Questions of Cash: The paperwork wasn't right so I was left high and dry with a broken washing machine

A reader encountered a problem with a Currys washer/dryer care plan

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The Independent Online

Q. I bought a care plan from Currys 13 years ago for a washer/dryer and never called out the service. In April this year the machine went wrong and I phoned to see whether I could get vouchers in the event of the machine being a write-off. I had already ordered a replacement from elsewhere, so I did not want a new machine. I was assured that would be the case but that an engineer would need to inspect the machine. He marked his job sheet "BER" (beyond economic repair).

I then spent several hours on the phone being passed from person to person. Apparently the job sheet was impossible to locate. RH, by email.

A. The difficulty stemmed from the engineer not actually inspecting the machine. While he told you he accepted that it was beyond economic repair, and wrote that on his job sheet, he apparently also wrote that he had not carried out the inspection to confirm this. On that basis, Currys did not approve the issuing of vouchers to the value of a replacement machine.

Currys insists it has acted correctly and that the engineer must inspect an machine for vouchers to be issued. What is more, the machine has since been scrapped, making it impossible to confirm that it is irreparable.

However, Currys has agreed to issue you with vouchers for £429.95. A spokesman says: "Unfortunately, our engineer was not allowed to inspect the unit to verify its condition. In turn, we were unable to determine a repair, replacement or refund as appropriate resolution. However, as a goodwill gesture, we will send [the reader] vouchers up to the value of his original appliance."

I was given a voucher – I wanted a refund

Q. I parked my car at Newbury train station and paid for this at the ticket office. As I also needed to park the next day, I asked if I could buy a ticket for then too. I was told I could, so I did.

The next day, all the spaces were full so I had to use the local multi-storey. When I complained, the ticket office suggested I fill in a card and send it to First Great Western. Its customer services then sent me a voucher valid for a year and not a refund.

It is only £6.40 but I think that if one pays for a service that can't be provided, one is entitled to the money back, not a voucher.

I rarely travel by train and when I do I buy a ticket online, so the voucher is not convenient. IG, Newbury.

A. Neither we nor First Group's press office can understand why you have been given a voucher. We have given you the details of a contact at First Group who will send you a refund.

L&G won't transfer a pension pot

Q. I am writing on behalf of my daughter, who has lost three quarters of her pension pot after she left her job with Marks & Spencer to take employment elsewhere.

Legal & General wrote to her in October last year acknowledging her request to transfer the pension and including the relevant forms. She completed these and sent them to her new employer's pension provider, as requested by L&G.

In December, the insurer said that my daughter had not contacted it to request the transfer, despite previously acknowledging that she had done so. She was on holiday at the time, so was unable to respond immediately.

In January, L&G sent her a refund cheque of £1,562, less tax, when the transfer value of the pension pot was £5,705. In April, it said it was not possible to reinstate the policy or transfer the £5,705 to another provider.

The refund came through just five days before my daughter's two-year refund cut-off point, which would have prevented the refund being made.

My daughter never intended to take the cash and L&G knew that. She always wanted to transfer her pension pot to her new company's pension fund.

She did everything that L&G asked her to do to facilitate the transfer and within the time limit. The forms were filled in and, as requested by the insurance company, returned to the new pension provider.

What it did with them is impossible for my daughter to know. But if for whatever reason there was a breakdown in communication, it was not of my daughter's making.

This should have been a straightforward transfer from one pension fund to another. My daughter's financial welfare has been blatantly disregarded. RN, Surrey.

A. We raised this with L&G. Its spokesman says: "The [insurer's] dispute resolution committee looked at the case, and has decided not to reinstate the policy. A letter to that effect should have just gone out to [the reader's daughter], informing her of that fact, and setting out the reasons. If [the reader's daughter] wants to appeal the decision, she can do so by contacting the scheme's trustees. This has to be done in writing, and within six months of her receiving the above-mentioned letter."

We asked for the situation to be reconsidered, but received the further reply that: "We have gone through our complaints procedure, and the next avenue open to [the reader's daughter] is to raise her case with the scheme's trustees." We suggest you do this – and that if you do not receive a positive respons,e you then take the matter up with the Pensions Ombudsman Service.

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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