman. "[We] stopped the transaction to prevent a potential loss to the consumer."

You remain angry, saying: "While I think it's OK for MoneyGram to alert me to the possibility of a 'scam', I don't think it's OK for it to decide how I want to spend my money when I am firmly of a mind to help in this appalling situation. Does MoneyGram think that the serious fighting in eastern Ukraine is some sort of scam?" You were able to complete the transfer using

Q. My parents, aged 78 and 82, were cold-called by BT, which persuaded them to transfer their phone account to it from TalkTalk. But the line transfer did not take place as promised, leaving them without a phone for weeks. I have since spent weeks trying to obtain suitable restitution. Insultingly, I was offered £50 by a customer care operative, which I said was insufficient. The offer was withdrawn. I was promised a call from a manager but he did not phone. VR, by email

A. A BT spokesman says: "We have apologised to [the reader] for the poor customer service and problems her parents have had. We have credited £83.97 to her parents' account as a goodwill gesture."

Q. I worked for several years for a subsidiary of Close Brothers. I subscribed to two share-saving schemes, one maturing in December 2014 and one in December 2015. When I retired in 2012, Computershare, which runs the share-save schemes, wrote to me with a "leaver's pack". On the reverse of one of the sheets of paper was a notice that the final date for exercising my option had changed to six months after my leaving date. I did not see this. I contacted Computershare in January to find out about my options, and was told they had lapsed. I have missed out as the shares have always produced a good return. Is there anything I can do? DS, by email

A. A spokesman for Close Brothers says: "We have taken the matter up with Computershare, who administer the scheme, and… we are satisfied that it provided the correct information to [the reader] at the right time and he was treated in the same way as any other leaver."

A spokeswoman for Computershare adds: "While we of course sympathise… I've taken a look through the paperwork and it is clear… that he was provided with all the correct information in timely fashion and… was treated no differently to any other leaver."

She adds that the relevant information was not only in the leaver's pack but also featured twice in the "frequently asked questions" section on the website. She adds: "There are no circumstances under which we are permitted to guess the decision of the investor."

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