Questions Of Cash: ‘I have been unable to transfer money’
By Paul Gosling
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Q. I opened a Lloyds TSB cash ISA in April and arranged to transfer £11,903 from my 30-day Tessa-only ISA at the Britannia Building Society. Ten days later, Britannia asked me to call at a branch to verify my signature with photo ID, which I did on 21 April. Lloyds TSB phoned me on 11 July to say it was unable to get the transfer from Britannia. It said other customers had similar problems. Britannia says it is very busy, but the transfer should be made within a week. I cannot wait any longer because I am about to go away. RA, Newcastle.
A. Following our intervention, Britannia has completed the transfer. It has added on to the amount transferred the lost interest and is also sending you £50 as a goodwill gesture. The company said: “Unfortunately, Britannia’s processes failed on this occasion.”
Q. I signed up with Post Office HomePhone telephone service last October because it appeared to be cheaper than BT. My order was accepted and I have been using the service since then. But now I have become extremely anxious because I have had no bills and when I phone to find out how much I owe I am told that customer services cannot find any trace of my account. I am worried that I may be running up a large bill that I cannot afford to pay and that HomePhone may accuse me of not paying my bills. WJ, Cheshire.
A. The Post Office says: “We have had software issues with our HomePhone Service, which has affected some billing of customers, and we are working hard to solve the problems.” The Post Office apologises for causing you distress. It says that all customers affected will not be charged more than three months prior for line rental and six months prior for call charges. Any debts incurred before this time will be written off. A bill will be sent to you “as soon as possible”.
Q. I have a letter telling me I have won a large sum on the Spanish Sweepstake Lottery. This is very suspicious as I’ve never bought a ticket. I was tempted to phone the Spanish number to learn more, but decided against this. What would have happened had I replied? Is it my money or identity they are after, or both? How did they get my address? AN, by email.
A. This was a scam and you were right not to reply. If you do not enter a lottery, you will not win it. This is a common fraud that can be initiated either by letters or emails. The fraudsters can have several objectives. Some lottery scams claim they need an initial payment to open up a transaction channel – they may even send a cheque to demonstrate the supposed validity of the scheme, but the cheque will bounce. Fraudsters may seek to obtain bank account details for use to commit a fraud against either you or a third party. Con artists may alternatively try to trick people to claim a prize via premium-rate phone calls that can be extremely expensive. Your address may have been obtained from the electoral register, marketing data, or information published on the internet. Email addresses may be obtained from legitimate marketing data – or from a Trojan virus that has extracted data from the computer of someone you have been in contact with.
Q. I migrated from Orange broadband to the Post Office’s HomePhone service, requesting a migration code from Orange. Orange emailed me on 12 February to say this would take up to five days. I received the code on 27 February and was warned it would expire on 14 March. The Post Office told me I was paying for its service only from 14 March. On 9 July, Orange sent me a letter saying it had closed my account, but I owed Orange £22.41 for the month when I was waiting for my migration code. But my last payment to Orange was for a month’s subscription of £17.99 on 29 February, which should have covered anything owed to Orange. GH, by email.
A. Orange accepts it made an administrative error on your account, which it failed to close. It has now done so and written off the small balance shown on the account.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; email@example.com.