Questions of cash: Santander said I’d won a prize but my Kindle never came

 

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Q | I had a letter from Santander on 10 September to say that I was a prize winner in its Santander Nominee Service prize draw. The letter said I had to complete an attached form and return it to Santander by Monday 29 September by email or post.

I did this on 27 September, when I came home from holiday. I checked the website on 6 October, which confirmed that my name was on the list as a prizewinner.

The prize was a Kindle, but it did not arrive. I emailed to ask what had happened and was told that my form had not been received by post by the required date. I replied that the letter clearly stated that I could email the form, which I had done. I was then asked to resend the email, which I did. I have now been told that Santander cannot find the email. CI, Salisbury

A | A spokeswoman for Santander explains: “The winners of the prize draw were listed on the website and the competition’s terms and conditions clearly stated that confirmation was required from them within a certain timeframe … No confirmation was received from [the reader] and she did not therefore qualify for the prize … We have spoken to [the reader] to resolve any issues and sent her some vouchers.”

You tell us that you have received an apology direct from Santander, along with £125 in John Lewis vouchers, and that you are happy with the outcome.

HPI – a service that reassures car buyers

Q | In a recent Questions of Cash (20 September) I saw a reference to an HPI check for a car purchase. Can you explain what this is and how much it costs? AN, London

A | HPI is a business – a subsidiary of the automobile insurance information group Solera. It has been provided with stolen vehicle information by the police since 1947, and claims information from large insurers since the 1980s. HPI provides a check on the history of vehicles and says that one in three cars on the road has “a hidden history”. A spokeswoman for HPI explains: “When you provide the vehicle registration mark and the vehicle identification number, HPI cross-checks the information with its databases. This confirms the identity of the vehicle and whether it has been written off, had a plate change, been stolen or is on outstanding finance.” An HPI Check costs £19.99.

The soaring phone bill and a phantom device

Q | I have been a loyal EE customer since the launch of its 4G service. Last year, I upgraded to a sharer plan by adding an iPhone 5S for my grandmother and a data-only Sim for a family iPad. My agreed data allowance was 10GB.

Earlier this year my billed data usage seemed to rise significantly. I called EE  and was greeted with patronising replies about the accuracy of its monitoring. In September I upgraded my personal phone and got the chance to upgrade my allowance to 20GB for £2 extra.  But my data usage appeared to skyrocket and, according to the EE app, I used my whole 20GB in one week.

I called EE and was told that the problem must be with my grandmother’s iPhone updating itself. But her phone only allowed updates via wi-fi.

I phoned EE yet again, at which point it realised that a fourth device had been connected to my account and was using the data allowance I was paying for. WH, Uxbridge

A | EE has apologised and allowed you to close your account without penalty. You tell us that it allowed you to unlock the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S and keep them, enabling you to switch to another network. You are happy with this outcome. Have other EE customers experienced similar problems?

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we’ll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

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