Questions Of Cash: The perils of payment insurance protection
Saturday 30 July 2011
Q. Just over five years ago I went to my bank, HSBC, to ask for a loan to support my university course costs. A loan for £10,000 was approved: the cost of this rose significantly when interest and loan protection insurance was added. I was told by HSBC's staff that the insurance would cover me if I was out of work for up to 12 months. Eventually I did find myself unemployed, applied on my insurance, but to my surprise I was told that I could not claim as I had moved from a permanent job to a contract position. This has caused me considerable financial difficulty and I had to borrow from relatives and friends. I have repeatedly complained to HSBC, but it has not addressed my concerns adequately and I have not been able to speak with anyone who can help me.ZP, Uxbridge.
A. HSBC has now reviewed the sale of the policy and your circumstances and has agreed to refund your payment protection insurance (PPI) premiums in full. You will receive a payment of £3,549.45.
Q. I booked a holiday through James Villa Holidays to stay in a remote part of Umbria last September. It was intended to be special, with my son, daughter, their partners, my one-year-old grandson and my 81 year-old dad all together. We booked and paid for two cars, through James Villa. When we went to collect these from Hertz, we had to wait three hours to be seen. James Villa said we had to pay a €700 deposit by credit card, but my son-in-law uses debit cards, not credit cards. We assumed Hertz would accept the €700 in cash instead, but it refused to accept cash, or the debit card, or use my credit card to cover both cars. Hertz would only offer us a Transit van in place of the two Ford Focus cars I had booked. We had to take this and pay extra to add my son-in-law as an extra driver. James Villa has offered us a £100 voucher against a future holiday, but refuses to accept any responsibility for the problem, claiming the onus was on us to have a credit card for the second car hire. MO, by email.
A. You originally contacted us in November last year. Our repeated attempts at contacting Hertz to discuss the problems were unsuccessful, until we escalated the matter to its head office in the United States. A spokeswoman for Hertz now says: "At the time of booking, the customer was advised, in order to comply with rental qualifications and requirements, that customers must hold a valid driver's licence for one year, be over 25 and hold a credit card in their own name, which must be presented at the time of pick up for security purposes. The customer confirmed this information was relayed back to him, however, regardless of this, arrived at the branch with a debit card as the method of payment. A credit card is required as security for a deposit of any excess fees, optional charges and a full tank of fuel regardless of whether the rental is prepaid or not. Although the customer's debit card was refused as a method of payment, the branch did offer an alternative larger vehicle at no extra cost with the option of adding the second person as an additional driver. The bookings were prepaid through James Villa and not Hertz directly, and it is our understanding the customer has asked James Villa to refund the prepaid amount for the booking that was not used.
As a goodwill gesture, however, for the delay experienced at the time of pick up we have refunded the additional driver charge, €50.82. The delay experienced at the time of pick up is not the standard of service we expect our customers to receive. The request for a credit card as a method of payment is a policy in place to protect the security of both the customers and the company." A spokeswoman for James Villa Holiday makes a similar point. She says: "As [the reader] acknowledges in his question to you, he was advised by ourselves that a credit card would be required on collection of the vehicle. [He] confirmed online that he had read the terms and conditions of the car hire, which included reference to a credit card being required by each driver upon collecting the cars from Rome airport. These are standard conditions imposed by Hertz which we duly advise customers of." It adds that the normal fee for the hire of one Ford Transit is slightly more than the charge for the two Ford Focus cars that you had booked. Your problem highlights the fact that debit and credit cards are different payment mechanisms and that it should never be assumed that if a credit card is asked for that a debit card can be substituted, nor vice versa.
Note: On 16 July, Questions of Cash described The Property Ombudsman as "an industry scheme and not an independent body, backed by statute, as is the case with the Financial Ombudsman". We have been asked to clarify these comments, as they may be misleading. The Property Ombudsman makes the point that although the scheme was not established by statute, it has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading under the Consumers Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007. It also adds that the scheme is independent of estate agents and reports to a council comprised, in the majority, of non-industry members. There is an independent reviewer, to whom complaints about the The Property Ombudsman can be referred. As quoted in our previous column, The Property Ombudsman, Christopher Hamer, explains: "I am not a regulator of the estate agency industry or a consumer guardian. It is my role to review complaints made by members of the public against member agents on an impartial basis, based on the evidence submitted to me, considering an agent's obligations against the requirements of the [Property Ombudsman] Code of Practice."
We apologise for any confusion that might have been caused.
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: questionsofcash@ independent.co.uk.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting
Four million signed up for company pension scheme following government’s auto-enrolment
Money alert: Overdrafts at HSBC and First Direct
How to protect your assets if the stock markets begin to head south again
Buyers beware of new-build home headaches
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
iJobs Money & Business
£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...
£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...
£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...
£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony