Questions Of Cash: 'We have been living in sub-zero temperatures'
Saturday 23 January 2010
Q. My fiancé has a Barclays premier account, for which we pay £20/£25 a month. It includes cover for various things, including boilers and parts. On 22 November we had a problem with our boiler and called Barclays, which sent out an engineer from another company. They temporarily fixed it, but had to order parts for a permanent repair. On 5 December the boiler failed completely and I came home to hot water and steam leaking out and bizarre noises. We rang the contractors, who said it was because of the parts we needed. But we are in sub-zero temperatures and have spent a fortune on electric heaters. The contractors say the parts were placed on order again as the previous batch were wrongly ordered. They have promised to come back, but by then it will be five and a half weeks weeks since we had proper heat and hot water at home. LH, London.
A. Barclays admits it let you down. "Barclays strives to provide excellent customer service, however in this case we have fallen short of those high standards," says a spokesman for the bank. "While the exceptional weather conditions, public holidays, and difficulties obtaining parts from businesses closed over the holiday period have all hampered attempts to help the customer, the simple fact is that it has taken too long in this instance. We have apologised to the customer, as has the contractor. This customer has received an entirely new boiler worth £1,700, and accepted an offer to pay both the extra costs of heating over the period, and received £1,000 as a gesture of goodwill."
You are unhappy with the compensation offered, which you point out is £25 per night for you and your partner to stay in a home without basic facilities. But Barclays is not prepared to improve the offer – which, it explains, is being met by the contractor. "This gesture goes far beyond the requirements of the service, which is designed to make the repairs and get the parts necessary to get a boiler running again in an emergency," says Barclays' spokesman. He argues that the terms of the contract would have been met by taking the cheaper option of repairing the boiler.
Q. I have recently been the victim of severe identity and bank fraud. I had my laptop stolen a few weeks ago, with the thief able to gain access to my internet banking and personal details. My account was emptied, with transactions totalling £14,000 – my life savings – placed on online betting websites. As my laptop was stolen outside my block of flats, the thief has seemingly used my wireless internet to commit these crimes, making them apparently untraceable.
I reported the fraud to my bank, Nationwide, within days, but received a response stating that because someone gained access to my internet banking I must have written down my security details, or told them to someone. This is untrue: I have always kept my security details secret and safe. As the thief has used my personal details, as well as my wireless internet, it seems that it is impossible to find the perpetrator. I have also had a number of fraudulent credit applications made in my name.
I understand that under new FSA regulations the onus is now on the banks to prove that customers have been severely negligent. As my laptop was password protected, and had no passwords stored on it, I fail to see how I could have been negligent. MG, Reading
A. Despite a detailed investigation conducted by Nationwide, it is impossible to understand what has happened here. You insist that you did not write down your passwords, store them on your laptop, or give them to anyone else. You are also certain that you had up-to-date virus protection software installed, which should prevent any information on your computer being copied by anyone who might have hacked into your system.
But Nationwide's investigation determined that the disputed transactions were conducted from your laptop, using your IP address, used the security code on your debit card as well as the full card number and answered all security questions without problem. On this basis, Nationwide is confirming its rejection of your claim. The police are continuing with their own investigation.
We suggest that you lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service, to have the case reviewed independently. However, you may find it difficult to persuade FOS to uphold your complaint on the basis of the information provided by Nationwide. You have sensibly notified credit reference agencies about the fraud.
Q. My house had subsidence some years ago: it was put right and certificates issued. But I have been unable to change insurance companies since, for either building or contents. I have now moved out and my daughter lives there. I have been told by my contents cover provider that I must have landlord and tenants insurance even though my daughter doesn't pay rent and I'm not a landlord. Other companies won't give me a quote for contents cover because of the subsidence. Is there a way out of this? LC, Leicester.
A. Bureau Insurance Services – 01424 220110 – specialises in providing policies in circumstances such as these. For a fee of £125, plus VAT, it will conduct a survey of the property and produce a report that it sends to four insurers, offering the best policy on the basis of the quotes it receives. The cost of the insurance depends on the condition of the property and the assessed risk, but will usually be about 10 to 20 per cent higher than the best rate in the market for a similar property without subsidence.
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: email@example.com
Crowd-to-let: How crowdfunding sites can give investors a slice of the property market for £500
Q&A: What’s the best way to invest for our baby?
Simon Read: 'Seven Families campaign offers an escape from financial and emotional distress'
After the election: What will Britain's financial future look like on 8 May?
General Election 2015: How you vote next week could affect your finances
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 Floyd Mayweather's mouthguard costs $25,000 - enough to fly to Las Vegas and back 18 times
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...
Day In a Page
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park