Questions Of Cash: 'Why should I be facing this large charge?'


Q. In June I used Nationwide's online service to apply for a mortgage quotation. Part of the credit-checking system asked for my credit card details, which I supplied. The next day I had online and text messages saying that a property survey was being arranged. I immediately phoned Nationwide and was assured that the survey would be put on hold until I decided whether to proceed with the mortgage.

But the following day I again had online and text messages to say that the survey was being arranged. Unhappy with this, I phoned Nationwide and asked for the mortgage quotation request to be cancelled. I was promised no survey would take place – even speaking to Nationwide's surveyors to tell them not to go ahead.

A week later, I received my credit card statement, which included a charge from Nationwide for £1,074 for the survey and mortgage reservation fee, plus interest on this amount of £8.32. Nationwide has apologised and promised to refund the £1,074. But it refuses to refund the interest charged, or for all my phone calls which have probably cost me £20. MD, by email.

A. There seems to have been a misunderstanding. Where you thought you were requesting a mortgage quotation, Nationwide still says that its records show that you were actually applying for a mortgage. However, Nationwide accepts that you were very clear that you did not want a survey and that you were comparing mortgage offers. Nationwide adds that "we have fallen short of the service standards that we set ourselves". It has refunded the £1,074 and has now sent you a further £100 as compensation.

Q. I pay my British Gas bill by direct debit and have been paying £83.50 per month. I recently found I was unexpectedly overdrawn – which I have never been before. BG increased its DD in April to £149, taking the same again in May. It says it believes it underestimated our bill by £800 so is taking it in increased DDs. But at no time did it tell us. If it had, I would have transferred the money from another account and avoided overdraft charges. CR, by email.

A. BG accepts it made a mistake, apologises and is crediting your account with your overdraft charges. It has agreed to reduce the direct debit to £120 per month for the rest of this year and subsequently to £80. Your gas consumption increased substantially last year and BG is sending an energy adviser to you to assist you in bringing your energy use back down.

Q. I missed one payment date on my MBNA credit card and was charged a late payment fee. But I have subsequently been charged late payment fees on later statements, despite having paid the overlooked account in full. MBNA's helpline said that the policy is "to continue to make charges for a late payment for a period of two to three months after the event". WP, Wellington.

A. There has been a misunderstanding. MBNA charged fees for two successive late payments of your monthly account. It does not continue to charge late payment fees for one month in later months.

Q. I took out a Morgan Stanley MasterCard last December. It had a special offer of 3 per cent cashback for three months instead of the usual 1 per cent. In March my statement showed I had more than £20 due on the offer, which had not been credited to my account. I asked then for it to be credited, but it has still not been. I received just a 1 per cent cashback in April. GP, by email.

A. The Morgan Stanley MasterCard is now branded as "Goldfish". Goldfish was originally established by Centrica (owner of British Gas) and has since been bought by Discover Financial Services and is no longer owned by Morgan Stanley.

It seems that a systems problem means that customers who spent more than £2,000 on their card and who expected to get the 3 per cent cashback were only credited with the 1 per cent. Goldfish was unaware of this until customers complained. It apologises to you for the error and failing to resolve it quicker. You have now been credited with the £16.22 that you had missed out on.

Q. I took out a student loan several years ago from the Student Loans Company (SLC), which I have been repaying for eight years. Two years ago I requested a statement from the SLC and a letter stating when the balance would be paid off, which I required for my mortgage application. The letter confirmed I had nothing to pay off. But in July last year, the SLC wrote to me stating that I owed £1,400. Apparently, payments from another person had been credited to my account by mistake. My repeated requests for a revised statement detailing how the balance was calculated have been ignored. The SLC accepts it made a mistake, yet demands payment in full and in stages that I cannot afford now that I pay a mortgage. SM, by email.

A. The SLC says it has already offered to stage your repayments to make them affordable, but it is not willing to write off the amount you owe. "It is not unreasonable to expect that a customer whose loan account is receiving payments by someone else in error for a period of over three years should have taken steps to stop these payments and draw our attention to the other customer's error," argues SLC.

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.

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

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

    £250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

    Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

    £230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

    Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

    £30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower