Questions Of Cash: 'Where's my digital camera gone?'

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The Independent Online

Where's my digital camera gone?

Q: In April last year, my daughter ordered a digital camera for me on eBay. The camera was delivered while we were away, so my husband went to the Parcelforce depot to collect it, where he was told that it had been returned to America. But I went online and, according to the parcel item number, it had been collected.

I wrote to Parcelforce, which referred the matter to the Royal Mail. When the Royal Mail failed to respond, I complained to Postwatch, which got nowhere. I tried to report the loss to the police, but they said it was a Royal Mail matter. The Royal Mail then told us to claim from the US postal authority, even though the camera had arrived here and been recorded at the depot. We have lost a camera that cost £100. AH, Billericay

A: We have had no more success than you, though the Royal Mail did issue a statement: "Parcelforce Worldwide apologises to your reader for the problems she experienced in receiving her camera posted to her from the USA," it said. "As we commented in our reply to Postwatch in August 2005 on this matter, we have no record or trace of this item in our system. The parcel was posted with the US Express Mail System and any claim for the missing item must be made by the sender to the US postal authorities. They will deal with it in accordance with the conditions of posting for the service used."

As this column has commented before, Postwatch seems unable to hold the Royal Mail to account for the sometimes very poor quality of its services.

Q: We held a Safeway Mini Cash ISA for seven years, which was transferred to Abbey's management on the purchase of Safeway by Morrisons. We have since had Kafkaesque problems with account management, including withdrawal forms not arriving despite repeated requests, and not being able to withdraw funds from the account. D&AC, Honley

A: Abbey accepts that it let you down in not responding efficiently to your attempts to withdraw money from your account, but can't explain why this happened. It says that as Abbey had always administered the Safeways ISAs, nothing changed on Morrisons' purchase of Safeways, other than the name of the account.

For a free financial check-up, write to Questions of Cash, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail

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