Questions Of Cash: Nectar helps to finally get the ball rolling
Saturday 05 July 2008
Q. Nectar offered me a free treat last year and I chose its offer of a sphereing session. But when I tried to book this with SphereMania, I was informed the voucher was only valid for one person and it was not possible to book a session for one, so I would need to pay an additional £40 to make the booking. JS, Alveston
A. Nectar says that you were misinformed and that you are entitled to the sphere treat free of charge for yourself and someone accompanying you. Sphereing involves lying in a bouncy ball, but requires two people to participate – which is apparently what caused the confusion.
Q. I have two FSAVCs [free-standing additional voluntary contribution pensions] with Prudential that I want to cash in for an annuity. In early April I asked for a quotation, which arrived two weeks later. At the end of April I asked for the precise figures, but this had not arrived by the middle of May because Prudential had sent it to the wrong address, despite writing to me at the right address for 20 years. I was promised this would be sent again, but by the middle of June, this still had not arrived. My phone conversations were with its call centre in India, who told me they had no contact number for the UK operation that sends out the written information. My FSAVCs were transferred into a holding account in April following my initial enquiry and are making no money during this fiasco. I am very angry. LD, Aberdeenshire
A. Prudential apologises and gave us a statement. "While our network of trained, carefully monitored call handlers are committed to delivering the highest standards of customer service irrespective of location, we are always looking at ways in which we can improve the service we provide to our customers. Customer feedback is extremely important to us, so we have assured [your reader] that we have noted her comments and will use them as part of our ongoing review of our customer contact strategies." Given Prudential's handling of your requests, you have switched your business to Canada Life, which you report is providing a much higher quality of service.
Q. After Northern Rock's problems, I want to put my money in a building society, not one that has converted into a bank. Can you give me the names of some? JG, Bath
A. The Moneyfacts best-buy tables show a number of building societies offering highly competitive savings products. These include the Principality Building Society (offering 7.15 per cent on fixed-rate bond, over 50s only, or 7 per cent on its regular saver bond); the Coventry (6.2 per cent on fixed-rate accounts, over 50s only); Kent Reliance (5.65 per cent on fixed-rate accounts, over 60s only); Market Harborough (5.4 per cent, over 60s only); Leeds (5.35 per cent, over 50s only); Skipton (6.8 per cent, regular savings); Yorkshire (6.35 per cent, regular savings); West Bromwich (6.2 per cent, no-notice savings account); Manchester (6.12 per cent, no notice); Chelsea (6.1 per cent, no notice); and Beverley (5.5 per cent, no notice).
Q. I have received a letter from Tiscali saying that I owe it £230 and threatening to send in bailiffs to collect the debt. I had a contract with Tiscali over a year ago, which I terminated because of problems, including them taking money that I did not owe from my credit card account. I have written asking why they are claiming this money, but I have not had a reply. GA, by email
A. Tiscali says that you cancelled your account four months before completion of the minimum one-year term that you signed-up for. Your balance reflected charges for the balance of this period, plus charges accumulated in July and August last year, which Tiscali says you did not pay. As a gesture of goodwill, Tiscali has written-off the balance on your account.
Q. I bought an MP4 player online in November for £56.93 from Computersupermarket.com, using my Smile credit card. I then found the item was not in stock,so I cancelled and was sent a credit note. But the MP4 player arrived anyway. When I called Computersupermarket, I was told to post it back and send the receipt for postage and it would refund me the £56.93, plus £4.75 postage. I have since phoned about 40 times trying to get the money back, but without success. Computersupermarket says it has credited my account, but there is no trace of this. Can you help? SJ, London
A. When we phoned Computersupermarket on the number displayed on its website, we had a message saying the phone number did not accept incoming calls. When we emailed, the email bounced as undeliverable. We asked Smile to refund the amount to you, which it has done as a goodwill gesture, even though it is outside the time limit under which it can reclaim the amount from the trader.
Q. We are getting annoyed with the add-ons imposed by Ryanair. If you book a flight to the same destination on different days of the week, the taxes and fees are different. If you try Prestwick to Skavsta on a Friday, the fees and taxes are significantly higher than for a midweek flight. Surely fees and taxes are fixed. GF, Coldstream
A. Ryanair gave us the following statement: "Ryanair fares do not include any 'add-ons', unlike BA's fuel surcharge. Any additional services on Ryanair are optional. The reason why the 'taxes/fees' amount can change is that we regularly absorb some or all of these taxes in order to arrive at low tax inclusive seat sales of £10 or £20 one-way."
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; email@example.com.
Derek Pain: I'm cautious, but remain one of the few bulls in the market
Donald MacInnes: Who would want to be a Barbie girl in a non-Barbie world?
Mark Dampier: How to get an income now that savings are past the 'use by' date
Thousands of UK investors could lose out following collapse of Secured Energy Bonds
Bargain Hunter: Fly off for a winter break in France or Portugal for well under £100
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
Day In a Page
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 deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
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
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
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