Questions of Cash – April 2016

Q. My wife made a claim on her BUPA health insurance policy in January, for her hospitalisation in April last year. She was in hospital for six nights, so under the terms of our policy she is entitled to £200 per night: £1,200. This claim has still not been honoured and the eight week window for BUPA to resolve our formal complaint has passed, without the matter being resolved.  We have now received an email asking us to allow BUPA a further two weeks to consider this.  We do not want to consent to this when it is a simple claim.  We did submit the claim late, because we only realised that the policy provided this cover in December when I fell ill.  We have had a long correspondence with BUPA regarding the claim, which suggests that BUPA is very confused, and at one point BUPA said the claim had been declined.  We have provided all the necessary documentary evidence.  Considering we pay over £1,000 a year for this policy, this is very bad service.  SC, by email.

A. BUPA has now paid your claim in full. A spokeswoman for BUPA Global said:  “We are very sorry about the poor experience that [the reader and his wife] encountered while making their claim. In this case it appears that our customer service has fallen below the standard that they and all of our customers deserve. We would like to apologise to [the reader and his wife] for the inconvenience this has caused. We have now paid the claim in full and offered a gesture of goodwill for the lapse in customer service that they received.”

Q. I am a freelance writer and I have written some articles for the website I am owed about $450, which is a month’s rent for me.  I have tried for months. They used to pay me promptly, which makes me wonder what has happened.  Can you help me get my payment?  RT, by email.

A. The only contact details on the website are to send messages through the website itself or via Twitter.  But our messages via both channels have not received replies.  What is more, an online search reveals complaints from other writers who have not been paid for published work.  Without an address it will be difficult to take legal action to recover the debt – and as the website is US-based, any legal action will not be simple.  You may be best to accept that you have lost the money and avoid the business in future.

Q. I am at my wits end in dealing with Carphone Warehouse. I went into one of its stores at the beginning of December as my phone had broken. I was told that instead of having it fixed for £60, they could upgrade it for £80. To do this I had to change the account information from my mum’s name to mine.  I phoned Carphone Warehouse when I got home and changed the account payment details. The new arrangements were confirmed by Carphone Warehouse, which said the £80 would come out of my bank at the end of the month with my first bill.  But instead, £120 was debited in addition to my bill. I phoned Carphone Warehouse to be told that I needed to go into store.  I went into a different Carphone Warehouse store and was told that I had been charged the correct amount as I had cancelled my old contract and not upgraded. As I had done what Carphone Warehouse told me to do, I was appalled.  This store then rang the manager of the branch where I bought the phone, who said he remembered me, despite not seeing me and it being a month previous, and that I fully understood how much I would be charged.  He was wrong and I do not believe that he could have remembered me.  I then wrote an email, which got no reply.  I phoned repeatedly, with promises that my complaint would be escalated and calls returned, but this did not happen. I no longer want to continue my contract with Carphone Warehouse, but have no way of getting out of it.  I want at least a refund of the additional £40 I was charged.  BT, London.

A. Carphone Warehouse tells us that you have now been refunded the additional £40.  It adds that if you still want to cancel the contract you need to directly contact O2 to arrange this.

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