Questions Of Cash: When Tesco's bills seem not to add up


Q. A few weeks ago I placed an order with Tesco's online grocery service. There was an error in the pricing and I was charged more than 10 per cent over the prices stated online. I queried this with Tesco, but I did not receive an acceptable reply from them. LK, Bath.

A. Tesco says that there was no error in the amounts charged. Prices shown on the website are indicative and are the prices that apply in the store that day. The price charged is that which applies in the store on the day the goods are delivered. "We change our prices in store and online everyday," explains a Tesco spokeswoman. "This is explained on our website under the guide price in the basket area. Customers are also advised, prior to payment, on the promotions that will expire before delivery and do have the right to refuse items on the day of delivery with a full refund."

Q. I have been trying to open a Nationwide InvestDirect account since May in the name of an elderly lady, for whom I hold Power of Attorney. She moved into a nursing home in March and the account was to hold her capital to pay her nursing home fees. Initially there were delays because Nationwide wrongly asked for proof of identity – which it didn't need because I already hold an account with them. Eventually Nationwide accepted it had been wrong. In June, Nationwide sent two account cards for my friend, for different accounts, to the address she had left three months before. My repeated attempts to find out which card can be used and to get a paying-in book have been unsuccessful. My friend is agitated by my failure to set up a channel to pay her monthly expenses. AW, London.

A. Nationwide staff twice opened your friend's account using her old address. On each occasion this was spotted and the account balance returned to zero – but without closing the accounts, so two cards were sent to your friend's old address. A third account was then opened for your friend at her new address and the cheque correctly credited to this account. But then Nationwide got things wrong again and put a "no trace" indicator on this account, preventing the account card and related paperwork going out. Nationwide assured us that the card and paperwork had then been correctly issued. But you phoned us to say that you were holding a cheque of £28,000 that needed to be paid into your friend's account urgently, before you went on holiday. The paying-in book had still not arrived and the local branch insisted you could not pay the cheque into the account without the correct paperwork. We phoned Nationwide urging it to immediately despatch the account stationery. Nationwide sent the correct paperwork by special courier. It is crediting your friend's account with £100 as a goodwill gesture.

Q. In May I paid off the remainder of a Barclaycard balance that had grown to £3,630.88. But I was furious the following month when I was charged £15.93 "trailing interest". I don't understand how this was calculated and I will never use my Barclaycard again. JK, Westcliff-on-Sea.

A. Interest is charged on credit cards for every day until the payment is received. The trailing interest is the interest due for days charged after the statement is produced, but before the payment is received. Barclaycard promises not to charge further interest on the "trailing interest" balance, providing this is cleared in full by the payment due date.

Q. I booked flights through Expedia for myself and my husband to Abu Dhabi, departing on 19 March and returning on 29 March. My mother-in-law had a stroke on 14 March and died two weeks later, so we cancelled our flights. Expedia supplied a cancellation invoice and promised that the tax of £392 would be refunded in two to 12 weeks. In early June we were promised this would come through within two weeks. I cannot get an answer from Expedia about what has happened. EC, Renfrewshire.

A. The refund was made to your bank account on 9 June. However, because Expedia failed to notify you of the payment, you were unaware that this had been processed. You correctly point out that it would be helpful if companies making refunds told their customers what they were doing. In the case of Expedia, it would also be helpful if it reduced the time it took to make refunds, which, it says, are processed "within three billing cycles".

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; cash@independent.co.uk

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