Questions of Cash: August 2014

Q. I was on holiday in Egypt in June. I received my paperwork with my flight and holiday vouchers from the travel agency, Beat the Brochure, which is also called Truly Travel. When I attended the airport for the return flight I found my tour operator had printed the wrong date on my flight ticket. I could not get home. I had to pay £980 for new tickets to return to the UK. The travel agency tells me it sent me a revised email with the changed travel arrangements, but I never received this. They had my mobile number so they could have phoned me to tell me of the changes, but they didn’t. I have bills to pay that I now can’t afford. I had an awful holiday as I spent most of it in bed with substandard food at a very average hotel, which was allegedly four stars. The fact the agent had not told us about the change in flight details just topped it off as the worst holiday ever. MH, London.

A. A spokeswoman for the travel agency responded: “Beat the Brochure have investigated this issue further and can advise the flight supplier amended [the reader’s] return flight six days prior to her UK departure date. Beat the Brochure notified [the reader] of the schedule change by email on June 6 and also sent her the supplier’s amended flight summary confirming the change. In light of this issue Beat the Brochure have reviewed their practices to ensure thatall such changes are followed up with a telephone call or text message to avoid a repeat of this issue. In the circumstances Beat the Brochure would be happy to discuss the issue of compensation with [the reader].” We agreed with you that given your level of distress over the incident we would discuss compensation with Beat the Brochure.  We asked that you list the full costs incurred, which were £980.12 for flights for yourself and your companion, £22 for food, plus additional costs when you arrived in Gatwick instead of Luton, which were £6 for a car parking space and £50 in petrol costs to be collected. Beat the Brochure has agreed to pay the full costs, plus an additional £50, and is sending you a cheque for £1,108.  You are very happy with this.

Q. You assisted me (Questions of Cash, 31 May, 2014) in obtaining compensation for mis-selling of payment protection insurance and I received payment of £299.71 from Santander. I also received £24.64 from CPP. The insurance was mis-sold because I believed that the policy provided cover for lost or stolen cards and I was unaware this was covered by the banks anyway.  It was only at the end of last year that I realised the policies had been mis-sold when I received a letter from CPP.  But CPP says it is not responsible for the mis-selling of any policies prior to 2005.  Is this correct?   ST, Essex.

A. The situation regarding responsibility for the mis-selling of PPI policies is complex, so we asked the Financial Ombudsman Service for clarification. It advises that CPP was not regulated by the financial regulator until 2005. Consequently, it is not liable for compensation for the mis-sale of any policies prior to that time.  A spokeswoman for the Ombudsman explains: “If the policy was actually sold by CPP then the 2005 time limit does apply here. The FCA (formerly FSA) only started regulating the insurance industry on 14 January 2005 and this is when CPP came under its remit. The rules can’t be applied retrospectively prior to CPP’s regulation.  If the policy was sold by an insurance intermediary that was regulated under GISC (General Insurance Standards Council – which oversaw the insurance industry before the FSA) then the consumer would likely be able to make a claim from whenever that intermediary joined up to GISC.  If the policy was sold by a bank, then it is likely the consumer would be able to make a claim for events prior to 2005.”  A word of warning to other readers, the Financial Conduct Authority has just advised that anyone who believes they were mis-sold policies by CPP – the Card Protection Plan Ltd – must submit their claims by 30 August, or else they will ruled as out of time.

Q. My mother died in March. For the previous three years she was housebound and had deliveries from Sainsbury’s both at her Brighton address and then in Surrey arranged by phone. I noticed in her things that she had a Sainsbury’s receipt indicating a Nectar balance of 65,269  points at the time of her death, which is worth over £300. I also found in her possessions three cards each with the same card number, but that number that didn’t agree with the partial number on the receipt. Sainsburys supplied the full nectar card number to myself and to Nectar, which discovered that the card that had received the points for three years did not belong to my mother.  My mother had no remaining close family apart from me and knew few people.  She had her own card which I think should have been used to collect these points. I suspect the points from her deliveries must have gone to someone else for some reason.  Sainsbury’s and Nectar now seem to be passing the query between themselves and I am keen to discover how this happened and if it can be rectified. I estimate that my mother spent around £50 nearly every week and should have acquired around £50 to £100 worth of points on that card.  This means that most of the £300 plus is likely not to be hers.   BN, Surrey.

A. We have resolved the problem, but can’t explain what happened. Nectar apologises for the problems, but argues that “privacy protection legislation” prevents it from giving us any details. You tell us that Nectar has now transferred all your mother’s points to your Nectar card – plus a significant quantity of additional points.

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