Questions of Cash: April 2014

Q. FedEx delivered a package in December, which we expected would be a Christmas present from our son in Vietnam. Instead it was a package for a family in Ipswich that was wrongly relabelled by FedEx. We sent it back to FedEx.  Just after Christmas we received a telephone call from the family in Ipswich, who had just received our parcel and wondered if we had news of theirs. Eventually – at least 12 days after it arrived in the UK – our parcel was delivered to us.  It contained a boxed gift package of coffee in FedEx packaging. The outer cardboard box was broken and the inner bag containing the coffee was split, with the coffee beans loose in the FedEx bag. This level of damage must have involved very bad handling.  I have complained repeatedly to Fedex and completed a claim for lost goods, but we have heard nothing more.  RO, Bristol.

A. A spokeswoman for FedEx apologises and explains: “On 24 December, [the reader] informed us that he had received an incorrect delivery and we apologised for the mistake.  On 3 January when [the reader] received the correct shipment, he inspected the contents of the package and found  it was damaged. In response we requested [the reader] make a formal claim for the shipment and a gift was sent to [the reader]. Following our complaints handling process we have now concluded an amicable settlement of this matter with [the reader].” Fedex declined to provide details of the settlement, but you tell us that you have received £75 to cover the original shipping costs, plus an additional $60 (£36) in respect of the damaged goods and a goodwill payment of £50.

Q. Unfortunately we have had another problem with a parcel from Vietnam immediately after you sorted out our last problem! Our son in Hanoi was visited by friends last autumn, one of whom left her Kindle behind. As he also had a bank letter to sign and send back to us he sent them both to us in one package with FedEx. We received the package, and forwarded the Kindle. Subsequently FedEx sent us a bill for £29.17 for VAT on the importation of the Kindle.  I telephoned FedEx and explained that the Kindle was not imported, so no VAT was due.  I was asked to provide proof of purchase in the UK, but I am unable to do this.  We have now had a threat of court action for non-payment.  RO, Bristol.

A. FedEx has cleared the account and promises you will not be issued with further requests for payment. “FedEx has paid the duties and taxes payable by [the reader] using our own deferment account with HMRC,” explains its spokeswoman. “As a goodwill gesture we issued a credit note on 15 March against the invoice for the duties and taxes payable by [the reader], so there is no longer an amount owing.”

Q. I have just moved back from France, where I lived for four years. I bought my new car insurance policy from Autonet Insurance, because they are underwritten by Aviva which confirmed it would honour the no claims bonus I carried over from France. After weeks of correspondence I am still told that I only had two years’ no claims, because my previous policy with Allianz was for just two years. But I was on the maximum 50 per cent no claims bonus with both Allianz and previously with Axa. My premium is more than double what it should be.  JP, Wales.

A. We took this up with Allianz, which has refunded you £74.53, representing the additional no claims bonus you should have received. A spokesman for Allianz says: “We are sorry for the delays in confirming [the reader’s] No Claims Discount from his French car insurers.  Unfortunately there was a communication issue between ourselves and Autonet Insurance regarding his insurance certificates.   This has now been resolved and the No Claims Discount has been reinstated.”

Q. I am in dispute with Barclays Bank concerning its handling of my father’s account subsequent to his death.  My original letter of complaint was sent recorded delivery over two months ago and a follow-up letter four weeks ago, yet I have not received even an acknowledgement.  The bank provided incorrect information to my solicitor as to the final balance on my father’s various accounts with Barclays. As an executor, I was concerned to find a deposit of £164,119.91 in an ‘Everyday Saver Account’ was omitted from the bank’s reply to my solicitor. What would have happened if I did not have Power of Attorney and was unaware of his finances?  Barclays has been very slow in correcting its error.  My solicitor puts his costs at dealing with this inefficiency at £750.50, while I have lost interest on the overlooked deposits.  MH, Grimsby.

A. Your complaint was in fact upheld by Barclays – but the correspondence explaining this was sent to the wrong address.  Instead of being sent to you, letters were posted to what you tell us was a former address of your father’s – from which he moved five years ago.  Barclays has a different explanation, saying its records showed this as being your current address.  It adds that it cannot respond to a new correspondence address until this is proved to be a permanent and current address.  But it admits it should have done more to determine your current address, so it has issued you with a goodwill cheque for £100. However, there is another dimension to this.  Barclays says your father died on 9 December, yet you used your Power of Attorney on your father’s account two days later – which you should not have done – to move funds from another bank into a newly opened Everyday Saver Account.  Barclays provided your solicitor with the balance on the accounts on the date of your father’s death, which therefore excluded the balance on the saver account.  Clearly, Barclays could and should have done more to inform your solicitor.  But so too, it appears, could you.

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