Questions of Cash – August 2015

Q. I flew with Iberia from Gatwick to Almeria in April.  My luggage was lost at Madrid Barajas airport. It was delivered next day, but my suitcase was badly damaged. I was given a form to complete, together with details of where to send it.  An Iberia official, on the phone, instructed me to purchase a new suitcase, with a maximum price of €150.  I purchased a replacement in Almeria for €89 and sent the receipt and my address as instructed. More than three months later, I still have not received the refund despite making several phone calls, emails and faxes at a cost of £15.90.  I was promised the refund within two weeks.  GH, London.

A. Iberia sent the payment to you on 26 May – but to the wrong address.  It promises to send a replacement as soon as it can officially confirm the cheque has not been presented.  We have requested the payment is speeded-up and that you are sent a new cheque as a matter of urgency.

Q. I was unnecessarily charged €50 by easyJet for my hand luggage on a flight from Barcelona to Gatwick.  I was compelled to pay for a bag slightly larger than allowed by easyJet to take inside the cabin. It was instead transferred into the hold of the plane. My other bag which met the hand luggage dimensions and contained my medication was also sent to the hold of the plane. EasyJet’s staff said they were running out of time for departure and they totally ignored my plea to be allowed to retrieve my medication from the bag. I want easyJet to make me a full refund. AC, London.

A. It is important for passengers to compare the dimensions of their hand luggage with that permitted by the airline before packing.  You do not dispute easyJet’s assertion that your bag was in excess of its stipulated size limit – which is 56 x 45 x 25cm.  It is therefore not surprising that easyJet still refuses to repay the charge that was apparently correctly levied.  EasyJet also reasserts its position that where flights are full it may need to put some hand luggage into the hold.  However, it is clearly wrong if easyJet’s or the airport’s staff prevented you from taking your medication from your bag.  A spokeswoman for easyJet responded: “We apologise if [the reader] felt he was unable to retrieve his medication from his bag. It is our policy to always allow passengers to carry onboard any medication they need.”  EasyJet also apologises for its failure to respond to your initial correspondence to the airline.

Q. I have a business contract with 3 mobile for one mobile phone and two mobile wifi devices.  We use the wifi devices when working from home as we are in a rural area where the BT provision is very poor. All worked well for a couple of years until the start of June.  Since then, there has been a transmitter problem that makes any form of data transfer, principally with the modems but also with the phone, virtually impossible.  I have contacted 3 repeatedly by phone, Facebook and Twitter.  Call centre staff and supervisors all promise that the access problem is being investigated and will be resolved, but refuse to give an indication as to when, or to provide an explanation of the problem.  When I asked for compensation, 3 said it will refund the line rental on the two modems and half of that on the phone for the period of the fault once it is resolved – but this takes no account of the disruption to our business.  Also the 50 per cent contribution to the phone rental is meaningless as most of the contract’s value is in the data connectivity.  DO, Scotland.

A. 3 tells us “the customer was satisfied with the resolution that was discussed”, but has failed to provide details of how the problems were resolved.  You tell us that 3 has now given you a full explanation for the access problems, which were, you say, caused by 3 having difficulty in accessing a mast site.  You add that 3 told you that it had attempted repeatedly to resolve the problem, but has had serious difficulty with this.  You say “They have refunded the line rental for June and, I understand, July.  Given their explanation of cause of the fault, I am happy to accept this despite the damage to business that has occurred.  I understand that I won’t be charged line rental for the three devices while the transmitter problem continues.”

Q. I purchased a Carlton Airblade 3.5 Badminton racquet for my son from Sports Direct.  He used it for the first time the next day and the strings broke after just ten minutes of normal playing.  I returned it to the store the day after and I was told “we don’t guarantee the strings”. I explained that I was exercising my rights as a purchaser under the Sale of Goods Act, which says that the goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.  The store supervisor was not interested and continued to refuse to take any action. IB, Cheshire.

A. Sports Direct’s spokesman responds: “Unfortunately the manufacturer stipulation is that no strings on any racquets can be guaranteed. Our customer service team have offered to have the racquet inspected by an area manager to check for any manufacturing fault. The customer was asked to return the racquet to the store at their convenience, where they would be provided with a receipt and contacted once the inspection was completed, however we are yet to receive a response from the customer on how they wish to proceed.”  We suggest you take the racquet to the store as suggested. However, as the racquet cost just £8 you may have decided it is not worth the bother.

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