Questions of Cash: Co-op Bank and a promised call that left me out of sorts


Paul Gosling
Saturday 06 December 2014 01:00

Q. On 3 November I called the Co-operative Bank to explain that a health insurer would be charging £1,370.40 against my account. I was told there should be no problem with the credit card transaction, but that if there was the bank's fraud department would call me. But when the insurer tried to make the transaction it was declined. I also explained that I would be travelling throughout South-east Asia from January to March next year and asked if this could be noted. The bank said I would have to call from each country to advise my local number. Is this really necessary? NL, Philippines.

A. The bank says the transaction was declined because the insurer provided incorrect account details. This would not generate a call from the fraud department as there was no attempt to conduct a fraudulent transaction. The insurer has since provided the correct details and the payment was processed. But the bank accepts it did not handle the matter efficiently. A spokeswoman says: "We accept that [the reader's] calls would have been more straightforward had we ensured more detailed notes on his account had been made." The bank apologises and has credited your account with a goodwill payment of £50, plus a £15 to cover international calls to the bank.

Cancer sufferer's iPhone anxieties

Q. In early October I updated my phone to an iPhone 5S on my contract with Three. I was diagnosed with cancer in December and surgical treatments mean I spend quite a lot of time in hospitals and travelling to and from them. It also leads to anxiety when my freedom of movement or access is restricted. I now find the handset has three faults: the screen does not always allow me to access my contacts list, I can't always answer calls and the phone sometimes gets very hot. We tried to return the handset to the store where we bought it, where the manager accepted there was a fault but refused to change the phone as the fault could not be demonstrated. He suggested we take the handset to an Apple store – the nearest one is 32 miles away. But when we went we were told we had to make an appointment and there wasn't one for two days. My husband went back to Three, insisting it was their responsibility as the contract was with them. They again refused. SB, Oxfordshire.

A. Three has now provided you with a new phone and given you a direct contact number for if you have any further problems. A spokeswoman says: "We've resolved the issue with the customer and apologise for the inconvenience caused." We wish you well with your treatment.

Faulty valve issue with my VW Golf

Q. I have a VW Golf Mark VI, bought new in 2009. A couple of weeks ago it broke down. The diagnosis was the failure of the EGR Valve, with a total repair cost of nearly £1,000. Other Mark VI owners have had similar problems and complaints to VW dealerships had resulted in "goodwill" reductions on bills of around 50 per cent. Surely valves should last the life of an engine and VW should recall the model and fix the fault. VW does not accept this, but my VW garage has matched the 50 per cent "goodwill" offer. BC, Somerset.

A. Volkswagen UK conducted its own investigation at our request, and has rejected your argument. A spokeswoman says: "The car does not have a full Volkswagen UK franchised service history and we do not have any evidence of prior repairs." VW therefore declines to provide support beyond the 50 per cent reduction on the repair bill previously agreed.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we’ll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at:

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