Questions Of Cash: Refund for unused accommodation refused

Q. I was on holiday in Mallorca in April last year, when the volcanic ash emergency struck. My hotel was booked via I was to have stayed from 13 to 20 April , paying £133.35. Because of the eruption, we had to extend the stay via Alpharooms until 29 April, at an extra £147.97. But easyJet put on extra flights, so we flew home on 27 April. Alpharooms and the hotel have refused to refund the unused element of the accommodation which cost us £37. JB, Surrey.

A. We had difficulty contacting your insurer, Columbus Direct, who eventually told us that your policy did not provide cover in these circumstances. We then spoke with Alpharooms, which is definite that under EU regulation easyJet has an obligation to meet your additional travel costs of the extra eight days accommodation – covering the nights you stayed and the additional nights that you booked, but ultimately did not use. However, as a gesture of goodwill Alpharooms has agreed to pay the two nights' accommodation that you did not use. Despite the apparent legal responsibility lying with easyJet, you have declined our offer to request the airline repay the cost of the eight nights. You believe it is unfair to expect airlines to meet the costs in these circumstances and are not prepared to ask easyJet for the money.

Q. I purchased in February last year a return ticket from London Gatwick to Accra, Ghana, with Ghana International Airways, buying the e-ticket through an online travel agency, paying by BACS transfer. I was to have flown out on 17 April last year and returned on 30 April. Because of the ash cloud, the outward flight was cancelled. In May last year, Ghana International Airways wrote to me advising that I could either have a refund via the travel agent or an alternative flight later in the year. Before I had decided, GIA suspended all flights.

Local contacts in Accra tell me the GIA offices have closed and my phone calls and correspondence has gone unanswered. Last September, I spoke to the Ghana High Commission in London which told me they were waiting for the "green light" from the Ghana government to authorise refunds to passengers. Subsequent requests for further information have been ignored. My emails to the British High Commission in Accra, and to my MP, have been ignored. SG, Blackpool.

A. It has taken us several months to make contact with all the parties involved, trying to obtain a refund – without success. Ghana International Airways has ceased trading. A spokesman for the UK's Civil Aviation Authority says: "I am afraid his only option is to seek compensation through his insurers. ATOL is not an issue here and by all accounts the airline is as good as defunct, so he has no one to pursue for Denied Boarding Compensation. This case really does highlight the need to book airline tickets and holidays with a credit card. Whatever subsequently happens, passengers have a level of protection through the Consumer Credit Act. It cannot be emphasised enough that paying by BACS or in cash for airline tickets is a very high risk strategy."

While some travel insurance policies would have covered this loss, your policy did not. A spokeswoman for the policy's underwriters, A2Z, says: "The travel insurance that he bought through the Quote Banana price comparison is a budget policy provided by A2Z which does not include airline financial failure and while delay and cancellation of flights is covered, it is for a range of specified circumstances – these are explained in the policy document. It is worth pointing out that several other policies – albeit costing more – are also offered on Quote Banana which do, however, include more comprehensive cover that would have provided some recompense." The policy underwriters also recommend that in future you use a credit card to make any large air ticket purchases and also that you ensure that the travel insurance policy you buy does cover financial failure of the airline. It also suggests that you consider only using ATOL-bonded airlines and ABTA member travel agencies.

Ghana International Airlines was reportedly majority-owned by the Ghana government. We attempted to discuss the situation with its High Commission in London, but it referred us to its "welfare office" where calls were not answered.

Q. My brother lives on a caravan site near Chichester. On 20 May he purchased an Indesit washing machine from Currys, paying £20 for express delivery for the next day, when my husband and I were to visit him and plumb it in. When the machine arrived in the late afternoon, we found two transit bolts were loose. We were told this was always the case. But after the delivery van left we found the other transit bolts were very tight and the upper bolts could not be removed at all. We removed the top of the machine and it was clear the machine had been heavily dropped, causing the top mountings to be fractured from the drum moulding. My brother immediately phoned Currys.

When he eventually spoke to someone, we were told to phone a number – which turned out to be the same one he had already called. When I phoned it again, an automated message said the office was now closed and that we would need to phone back the next day. When I did so, I was told we had to resolve the problem with Indesit – which was nonsense. I emailed Currys and two days later I was told my brother must go to the branch. There he was told to provide the machine's serial number – which I had already supplied. He has gone back to the store and was told they were sorting it out – but nothing is happening. This is costing my brother a lot of money as he has to keep using his mobile to phone Currys. SB, Chichester.

A. Curry's has agreed to urgently replace your brother's washing machine and, as a gesture of goodwill, to install it free of charge.

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

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
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

    IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

    £65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

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

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits