Questions Of Cash: 'Why is it so hard to use my Visa card abroad?'

Q. I am having problems with Lloyds TSB Airmiles Duo Cards. My card expired on 31 July and I expected a new card to be sent automatically. No card arrived by 26 July. I was due to go on holiday abroad three days later so I phoned and was told it had been despatched. Still it didn't arrive and, when I phoned again, I was told it had not been sent out as part of efforts to improve fraud control. I had wanted to use this card to collect the Airmiles. When I returned from holiday on 11 August there was still no card. I rang Lloyds again and was told it would arrive within seven days. It didn't. I phoned again and was told a block had been put on the card. The block is normally placed because of arrears, which I don't have, or because there has been fraudulent behaviour, which there hasn't been. I have now been assured the block has been lifted and the card will arrive within five working days. I'm not convinced. RN, by email.

A. Lloyds says there has been "some technical difficulties" which caused a delay in sending out your replacement card, which you have now received. Lloyds has credited your account with £50 and 150 Airmiles – the equivalent of spending £750 abroad on your card – as a gesture of goodwill.

Q. I work in Thailand, where I rely on my Abbey UK online linked current and savings lifetime accounts. I set up the accounts with the bank in 2008, before I left the UK. Apparently, there has been some attempted fraud using my Visa debit card and I could not access cash from my account from an ATM. I spent £8 phoning the UK to listen to piped music, before being told the block on my card had been removed. I made another four unsuccessful attempts at withdrawing cash, had to buy another three phone cards and then made four more calls to Abbey without joy. It turned out the cards had been permanently blocked and I must reopen my accounts. My wife went to our local branch, as arranged, to collect a card, but she was unsuccessful. I then made another two hours of phone calls to Abbey. I have now been told it is necessary for me to return to the UK to collect the cards in person. Can you arrange something that I have found impossible to do? ML, Thailand.

A. Abbey tells us that a replacement Visa debit card was ordered on 17 August – the date we first contacted Abbey. It was delivered to your UK home address, from where your wife despatched it to you in Thailand. New e-banking and PIN details have been set-up. Abbey apologises and is paying you £75 in compensation.

Q. I was interested to read of the problem a reader had with (Questions of Cash, 29 August). In March, I purchased a ticket to travel from Wolverhampton to London on 2 April. My plans changed and I applied for a refund of £32.65 on the same day. On checking my credit card statement at the end of June, I realised that I hadn't received the refund. Repeated attempts to get the refund since then have been unsuccessful. GE, Edinburgh. apologises. It promises you will have received the refund by the time this is published.

Q. On 28 March 2009 my family and I went away. On our return, on 23 April, the bathroom floor had been flooded with water that had come through the ceiling. When my wife switched on the lights, all the lights in the house went off. We then realised the water had seeped through the ceiling via the electrical light panel. After speaking to our insurers, PaymentShield, I obtained a quote from a roofing contractor. He said part of the roof was damaged and needed urgent repair. My neighbours told me that we had a lot of rain while we were away. But in May I received a letter from RSA, the underwriters, rejecting my claim. I now have a damaged roof, a soiled and damaged bathroom ceiling and a dangerous light fitting with no lights. VP, Pinner.

A. RSA says your policy covers storm damage, but not weather damage resulting from wear and tear, or poor maintenance. A spokeswoman explains: "Under the Beaufort Scale, a storm is defined as Force 10 and involves wind speeds of 55 to 63mph. However, slight structural damage may occur at wind speeds in excess of 47mph, or at Force 9. Force 9 is categorised as a 'severe gale'. For a claim to be processed successfully under the storm peril there must be wind speeds in excess of 47 mph and/or a rainfall of at least 4mm in one hour. According to weather information service Eurotempest, the highest wind speed while the customer was absent from the property was 31 mph. The insured must also be able to prove (by obtaining a cause of damage report) that the damage was the result of a single incident of storm, rather than generally bad weather or a combination of poor weather and an existing defect/maintenance issue. We have received confirmation from the insured's builders that the damage to the roof was the result of wear and tear, not wind or rain. In view of there being no storm conditions on or around the date [the reader] reported the claim, and due to the information given by the insured's builders, we maintain our original decision."

If you want to challenge the RSA decision you should commission a cause of damage report that supports your version of events. You may also need to find alternative evidence of the severity of the weather in your absence. You can also lodge a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service, seeking to reverse the decision.

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:

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Guru Careers: Management Accountant

    £27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

    Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

    £40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'