Questions Of Cash: 'Why hasn't my £450 bond been returned?'
Saturday 12 May 2007
Q. I left my London apartment nine weeks ago and I am still awaiting the return of my £450 bond from Red Hot Properties. I am now back in Australia and my e-mails and phone calls have been ignored. I will be in London again next week and would like to get it sorted out for then. JH, Australia.
A. Red Hot Properties are lettings agents and the problem arose when your landlord inadvertently failed to reduce your first month's rent by the amount of your holding deposit that had been forwarded to them. That failure – which Red Hot was unaware of – appears not to have been spotted during your tenancy. After our intervention, the matter was partially resolved within 24 hours. The landlord offered to make an immediate electronic transfer of the £450 – which you apparently declined to accept on the basis that you required cash. When you went to the landlord's offices on your visit back to London you were paid £350 – representing all the company's petty cash. According to your version of events, the office manager shouted at you. The office manager says that you shouted at them and were abusive. We intervened again and arranged for the balance of £100 in cash to be waiting for you in the landlord's offices, which we understand a friend will collect on your behalf.
Q. My then-boyfriend and I had a flat from February 2004 to January 2005, with electricity supplied by Scottish Power, which I paid for by direct debit. When we broke up I moved out and he stayed on until December 2005. I assumed he was now paying the electricity and I cancelled my direct debt. I heard nothing more until last year when I had a letter from a debt-collecting agency, Westcot, saying I owed £350. After I proved I had moved out and the debt was not my responsibility, Westcot wrote to me saying the matter had been sorted out. But six weeks ago I had a letter from a different debt collection agency, Buchanan, Clark and Wells, saying I now owed £464.90 for the same bill. I'm really annoyed that Scottish Power seems to have just passed the bill on to a different debt collector. FP, London.
A. The initial problem arose because of a failure by your former landlord to pass on the amended tenancy details and an oversight on the part of Scottish Power. Your supposed debt has now been removed from Scottish Power's accounts, the debt collectors have been informed, your credit reference information has been corrected and you have been sent a bunch of flowers as an apology.
Q. We bought our house in 1985 with a £30,000 mortgage from Alliance & Leicester. It was backed by a 25-year Standard Life endowment policy, in the belief that it would pay out more than the £30,000. We paid £46.30 a month and have now been told it is likely to pay out between £21,603 and £26,000. The policy and mortgage were sold through a solicitor, Gordon Michie of Hogg & Co in Denny – but neither the solicitor who advised us nor the firm now practises, I believe. Both Standard Life and Alliance & Leicester tell us they have no responsibility for any mis-selling, as they did not provide any advice. DT, Glasgow.
A. Responsibility for any alleged mis-sale lies with Hogg & Co. All solicitors are required to have professional indemnity insurance, and compensation, if there were any, would be covered by the insurer. In the case of Hogg & Co, the insurance cover was arranged by the Law Society of Scotland. Through the Scottish Law Society we made contact with Martin Hogg, who had been principal of Hogg & Co and is now a partner at Blackwood & Co. Mr Hogg is confident that there was no mis-sale, but will consider your claim. The Law Society of Scotland considers complaints against solicitors and operates a system specifically for brokering claims of mis-selling of endowment policies, which is explained on its website – www.lawscot.org.uk. You should use this system for making your claim against Mr Hogg's former firm. However, your claim for mis-selling is made more difficult to argue because prior to 1988, sellers of endowments had a common law duty of care to customers, rather than their more specific duty to assess clients' approach to risk, as was required by law from April 1988. It is likely that you are within the time limit for lodging a complaint because you made your initial complaint within three years of being notified that the endowment was likely not to repay your mortgage.
Q. I have had a dormant charge applied by Nochex, a company that makes electronic payment transfers by e-mail. I had £36.31 in my Nochex account which I last used in May 2004. I ceased to use this account when PayPal became the market leader. When I tried to access my Nochex balance, the company told me it had applied a dormant account charge of £36.31, wiping out the balance. I feel Nochex has been heavy-handed in applying this charge. DN, by e-mail.
A. Nochex points to a term in its contracts that it "reserves the right at their absolute discretion to apply an administrative charge of no more than £5 per quarter on dormant accounts". The charge it has applied is within these limits and the company refuses to refund your previous balance. Nochex appears to be within its legal rights in taking the action – though we can understand why you are annoyed.
Q. I have repeatedly requested disconnection from Talk Talk for the last 10 months and I am still waiting for that and a final bill. I keep being told disconnection will happen "within 36 hours" – but it never does. RO, by e-mail.
A. Following our intervention, your service has now been disconnected by Carphone Warehouse (which owns Talk Talk) and a final bill sent.
Compare with the Independent: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
Solar on Schools project offers green investors 'tangible, ethical assets'
easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou aims to make buying a home easier
Life expectancy calculator will allow people to plan ahead but needs to be handled carefully
Do alternative savings offer happy returns?
How to start your own internet business
- 1 ‘Leeds is on fire’: Huge chemical-fuelled blaze on Armley industrial estate leads to hazardous smoke warning for city
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Queen turns 88: David Bailey captures another side of the Queen in birthday portrait
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Compute...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET S...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: Trade Suppor...
Day In a Page
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay
A three-bedroom farmhouse with a large inglenook fireplace and exposed beams
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds