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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Financial Controller

    £45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

    £12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

    £22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
    10 best DSLRs

    Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

    Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes