Q. In October 2000, I opened a mobile phone subscription with Singlepoint on the Vodafone network. Having just moved from Denmark, I had no credit history and I was asked to deposit £300 to open the account.
Q. In October 2000, I opened a mobile phone subscription with Singlepoint on the Vodafone network. Having just moved from Denmark, I had no credit history and I was asked to deposit £300 to open the account. I have repeatedly checked with Singlepoint since then and its staff confirmed that the deposit remained untouched, and one employee earlier this year promised to repay it. Instead, Singlepoint has written to me, saying it can find no record of receiving a deposit from me. Singlepoint insists I must find the original receipt to obtain the refund.
MC, by e-mail.
A. Singlepoint, which is owned by Vodafone, has refused to discuss your case with us, claiming that it is prevented from doing so by the Data Protection Act. This interpretation differs from most companies, which consider a letter from a customer to us requesting that we investigate provides implicit permission to answer queries on a reader's behalf. However, you have advised us that following our intervention you were quickly refunded with the deposit.
Q. I had car insurance with Saga Motor Insurance for two years, with my premiums collected by direct debit on the 19th of each month. When I checked my account in early February, I found that Saga had collected an additional premium on top of the normal monthly premium in the previous month. Saga's initial response was that the premium was for the period from the 2 to 19 February, which was ridiculous. It then claimed it was interest on premiums due, which was also ridiculous, as any interest is collected with the premiums. Eventually, Saga admitted it had made a mistake, but has failed to apologise.
NM, by e-mail.
A. Saga accepts that the money collected was not due, but it says this occurred because the company was unable to quickly process your cancellation of the insurance in late January. The company says that it has written twice to you to apologise and that the overpayment would have come to light promptly without your complaint. A refund has now been sent to you.
Q. I applied in February for an Abbey Postal ISA, enclosing the completed application form, my passport, a copy of an Abbey account statement and a cheque for £3,000, which I handed in to the Wood Green branch where I was given a receipt. Since then, the cheque has not been cashed and repeated calls to Abbey to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful. No one at Abbey has had the courtesy to advise me what has happened and I have now lost several weeks' interest.
A. Over recent months, Abbey's handling of applications for its cash individual savings account has been one of the most common causes for letters of complaint to Questions of Cash. Despite repeated promises by Abbey that it has got to grips with the problem, the complaints keep coming in. Your situation suggests Abbey's difficulties are continuing. Abbey says it has now traced your £3,000 and that interest on your account has been backdated so that you will suffer no financial loss. As we have reported before, Abbey explains that the response to its Postal ISA offer far exceeded its expectations and its systems have been unable to cope.
Q. You recently reported (Questions of Cash, 5 March, 2005) that people who have retired to some countries abroad are not having their state pensions uprated in line with inflation. This is because the country in which they have retired has defaulted on its promise to pay this portion under the countries' reciprocal agreements. Is there anything to prevent someone leaving a bank account open in this country, having the pension paid into it and arranging for the funds to be transferred to an account in the country of residence?
AC, by e-mail.
A. You are required to notify the Pensions Service if you are in receipt of a state pension and permanently move abroad. If you fail to do so, with the intention of obtaining a higher pension than your entitlement, you may be committing fraud.
One option may be to devise a way of spending part of the year abroad, without being regarded as being permanently domiciled there. But this would require professional advice.
Q. There is, I believe, a scheme to register a will with some authority. What is it? Is this registration done as a matter of course, or does one have to take some special action? If such a registration is made, how does an executor know?
A. You can lodge your will for safekeeping with the Principal Probate Registry, at First Avenue House, in London. Your will can also be deposited at a local Probate Registry - there are offices situated around the country. You must provide a £15 fee, the date of your will, your full name and address, your date of birth, and the full names and addresses of your executors.
The service is available both for a will and a codicil (an addition or a modification of a will). If you are unable to attend a Probate Registry office in person, you may appoint an agent to do it on your behalf, but they must be given a signed letter of authority from you.
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