Questions of Cash: 'Unusual transaction' wine buy on John Lewis card caused a headache

 

Q. I made a purchase from the Wine Society, using a John Lewis Partnership MasterCard, as I had done many times previously. But payment was refused, apparently on the grounds that it was an 'unusual transaction'. I was not told a problem had arisen, which gave rise to some embarrassment. I have written to John Lewis twice, as I would like to know what constitutes an 'unusual transaction' so I might avoid doing this again. I also want to know whether my credit reference has been damaged. Unfortunately I have not had a reply. DC, London.

A. Justin van der Pant, general manager operations for the John Lewis & Waitrose Partnership Card, says: "John Lewis & Waitrose Partnership Card has rigorous standards in place to protect customers. We always closely monitor transactions to help prevent fraud and we may block payments and contact the customer to clarify whether the transactions were genuine. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach [the reader]. We can assure him his credit rating has not been affected. In recognition of the inconvenience caused by this particular incident, we will, as a gesture of goodwill, send [the reader] some John Lewis vouchers." You now have £50 of vouchers to spend in John Lewis or Waitrose stores.

Commission sounds high, but chasing lost shares may pay

Q. I have recently been contacted by a company called Stern Levenson, which claims it can trace a lost investment for me. It takes a 25 per cent commission, which seems high. How does it know about my lost investment, and is there a way of tracing it myself? BS, Preston.

A. Stern Levenson did not reply to our enquiry, so we made our own investigations. You bought shares in three companies in 1987. All three – Concorde Energy, Burnett & Hallamshire Holdings and Blue Arrow – used Lloyds Bank as their share registrar. As the Lloyds share registrar business was sold off as Equiniti, we contacted Equiniti for information on the three companies.

Concorde Energy became Kelt Energy on 19 May, 1988. It was acquired by Henkel Loctite Investments for cash on 6 July 1995. Burnett & Hallamshire Holdings was renamed NSM on 19 April, 1988 and HMRC accepted on 5 April, 1998 that ordinary shares in the company were of negligible value. Your only shares that could be of value are those that were issued by Blue Arrow, which became Manpower on 2 April, 1990 and was acquired by Manpower Inc on 14 May, 1991. We emailed you to ask how many shares you had in Blue Arrow but you did not reply.

However, Equiniti's own enquiries suggest that Stern Levenson does not usually contact holders of unclaimed shares, but is more likely to be pursuing unclaimed assets that were part of a legacy in a deceased person's estate, or other lost real estate. We suggested you make your enquiries as to whether any family members might have died and left you money, as this might provide an opportunity to claim the asset without paying the 25 per cent commission fee.

However, again you did not reply. Unless your personal enquiries provide the explanation, it would seem that contacting Stern Levenson to obtain the assets is worthwhile. Equiniti suggests you speak to Stern Levenson, request information on the value of the lost assets and seek to negotiate a lower commission.

Crossed lines with voda over a replacement phone

Q. We have been Vodafone customers for nearly three years. But Vodafone sent us the wrong new phone and a bill for £200, plus a £62 contract. My husband ordered a black iPhone 5S 32GB on 2 November. He needed a phone urgently as he was going in for surgery. Instead he received a white iPhone 5S on 5 November. We phoned for a replacement. After 32 minutes, the line went dead.

On a second call, he was promised someone would contact him. They didn't. I phoned again and was told the request for a replacement phone had not even been logged. I was promised the correct model would be with us in four days. But my husband then had another call from a person at Vodafone, who said she had no idea our enquiries were to request a replacement handset. My husband asked her to explain the procedure for returns, which she did, very briefly. When he asked her to repeat these, she said: "I have said it once, and I cannot repeat", and hung up! I believe this is in complete breach of the seven-day returns policy. It is terrible service. KF, London.

A. Vodafone apologises. A spokeswoman says: "We're sorry the reader has had this experience, especially at such a stressful time. We have spoken to her husband to apologise. The unwanted phone is now back with us and although we offered to send a replacement, he has decided against this and has reverted to his old phone and price plan. We have credited the account with £30 as a gesture of goodwill and we will review our processes to see what went wrong in this case."

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

Compare with the Independent: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

    £150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

    Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

    £221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

    Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

    **Financial Services Tax**

    £35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit