Questions Of Cash: 'Long-running insurance Saga is a headache'


Q. In December 2010 Saga quoted me £382.18 to insure a Volkswagen Golf, based upon my 60 per cent no-claims bonus discount. It said that the policy would be sent immediately. But the policy did not arrive and I was unable to speak to anyone at Saga, despite repeated phone calls. I wrote on 12 January to cancel that policy.

On 19 January, I received a letter from customer services saying that Saga had "recently experienced high call volumes", but that the policy had been cancelled and a refund would be processed once I completed an enclosed form and it had received this back from me. I telephoned again to say that no such form was enclosed, but it was not until 31 January that I received the form, which was sent back immediately.

No money was forthcoming and I waited awhile to call again requesting my refund, only to be told that the cancellation was not acceptable to Saga Insurance. I then phoned once more to speak to someone more helpful and was told that the cancellation had now been approved and that I could expect a refund within a week or so. This "saga" has been going on for several weeks. PP, by email.

A. There was a sequence of problems in initially processing your insurance policy and then in cancelling the policy and refunding your payment. Saga failed to provide the policy within the time promised. It was then unable to cancel the policy as it had not received from you the return of the certificate of insurance – because you never received this. You then completed a Road Traffic Act declaration form in lieu of the returned certificate. Even then, Saga failed to make a prompt refund. Saga has now refunded your payment of £382.18, plus another £50 as a goodwill gesture. Saga's spokeswoman explains: "We have provided feedback and training to those involved, stressing the importance of processing refunds in a timely manner."

Q. After reading the reader's question "Atol needs all the facts before spending public cash" (Questions of Cash, 5 March), I wanted to add my experience. I booked a holiday through a travel agency to Zante in Greece for last summer, flying with Goldtrail. Following the collapse of Goldtrail I had to book extra flights. I originally paid £423, but then had to pay a further £500. As the other readers have pointed out, trying to get a refund has been hard work and I am hitting the same brick walls as them of automated phone calls, unreturned calls and unanswered emails. JM

A The Civil Aviation Authority says that the delay in processing a refund under the ATOL guarantee was in part caused because you changing address while the refund was being handled. It confirms that all paperwork has now been received and a payment will be made before the end of the month.

Q. My wife's Santander one-year bond matured in September 2010. She advised Santander in advance of the maturity date that she wanted the proceeds transferred to her current account, or alternatively paid by cheque. This is normal banking practice. But Santander required her to present herself at the local branch. This she did, but they were only prepared to release the funds by way of her opening another account which would be "both opened and closed the same day". We objected to this as it appeared a strategy to retain her funds and could damage her credit rating if the account remained open with an overdraft facility attached. But to expedite matters we reluctantly agreed.

We were unfortunately not able to take a cheque away as Santander had calculated the balance wrongly – which became the subject of another complaint! We have made contact with Santander on at least six occasions in the last six months just to close this unwanted account. Each month we receive a statement showing nil transactions, but still the statements come and nothing happens. It seems we cannot close an account and others cannot unlock their equivalent. CD, by email.

A Santander spokesman says: "We can confirm the funds from [the reader's wife's] bond account were transferred out on 20/08/2010 and the bond was closed on 22/11/2010. A complaint in respect of tax deducted and interest earned was dealt with and was eventually referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service, who found that our resolution was fair. A remaining, unused current account has now been closed following receipt of this complaint."

Q. We have a balance of £1,880 on an Egg credit card, which we want to transfer to my husband's Barclaycard as there is a 0 per cent deal on. We need to do this by the end of March. When Egg raised its interest rates last year we stopped using its card, but we still have a balance outstanding. But to transfer the balance to Barclaycard it requires an expiry date for the Egg card. Egg refuses to provide an expiry date, saying that Barclaycard does not need this. SM, by email.

A. Egg has now provided an expiry date for you to provide to Barclaycard, doing so in time for you to make use of the closing date for the Barclaycard 0 per cent balance transfer offer. A spokeswoman for Egg says: "We have contacted the customer and the account has now been closed. It is not our usual practice to provide expiry dates for security reasons and usually a customer can provide their own when they do a balance transfer. However, this was a specific case and we acknowledge we could have dealt with the issue sooner. For this and the inconvenience this has caused we have sincerely apologised." You say that you hope other readers will not suffer the same problem. Barclaycard has just bought the Egg credit card business from Citigroup, so we expect your specific situation not to recur.

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; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

    £50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

    £13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

    Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own