Questions of cash: ‘I broke my teeth and then got a nasty shock’: The Independent

Questions of cash: ‘I broke my teeth and then got a nasty shock’

Q. I bought travel insurance through They took my money, but sent only one page of information, providing no contact details, or the name of the underwriters. When I broke my teeth in Croatia, I was refused help as there was an excess of £75 that I had not been told about. I want my premium returned. OK, Manchester.


A. did provide you with all the relevant information, which was contained in a web page – the link for which was on the emailed policy confirmation. However, you are partially sighted and had been unable to read this. says that a £75 excess on a policy providing £5m of cover is “reasonable and in line with industry best practice”. We suggested that it refund the premium as a gesture of goodwill, but both it and the policy underwriter declined to do so. You concede that you were in error in failing to notify that you were partially sighted and therefore unable to read all the correspondence.

Q.I am a UK citizen living in Malaysia and working in Sudan. I have a monthly standing order from my Barclays account in the UK, transferring my salary to an account with Standard Chartered in Malaysia.

This arrangement has been in place for 10 years and I have held my Barclays account for 40 years. But suddenly my standing order, which had been deducted from my Barclays account, was not credited to my Standard Chartered account.

My phone calls to Barclays produced only responses that my complaint was being investigated “because of a possible financial risk” to Barclays and myself. It said it would let me know the result on completion – leaving me without money in my Standard Chartered account and serious problems.

This is not acceptable behaviour by a bank to a long-term customer. I have now been two weeks without money in my local account. BC, by email.

A. Barclays says that “administrative issues” caused the problems. It promises that these will not recur.

Q. I purchased US$4,000 in RBS American Express travellers cheques from my Royal Bank of Scotland account in Sheffield. I took these to Qatar, where I paid them into an account I held there with Standard Chartered. This money was supposed to get me through my first month in a new job. Yet three months later, the money has still not been credited to my account. Standard Chartered could not give me any reason why the funds had not been cleared. When my wife took it up with RBS, she was told that cheque clearance can take up to six weeks. If I had known I would have cashed the travellers cheques rather than pay them into my account. NA, Qatar.

A. RBS says that this is exactly what you should have done. It adds that travellers cheques are not designed to be paid into a bank account – and it is clear from your experience that they do not work efficiently when this happens. You believe that RBS should have warned you not to pay them into your account and believe its counter staff were aware of your intentions. RBS says it had no idea you were going to do so and it would have warned you if it had known. We also took the matter up with Standard Chartered – which failed to respond to us. However, almost immediately after we contacted Standard Chartered the funds were at last credited to your account – almost four months after you lodged them there.

Q. I have had repeated problems with Tiscali. It owes me money, which it has not repaid. And it failed to close my account when requested, transferring my line to BT. ID, London.

A.Tiscali accepts that you suffered a loss of service earlier in the year, which caused you to cancel your account. It says it then issued you with a credit note to cover this period, writing off the balance on your account. You then submitted a £700 claim for inconvenience, which it rejected. After the matter went to third party arbitration, a previous offer from Tiscali of £200 compensation was agreed upon.

Q. We bought a three/four bedroom bungalow in August 2004 and moved there in the November. At the beginning of 2005 we transferred our gas supply from Powergen, which is now E.ON, to EDF. We were billed by Powergen for over £200 for gas used before we switched.

About two years ago we were contacted by debt collectors: we explained that charges of over £200 for seven weeks supply was unreasonable and heard no more. Then this summer we were contacted by another firm of debt collectors. They were prepared to settle at £160: but this was still unreasonable for that short period at 2004 prices.

E.ON then sent me a revised bill of £159.96, but informed me that my account was £50.46 in credit and that they would refund the balance by cheque. Because of this, I settled the £159.96 by debit card to end the dispute. Four months later we are still waiting for the £50.46 refund.

I would not have paid the previous bill if I had not been promised the refund. NP, by email.

A. E.ON apologises. It has sent you the £50.46, plus a further £20 as an apology.

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