Questions Of Cash: Insurance policy required me to turn off alarm
Saturday 06 August 2011
Q. I am visiting my daughter in New Zealand for two months during this winter. As a requirement of our household insurance policy with Churchill, we are required to turn off all services – gas, electricity and water. This would disable our burglar alarms and the central heating, risking frozen pipes. MB, by email.
A. A spokesperson for Churchill, a division of the Royal Bank of Scotland, says: "Our unoccupied properties policy is based on a property being permanently unoccupied, such as following a death or when vacating the property, and we require customers to turn off the electricity, gas and oil supplies at the mains, unless it is necessary to maintain central heating. To date we have handled short-term absences of over 30 days on a case-by-case basis.
However, your reader's case highlights that extended holidays of 30 days or more require a different approach, and we will be reviewing our policy going forwards." Not withstanding the implied promise of the change in policy conditions, you have understandably decided that the conditions as they currently stand do not make sense.You have accordingly taken out a policy with another insurer, who does not impose these conditions.
Q. In April  my husband and I travelled in a group of six to Zambia to visit a school we support in Mkushi. When we got to Lusaka to fly home we were unable to do so owing to the volcanic ash. We were stuck in Lusaka for nine days. While BA passengers had their accommodation paid for and were given a daily food allowance, we received nothing from our airline.
We flew from Manchester to Amsterdam with KLM and believed that KLM was "our airline" and that it had a duty of care to us. Our flights from Amsterdam to Lusaka, returning to Manchester, were with Kenya Airways. Eventually Kenya Airways gave us a small amount towards three nights' accommodation, but nothing for food. We were flown back to Heathrow, not Manchester. When we contacted KLM, it told us to contact Air France. In August, Air France told us to contact Kenya Airways. We are £1,300 out of pocket. MW, Melton Mowbray.
A. You contacted us in December and we have been liaising with the airlines regularly ever since. KLM is now owned by Air France, which has an arrangement with Kenya Airways to complete onward transmission to some destinations in Africa. But Air France insists that flights operated by Kenya Airways are not the responsibility of Air France. We have spoken with the European Commission, which explains that its regulations governing compensation for delayed flights affect airlines registered in the EU and flights that originate within the EU. But flights into the EU from outside – such as your cancelled flight – are not governed by EU compensation requirements.
In March of this year Kenya Airways offered, as a goodwill gesture, to repay half the cost of your additional accommodation, which it accepted as being £642.29, so you were sent a payment of £321.15. You have argued that this underpays the amount you were promised as it excludes three nights' accommodation that were accounted for separately. Kenya Airways has declined to pay for this element of your stay as the hotel manager said that this had been paid for by a voucher supplied by the airline. You tell us that in fact you had to purchase the voucher for use at the hotel – though this arrangement completely mystifies us.
Despite your explanation, Kenya Airways declines to pay more. A spokeswoman for Kenya Airways says that a colleague, who has since left the airline, had "indicated what he would pay and he paid that. I am not going to be able to open this file again." This has left you with what you calculate is an outstanding loss of almost £1,000. Kenya Airways stresses that it has no legal obligation to pay this and that the compensation you have received is considerably above what it would normally provide.
Your experience underlines the benefits of flying with an EU carrier – and that travellers should check before making a booking exactly which airline they will be flying with and what compensation arrangements are in place. Kenya Airways apologises for the difficulties you suffered from the cancelled flights, but points out that the cancellations were beyond its control.
Q. I had an Egg credit card account, which was closed by Egg over a year ago – without me asking it to do so. Yet I have received an email advising me that this dead account has been transferred to Barclaycard. Why is there life after death for credit cards? NS, London.
A. The Egg credit card brand was established by Prudential in 1998, bought by Citibank in 2007 and was purchased by Barclays in March this year. Your account was transferred to Barclaycard because although you assumed that your account was closed, there was actually a small debit outstanding. As a result of your inquiry to us, that balance has now been written off and the account has been closed by Barclaycard.
Q. I obtained a SIM from UK2Abroad for use by my son for a visit to the United States. I was supplied with an unsuitable SIM, which I returned to the company – I know it was delivered, as I checked with Royal Mail. After a month, I am still awaiting a refund of the £44 that I paidby credit card.RD, by email.
A. UK2Abroad offers two types of SIM for low-cost use in mobiles abroad – one for the United States and another for the rest of the world. According to UK2Abroad, you purchased the wrong type of SIM. It has agreed to make a refund on a goodwill basis and had already authorised this before you contacted us. However, the company says that it was unaware that the card processor had rejected the refund, for reasons that are unclear and are now being invested. The refund has now been reprocessed.
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: questionsofcash@ independent.co.uk.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
- 1 Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...
£650 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM,...
£350 - £375 per day: Harrington Starr: Looking for a Java/C++ Developer to wor...
Day In a Page
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
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony