Questions of Cash: Red card for Abbey at Christmas time

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The Independent Online

Q. My Abbey card expired in November. Towards the end of the month, I was told it was on its way. On the last day of November I phoned again and was told my card had been sent to an address I lived at five years ago. I was promised a new card. I have a one-week-old baby, I am due to move home in the next two weeks, and I need access to my account. Now I can't even do my Christmas shopping. PA, by email.

A. Abbey's spokesman says: "It's common knowledge that the bank is in the process of one of the largest changes to its IT and processes ever seen in the UK, which involves moving 18 million customers to a new banking system. Part of this involves improving inconsistent historic information we had about a small number of customers. This is a relatively straightforward procedure, but in some instances it requires some manual inputting of data. We are taking every opportunity to verify this information, and where appropriate we ask our staff to reconfirm addresses if we believe there is a discrepancy between the customer address and external sources (such as a credit reference agency) or between products. In this instance, it looks as though this was not fully updated." Abbey says there was a human error, which has now been corrected. It has offered you 100 compensation.

Q. I decided to buy my holiday euros on the internet and found that M&S Money offered the best rate and free home delivery. I filled in the order form online and submitted it, then another window opened asking me to decide whether I would authorise this transaction or not. Suddenly I realised I would not be home to receive the money, so I clicked "no thanks" and closed the window. No order or purchase confirmation was sent to my email. Two days later, my husband phoned me to say money had been delivered. I checked my bank account and the amount had been deducted. I need the euros, so there is not a problem. But why did the transaction go through if I did not authorise it? And why was there no emailed confirmation of it? MC, by email.

A. The authorisation request was in respect of whether you wished to use Mastercard's secure payment system, Securecode. You had already completed the transaction as far as M&S Money was concerned. M&S Money does not confirm a transaction by email as they believe this would create a potential security risk if another person read the email and realised that cash was being sent by mail.

Q. We booked flights to Prague with easyJet for July this year, also booking a hire car with Europcar through the website. We were promised that if the flight was delayed, a representative of Europcar would wait with our car. But when we arrived, the Europcar desk was closed and we were an hour away from our destination. We rented a car instead from Czechocar. We have written to easyJet and Europcar four times seeking repayment of our 70 deposit, but have had no reply. SS, Guildford.

A. Europcar confirms that easyJet properly received your reservation, but says that for reasons it is investigating, this reservation was not logged by Europcar's Prague airport office. It has now repaid your 70 deposit, plus 50 compensation.

Q. I ordered a pair of weighted exercise shoes in my usual size online from Love Those Shoes for 115. When they arrived, I wore them in the house for 15 minutes to try them, after which I had a big blister on one heel. The company refuses to exchange them although its literature says customers can do this. I was told that by wearing them I had accepted the shoes and an exchange was not possible. I only wore them in the house and they are undamaged. AR, Hertfordshire.

A. At our request, Love Those Shoes agreed that you could return the shoes so it could inspect them for wear. If there were no signs of wear, it would exchange them. Love Those Shoes says that it found "signs of wear excessive to simply trying the shoes for fit and suitability" and "discolouration and soiling". It says it could not resell the shoes and refuses to accept the shoes back. It has sent them back to you.

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;

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