Questions Of Cash: My lot with Cameo Auctions is not a happy one

 

Q. Cameo Auctions in Berkshire took a payment of £300.47 from my credit card in March, although I have not registered for any of their auctions for several months. MB, Stockport.

A. Our initial inquiries with Cameo Auctions went unanswered. Our most recent email was returned undelivered and the website is no longer functioning. A notice on the door of the business reported that it had ceased trading as the result of a police investigation into the activities of a former employee. Several other customers of Cameo Auctions have complained about charges being taken from cards and directly from bank accounts, according to an online complaints forum. It is reported that West Berkshire Council's trading standards department is investigating the business, but no one at the council was available to comment. You should contact your credit card issuer urgently and request a charge back, explaining the circumstances in which the payment was made.

Q. I took my Apple MacBook Pro in for repair last October because the graphics card had stopped working after showing minor problems for years. I twice told the Apple store in Regent Street during the warranty period and was reassured this was nothing to worry about. When the graphics card completely failed, I went back to the store and requested a free repair, despite it being out of warranty. The store manager refused. So instead I went to Cynergy IT Solutions in Goodge Street in London, which agreed to replace the graphics card for £380.

Later I found out from a friend that this problem is well-known and there has been a successful lawsuit in the US. As a result, I contacted Apple to seek compensation. The company rejected this, saying it had already repaired my computer free of charge. So I had paid Cynergy IT to carry out the repair and they had simply taken it to the Apple store! My requests for a refund were ignored. I have reported this to the police, who told me this is a civil not a criminal matter. I then went to trading standards, which suggested I wrote to demand a refund within seven days. But the store did not respond to this. MB, London.

A. We had some difficulty in contacting Cynergy IT, but eventually managed to do so. Ziad Albadarin, who runs the business, does not deny that Apple conducted the repair, but insists his charges to you were fair and reasonable. He emailed us to say: "At the time of repair, we did not know that Apple accept to repair the computers free. I have customers who also went to Apple with the same problem and Apple refuse to repair their computers… This computer has two logic board, first one new was fitted by us and after testing to found it overheating… so we took the computer to Apple to complain and after 40 minutes of persuading the Apple guy this is a manufacturer fault he accept to repair it... [In addition, the reader had] five or six times technical consultancy on one-to-one basis in our office and the last time he complained about the logic board I spent three hours from 5pm to 8pm while [the reader] was waiting."

He adds: "I would like to highlight a few of our charges and warranty: all repairs carries one-month warranty; our hourly charge is £89 + VAT; initial diagnostic charge [is] £25." Mr Albadarin said that the £380 charge represents an extended warranty, requested by you, at a cost of £99; two hours' service charge at £89; a diagnostic charge of £20.80; and a replacement logic board, costing £82.80. All these costs are subject to VAT on top. We calculate that as being a total of just under £350 and so explains most of your costs. You clearly remain unhappy with this, disputing much of this explanation, though you say you would be content to pay 30 per cent or so of the charge levied, with the rest repaid.

That proposal has not been accepted by Mr Albadarin. Your options now seem to be limited to accepting his explanation and charges, or else taking a case to the Small Claims Court seeking a full or partial refund. Procedures for taking a case to the Small Claims Court are straightforward and details are published at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingDebt/Makingacourtclaimformoney/DG_195118. Apple says that customers with these problems should seek help from its retail centres. Guidance on this is published at http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377?locale=en_GB&viewlocale=en_GB

Q. My father-in-law is in an expensive care home. The manager was very vague about fees and conditions when we visited before he was admitted. The contract we signed specified payment of "community fees" of £1,500, which is a one-off contribution towards the maintenance of shared areas. I now find that other residents are not charged the community fee. I have complained to the care home but it refuses to answer my questions about how many residents pay the community fee. I also find that not all the residents pay the same for each room. The home says this depends on location and size. What can I do? AN, by email.

A. We can see no reason why the care home cannot negotiate different charges according to residents' needs or ability to pay. Indeed, it is common for private paying residents to be charged more than are local authorities, which may negotiate lower prices for a group of residents. Care homes are regulated by the Care Quality Commission, but it is responsible for regulating the quality of homes, not their prices. Given the high cost of residential care, it is important to negotiate properly before agreeing the contract and its terms. We offered to take the matter up with the care home concerned, but warned this could create problems for your relative. You have accepted this view, and therefore not provided us with the name and address of the home.

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

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
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

    Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

    Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

    Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

    Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?