Questions of Cash: Poor reception for digital TV package

Q. I bought a plasma TV in July, but found that with a communal aerial the reception wasn't good. I was told the only solution was digital TV through Virgin Media. I signed up for TV, broadband and phone package. The day before installation, Virgin Media told me it had not realised mine was a shared property. I was told a new installation date would be arranged. Nothing happened, but I have received a welcome pack telling me about the service I still cannot receive. MH, Bristol.

A. There were two problems installing the cables in your flat. Normally, shared accommodation cannot be connected, which is why you were originally told it was not possible to provide the service. But efforts were made to provide a service and a neighbour and your landlord gave permission for the cabling. However, when Virgin Media sent a technician, it was realised that your property is a listed building – laying the cables would be a breach of the listed protection. Virgin Media has now fully refunded you.

Q. I set up a dual-fuel discount with Lloyds TSB Ideal, for the supply of gas and electricity, paid by direct debit. Last year, our electricity meter was changed. In February this year, our next electricity bill arrived – for more than £1,600. Our supplier, Scottish Power, told me we had not been charged electricity for 26 months. I complained to the Ombudsman, who said Scottish Power had followed procedures. Scottish Power has taken two months off the bill and said I can pay over two years, but I am on Family Tax Credit and a low income. I would have to pay £187 a month but can't afford this. CAB has advised me to make a statement of income and expenditure and send it to Scottish Power. I did, but Scottish Power has refused to help further. BA, by email.

A. Your situation, sadly, is not unique. While Scottish Power has complied with the industry code of practice, you have been left in hardship because of the failure of Scottish Power and a previous utility company to bill you properly. As you found when you inspected old bills, you were previously only invoiced for your gas consumption, not electricity. Your circumstances have been made worse because your monthly energy use is £126, which is probably more than you can afford. Scottish Power is waiving your electricity charges for September 2004 to February 2005, which it is required to do under the code of practice because of the age of the debt. It has also now agreed to enter into an affordable payment plan and advise you how to cut your energy bills.

Q. I am 63 and self-employed. Having watched my Standard Life with-profits pension dwindle, I decided to withdraw it and reinvest in a draw-down plan with another provider. Standard Life quoted me a transfer value, then reduced the figure by £6,903 because I was retiring before the due date of my 65th birthday. I had never given them this date. AW, Cranbrook.

A. Standard Life says when you took out your plan, you nominated age 65 as your retirement date. As you are transferring before this date to an income draw-down plan, the amount transferred is subject to a market value reduction (MVR), ensuring the sum you get represents your fair share of fund value. If you'd transferred to an income draw-down plan at age 65, it wouldn't have been subject to an MVR. Standard Life insists your financial adviser was told the MVR would be applied and advised of "the values available" to you under the various options. We took this up with your financial adviser, who contacted you. You now tell us that you accept that your financial adviser correctly informed you of the situation.

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;

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

    Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

    Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

    £18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

    Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing