Questions of Cash: We've still been hit for a bump despite collision waiver
Saturday 13 October 2012
Q. We have just returned from a lovely holiday in the Italian Alps to discover that the collision damage waiver included in our car hire with Holiday Autos is nothing of the sort and did not provide the cover we expected.
On our first day while driving an unfamiliar car in the rain on a mountain pass we brushed against a stone gatepost. This punctured a front tyre, broke the mirror and caused minor scratching – though no dents – to the front wing and door. We were distressed to find that the cost to us of this relatively minor damage was €990 (£797), which Holiday Autos' Italian partner, Maggiore, charged to my Barclaycard. This was more than double the cost of the rental, £341. This comprised €800 excess and €190 for a new tyre. These charges seem outrageously inflated. On the booking voucher, Holiday Autos says "all prices are fully inclusive of collision damage waiver". DH, by email.
A. Holiday Autos is a subsidiary of LastMinute.com. It insists it has done nothing wrong and rejects your suggestion that you were misled into believing that an excess would not apply. A spokeswoman says that the collision damage waiver is standard in all its car hire bookings, but there are exclusions which are "explained fully in our terms and conditions on our website and at the time of booking". The fact that Maggiore impose an excess of €800 to €2,100 was stated on your booking voucher, apparently.
The spokeswoman adds that this high excess is common across the car hire sector in Italy. To avoid this, she says, you should have paid extra for either a "total damage excess waiver" or a "standard damage excess waiver". Alternatively, you could have taken out your own independent insurance cover to protect you from an excess – such as the policy offered by www.carhireexcess.co.uk, which would have cost you £1.99 per day of car hire. Not reading the small print of car hire contracts can be very costly.
Q. I took out a £10,000 loan with Alliance and Leicester Personal Finance – now part of Santander – in June 2007, while I was self-employed. In September 2008 I thought I was going to have financial difficulties, caused in part by a high tax bill. I contacted all my creditors – Alliance & Leicester, Egg and HSBC – to request a delay in repaying my loans. Both HSBC and Egg refused. Alliance & Leicester did not answer and anyway I found an alternative source of finance.
In April 2009 I was contacted by a debt-collection agency that told me I had missed repayments on my Alliance & Leicester loan. I immediately made the missed repayments and arranged to have further monthly payments taken from my bank account by the debt-collection agency according to the timetable originally agreed with Alliance & Leicester.
I found out that Alliance & Leicester had sent me numerous letters to an old address advising me that I had missed payments, charging me £25 per letter. So I owed them an extra £125 for the letters. All the letters I sent to Alliance & Leicester contained my current address. I discovered in late 2011 that Santander – which had by then been taken over by Alliance & Leicester – had recorded me with credit reference agencies as being in default from March 2009 and that it had failed to record payments made to my account from that time. LL, London.
A. It seems that Alliance & Leicester cancelled your direct debit when you requested a stay on your repayments, but you were unaware of this because it wrote to advise you at your previous address. The company failed to update your address details as you did not provide proof of ID when notifying of the change of address – but you were unaware of the need to do this as the correspondence advising you went to your former address!
With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been helpful if Alliance & Leicester had written to both your old and new addresses and if you had put a mail redirection in place when you moved. Santander says: "As a goodwill gesture we have removed the outstanding £125 fee on the account and it has been closed. We have also ensured that any adverse data relating to this matter is removed from [the reader's credit file. A goodwill payment has been sent to apologise for any inconvenience caused."
Q. My wife and I booked flights with Aer Lingus from Dublin to Barcelona on 6 November, from there to go on a cruise and returning via Aer Lingus from Orlando to Dublin on 27 November. A change in family circumstances means that we cannot go on the cruise after all, so we have cancelled and lost our deposit. But we want to change the flight bookings. We have already paid €722.18, which we would like to use on other flights. Can you find out for us if this is possible? AN, Ireland.
A. We have discussed this with Aer Lingus and to be blunt we are not very happy with the airline's response. A spokeswoman says: "In this case, where both the dates of travel and routing are being changed, a change fee and fare differential is applicable. The total cost amounts to €372 per person." In other words, the cost for making the variations is greater than you have already paid for the flights. We reverted to the airline to request a further statement to explain why the charge was so high.
The spokeswoman then explained: "Various factors affect change fees such as seasonality and availability. In this case, the customers wish to change from a European to a transatlantic flight and they also wish to travel in early January which is a very busy period." However, Aer Lingus will phone you to discuss other options which may be less expensive. Unfortunately, because of the nature of your change in family situation, travel insurance does not cover these circumstances.
- 1 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
- 2 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
Day In a Page
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
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