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.
Mark Dampier: 'We're on our own in retirement. They've pulled pensions to pieces'
HSBC becomes first bank to offer five-year fixed rate mortgage with interest rate under 2%
Crippling PFI deals leave Britain £222bn in debt
Pension freedoms: How to deal with cold calls from scammers
Barclays new Blue Rewards hands cash to customers. What’s the catch?
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 5 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...
Day In a Page
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
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.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
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.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
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.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
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
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
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 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
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000