Questions Of Cash: Nectar helps to finally get the ball rolling

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, 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;

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

    £600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

    The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

    Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

    £280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little