Barclays goes ballistic on card 'con' claims

"I think it's outrageous, extraordinary - I'm almost stumped for words." This was the sulphuric reaction from a Barclays Bank spokesman to a press campaign, launched yesterday, that branded Rowan Atkinson's TV adverts for Barclaycard a "complete con".

Jonathan Biles, chief executive of WorldCover Direct, an insurance company, issued a five-page press release that blasted: "With rubber-faced comedians advertising the 'free' travel insurance cover available though credit card purchases, WorldCover Direct warns travellers to read the small print before relying on their blandishments."

It quotes Mr Biles saying: "It's a complete con. The impression is being given that there are high levels of cover when in fact there are none. Barclaycard Visa's travel insurance, for example, only provides cover for up to pounds 50,000 in the event of death, provided you bought your holiday on the card, and that's it!

"Anybody relying on their credit card to provide travel insurance wouold be well advised not only to check what cover they have, but also to carefully check excesses on items like carpets or binoculars, which can often be so high as to undermine the whole value of the cover."

A Barclays spokesman who was shown the statement went ballistic: "I think the whole tone of it is outrageous. It really is a bit strong describing free extras as a con. We've always said you should get separate travel insurance." So will Barclays sue? "I couldn't comment - we'll have to look at it."

How to incentivise a workforce: Ashstead, which claims to be the biggest self-operated plant hire group in the UK, has a monthly profit share scheme in which employees are paid according to the money they have collected from clients.

Ashstead rents out dump trucks, air compressors and the like to builders and industrial sites. Peter Lewis, chairman, announced two big acquisitions and a rights issue yesterday. He also observed that since it was the end of the month all the employees would be scouring the country seeking to collect cash from their clients. "Generally we get the cheques because they're quite big lads," he said.

Alliance & Leicester customers may have been grinning over their pounds 2.5bn share bonanza, but at the Council of Mortgage Lenders press conference yesterday morning there were only scowls.

As the CML big-wigs sat down to disclose the latest repossession figures, a spokeswoman had to explain that the CML's new chairman of one week's standing could not attend. He is Peter White, chief executive of Alliance & Leicester, who had other things to announce.

The CML spokeswoman explained huffily: "The chairman does not always have to appear and often doesn't." Across town at the Alliance's own press conference on its flotation, not everything was sweetness and light, either. They had to hurriedly convene a second conference as they had forgotten all the Sunday paper journalists.

The Right Honourable Christopher Chataway of four-minute mile fame yesterday retired as a non-executive director of BET, the industrial services conglomerate, having hit the 65 barrier. Mr Chataway set the pace for Sir Roger Bannister when he broke the four-minute mile back in 1954. Yesterday he said he still keeps in contact with Sir Roger and the other racer that day, Chris Brasher.

Mr Chataway will remain as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, but his 22-year stint at BET ended as a result of a 65-year age limit for non-execs which he helped to introduce eight years ago. "Norman Tebbit is a month younger than me or something, and he will be retiring from the BET board in the next month or two," he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific