Questions of Cash: 'My bank told me it was safe to keep my shares'
Saturday 23 May 2009
Q. I held Alliance & Leicester shares in a Fidelity Windfall ISA. Last September, I read an article in The Independent that "A&L investors have four weeks to sell" – warning A&L shareholders that if their shares were replaced by Banco Santander shares, they would be liable to Spanish income tax and have to fill in a lot of Spanish tax paperwork if the shares were sold, or face a €100 fine. I decided that if that was true, I should sell my shares. But this was contradicted by Fidelity in a Q&A letter. One of the questions was: "Are there any tax implications relating to this merger?" The answer given was "no". I phoned Fidelity to check. It assured me there was no liability to Spanish income tax and that it would handle any Spanish tax paperwork. I allowed my shares to be replaced by Banco Santander shares. But I have found that The Independent was correct and Fidelity was wrong. Fidelity will not admit responsibility for its mistake. I want either Fidelity to do the paperwork, or pay me to get it done by Abbey Sharedealing. JS, Bristol.
A. Fidelity has listened to its copy of the conversation you had with one of its advisors and accepts you were given wrong information. It has agreed to pay £100 compensation.
Q. Since April last year I have been unable to gain access to my Abbey account. I am a UK citizen, living at present in South Africa. In April last year I had a burglary, in which my laptop was stolen. I warned Abbey in May of the risk of identity theft, requesting my internet passwords to be reset and a new card to be issued with a new PIN. When I travelled to the UK later in May last year I told Abbey that I had received the password but no new card or pin. Abbey informed me that a stop would be put on the card and a new one sent out. I have still not received a replacement card, despite trying again in October to have the card, PIN and internet password re-sent.
Eventually I spoke to someone at Abbey who told me it could not send a card to South Africa, nor could it send a card to my UK address as I was away. They suggested I close the account. I still cannot get access to my money, which is earning only nominal interest. I am now paying a high rate of interest on my credit card, which I would be able to pay off if only I could access my own account. AB, South Africa.
A. You contacted us in February and our experience has mirrored yours – a very slow and poor response. Eventually, at the end of last month we received confirmation from Abbey that it has sent you all the cards and passwords that you require to gain access to your account. Abbey has offered £500 in compensation, which you regard as inadequate as it is much less than the £1,500 you calculate as your loss from the interest charged on your credit card, plus the interest that would have been earned if you had deposited the money in South Africa.
We have been unable to persuade Abbey to increase its compensation offer. We suggest you complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The FOS confirms that in calculating compensation it could take into account the cost of your credit card debt and the loss of interest in a South African savings account.
Q. In December last year I bought a new camera from Dabs.com, using a "buy now, pay later" deal run by V12finance.com, also trading as Clode Retail Finance. The amount borrowed was £2,151.01. If I paid it off before September this year there was no interest to pay. If I did not, the monthly direct debit payment would start at £97.25 a month, with an APR of 29.8 per cent.
I sent a cheque in full settlement of the £2,151.01 in February thinking this was the end of the matter. But I then received a letter saying that because I had not paid by direct debit, there was a fee of 1.6 per cent to pay – so I still owed £34.42. This fee was in the agreement small print under "charges, non-direct debit payments". I phoned Clode, which confirmed that if I paid off the whole amount there was no way to avoid this fee, which was charged for all types of payment – cheques, debit cards or cash. Only direct debits were exempt, but I couldn't have made a one-off payment by this means. Surely this means it is not an interest-free deal? IP, by email.
A. You have been charged a transaction fee, not interest, so it is interest-free. And you could have avoided all charges – though this would have been inconvenient for you.
Nick Davies, chief executive of Clode Retail Finance, also disputes the suggestion that the charges were in the contract small print. "The non-direct debit payments cost is clearly stated in the appropriate 'key information' section of the legal agreement, which is located on the front page of that document," he argues.
"The Consumer Credit Act is highly specific in where certain statements/information is presented in agreements of this type and also specifies down to the level of font size, presentation format etc, where/how relevant information can appear. As such we are unable to make the information of this particular term of the agreement any more prominent without falling foul of the requirements of the CCA."
He adds: "I believe it is entirely appropriate to levy a charge to cover our own costs of processing payments to loan accounts which are not made by direct debit as we incur greater costs in these cases." The lesson is to read contracts carefully.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
- 2 Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
- 3 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 4 Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...
£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...
Day In a Page
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
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