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.

Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
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

    Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

    Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

    Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

    £475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

    Business Analyst - Banking - Scotland - £380-£480

    £380 - £480 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - Edinburgh - £380 - ...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn