Questions of Cash: Payment woes with Barclays overshadow Cornish holiday


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Q. We are retired and bank with Barclays. We have a small overdraft facility of £1,000. I pay our Mint credit card bill online and have the payment details set-up on our Barclays internet banking system. Before we went on holiday to Cornwall, I tried and failed to make the payment in advance three times. The next day it took two attempts before the payment was processed. I posted an online feedback to Barclays as a complaint. While on holiday I received messages saying the complaint was being dealt with. I was phoned and offered £50 compensation.

We continued on holiday, but our debit card was rejected when we tried to make a payment. I then had a message to say that unless I paid £41.35 into our account by 2pm that day there would be a daily charge of £8. We went to a Barclays branch, and the teller said there was no problem with our account, so we were given the cash we asked for.

Five days later we had access to wifi and found a message from the TV licence authority to say our standing order had been rejected. I phoned Barclays and was told that three standing orders and a cheque had been rejected. I was told there was no evidence on the system of there being an overdraft facility in place. On our return we had four letters from Barclays saying that payments had been refused and a letter explaining about simpler overdrafts and how to avoid fees. The bank statement for the period shows £216.13 in credit and no sign of being overdrawn at any time. SM, Bedford.

A. Barclays has agreed not to impose any penalty charges on your account. But it seems that the underlying issue here is that while you refer to a £1,000 overdraft facility being in place, Barclays provides a very different statement of fact. It says that you applied for the overdraft prior to the holiday and this was only put in place while you were away.

Barclays' spokesman explains: "At the time this occurred, the customers did not previously have an overdraft. When this facility was offered, the customers felt they had sufficient cleared funds to meet their due payments and would consider the overdraft facility upon their return from holiday in Cornwall." Consequently, the initial payments that were processed during your holiday made you overdrawn.

Barclays says: "It would appear that with the combination of the bank holiday and [a] regular payment due to be paid days after, the customer did not have sufficient funds in the account." The spokesman adds: "When the customers exceeded the funds available on their account, we did indeed resolve the issue in light of their previous good conduct." The £50 goodwill payment related to the problem of making the payment to your credit card bill and has been applied to your current account.

Refund for Hertz car rental blunder

Q. I booked a car rental with Hertz for a trip to Spain and Portugal. I added a second driver to the rental request, but this was not processed. Hertz apologised, added the second driver, but told me to collect the revised contract from a Hertz office. This is impossible as Hertz does not have an office where I am visiting. When my wife phoned Hertz, she was told nothing could be done. GM, by email.

A. Hertz says that your complaint "has been investigated and resolved by the relevant teams". Its spokeswoman explains: "We have contacted [the reader] to give him a detailed explanation of why the second driver was not included in his rental. We apologised for not having offered him a clear answer when he contacted us the first time. We informed the customer that a full case review was to be carried out and that the cost of his rental has been refunded. Additionally, extra Gold Plus Rewards points have been added to his account."

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we'll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at:

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