Questions of Cash – May 2016

Posted on June 8, 2016 · Posted in The Independent

Q. We bought a Hotpoint washing machine and matching tumble dryer in 2013. On 3 February this year we received a letter dated 13 January telling us that our tumble dryer was subject to a recall as it is at risk of fire. I registered on the website and I was told that our machine was definitely one of the affected models.  I was promised that an engineer would be in touch within eight weeks to arrange a repair visit.  On 8 March, we received another e-mail with an update that gave us an amended estimated repair date of December.  This is ten months from when we originally received notification of the fault and recall.  Hotpoint has told us that we can continue to use our machine, but not leave it unattended.  We specifically bought a machine with a delay timer as it is easiest for us to run the machine overnight, or when we are at work.  I could live with not using the tumble drier unattended for short time, but not for nearly a year.  These things need to fit around our busy lifestyle, not the other way around, and we simply cannot risk using the machine when we are not there.  I do not believe that our house insurance would cover damage caused by a fire when we have been told not to use the machine unattended.  Hotpoint has offered a replacement machine at a discounted rate.  But this would not match our washing machine and I think Hotpoint has a cheek asking us to buy a replacement machine because the one we bought at full price is not fit for purpose and it cannot arrange a repair in a reasonable time.  CS, North Shields.

A. We share your opinion that Hotpoint was being unreasonable. We do understand the huge logistical problem facing Hotpoint, which has to arrange a very large recall and repair operation following the widely publicised failures of some of its tumble driers.  However, this is not a problem caused by you or other Hotpoint customers and there is an obligation on Hotpoint to resolve the matter in a reasonable manner.  We have been unimpressed that although we raised this with Hotpoint in February, it was late April before it provided a solution.  The good news is that you tell us that Hotpoint has now agreed to provide a replacement machine free of charge and has found a model that matches your existing washing machine.  Hotpoint told us:  “The safety of consumers is our number one priority which is why we work hard to resolve all customer matters as quickly and efficiently as we can. Our customer services team has contacted [the reader] and we are working to address her concerns.’’  Hotpoint’s website – https://safety.hotpoint.eu/ – provides details of the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda branded tumble driers affected by the safety problem.  These were manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.  “In some rare cases, excess fluff can come into contact with the heating element and present a risk of fire,” explains the website.  There is a function on the website for people to check if their models are at risk.

Q. I have collected Citibank Thailand Platinum Select credit card reward points. I am supposed to be able to use these with EVA Air by transferring them to the EVA Air Infinity Mileagelands airmiles scheme.  I successfully transferred the points out of the Citibank scheme, but when my wife tried to use the EVA Air points for a flight upgrade she was told EVA Air does not accept them.  I have phoned Citibank, which has assured me that the points were transferred and told me that it has re-informed EVA Air that it is engaged in a joint venture to accept the points.  ML, Thailand.

A. EVA Air accepts that it made a mistake. A spokesman for the airline explains: “The problem appears to be the result of miscommunication between [the reader’s wife] and our EVA Bangkok office about use of EVA Air Infinity MileageLands mileage points converted from CitiBank credit card reward points.”  The fault, says the airline, was the result of a new member of staff being unaware of the scheme and providing wrong information.  “This incident is a reminder to us of the importance of thoroughly training all of our new representatives in every aspect of our operations and services, including Infinity MileageLands member benefits,” admits the spokesman. Your reward points have now been accepted and EVA Air apologises.