Questions of Cash: March 2015

Posted on August 4, 2015 · Posted in The Independent

Q  I had surgery in 2012 to correct differences in the size and shape of my breasts, for which I paid MYA Cosmetic Surgery.  The operation did not go as planned because of an additional procedure undertaken by the surgeon, which I had not requested, paid for, or authorised and which left heavy scarring and a lump in one breast.  MYA eventually accepted that remedial surgery was necessary, but I wanted a different surgeon as the person who conducted my operation was under investigation by the General Medical Council.  Despite promising to provide an alternative surgeon, I have not been given a date for either a consultation or the surgery and MYA has refused my request for a refund.  KL,

A  MYA strongly rejects your complaint and denies that it has acted incorrectly, pointing to a comprehensive investigation conducted by the company into your complaint.  It also points out that the General Medical Council investigation into one of its surgeons was not about his medical competence and so did not affect his ability to conduct surgery.  It points out that while you have lost confidence in this surgeon, it is this surgeon who owes you a duty of care.  MYA says that while it has offered you alternative surgeons with whom to have consultations, none has been willing to take over that duty of care to you by undertaking further surgery.  A spokesman for MYA explains: “At present MYA are only able to refer [the reader] back to [the consultant] for any further surgery in order for him to fulfil his duty of care.  This is a standard procedure we follow with all patients who are expressing concerns… MYA see no reason why it would not be applicable to [the reader] to follow the same procedure as other patients with concerns and communicate such concerns directly with the operating surgeon in the hope to [sic] rectify this as soon as possible.  [The surgeon] is keen to actively address any patients with concerns and would liaise with them direct to ensure they are seen by him as soon as possible.”  Given your lack of confidence in this surgeon, this creates an impasse.Although there is an ombudsman service for complaints about healthcare quality provided by NHS bodies, it does not cover private sector providers such as Mya.  The Parliamentary and Healthcare Ombudsman therefore suggests that you lodge a complaint with ISCAS, the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service.  MYA is a member of ISCAS and had itself indicated early in its correspondence with you that if you were unhappy with the outcome of its review of your complaint that you could refer the matter to ISCAS.  We contacted ISCAS on your behalf, which is now examining your complaint and Mya’s response.

Q  I renewed my annual car insurance with 1st Central Insurance in early January, paying in full. I got married on January 23. I notified 1st Central by phone of my change of name and marital status, for which they charged me £34.51 – £30 as an administration charge, plus a premium increase of £4.51.  When I queried these charges, the operative joked ‘maybe you are a more dangerous driver once you are married’.  I complained via the website and requested a refund, but the response did not deal with my points.  Why has the premium gone up and why am I charged an administration fee for a policy change that does not involve any paperwork?   HF, Warwick.

A 1st Central accepts it got it wrong when it increased your premium.  A spokeswoman says: “In the process of updating [the reader’s] details an error was made by an agent which led to the additional charge of £4.51. We will conduct a full investigation to establish why this error occurred and to ensure it does not arise in the future.”  1st Central will refund the premium increase and, as a gesture of goodwill, the administration fee – though it insists this was applied correctly in line with the agreed policy terms and conditions.

Q  I have used Skype for many years and my laptop has automatically connected me to the service.  For some reason, my laptop recently stopped doing that and required me to enter my password – which I could no longer remember.   I tried to contact Skype. The only way I found how to do that was  to fill their online form which is supposed to enable one to change the password.  But to do this I needed the card number that I used when I opened the account, which I no longer had.  The response came back that I did not provide sufficient detail and to try again. Every time I filled in the form explaining that I had no more details, I had a reply telling me to try again. Eventually I got a sensible reply, apologising but still not providing any solution – only the same explanation about the reason why the security is important. To resolve the problem I had to go through several years of financial records to find my old card number.  Once I filled that in I was able to access my account – and found that lots of details Skype had asked for to verify my account I had never actually provided before and so was of no help!  MD, Chichester.


A  A spokeswoman for Skype responds: “The easiest way to retrieve a Skype password is for a user to enter their email address at https://login.skype.com/recovery and a password recovery token will be provided that enables them to log in to their Skype account.  For further account issues, users can reach out to our Skype Customer Service team, who respond to all queries within 24 hours. Protecting the security of users’ Skype accounts is our primary concern, so users will be asked to verify their account information so that our customer service team can resolve account enquiries with the account holder as quickly as possible.”