Questions of Cash: June 2016

Q. I booked flights and accommodation in November last year through Expedia, travelling to Mauritius and leaving on 24 March this year. My kids are 12 and 14, so the flights are not eligible for Air Passenger Duty (APD). Emirates are now refunding the APD on these flights where a customer has booked the flights directly.  But passengers who have booked through a travel company have been told by Emirates to get the refund through the agency. We have been unable to obtain the refund from Expedia, can you help please?  LM, Hampshire.

A. APD was abolished for children under the age of 12 from May last year and for children over 12 but under 16 from March this year.  In many cases, flights were booked in advance of the ending of APD and so refunds were due.  In this instance, we took this up with Expedia on your behalf several months ago – see Questions of Cash, 26 March, 2016 – and had been promised that the APD refund was being processed.  So we are very unhappy that this did not happen as promised by Expedia and that you have had to contact us again to get this resolved.  We understand that Expedia had believed the airline had made the repayment.  It tells us that this has now been resolved.  A spokesman says: “Expedia is working with airlines to ensure that customers eligible for an Air Passenger Duty refund are correctly issued with that refund. We apologise for the delay in processing [the reader’s] refund request. We have been in contact with [the reader] and we are issuing her refund as a matter of priority.​”

Q. I have been contacted by an agency offering to recover a lost asset of mine, without it specifying what that asset is.  I believe the asset is a shareholding I bought in Blue Arrow many years ago.  I don’t want to pay the agency a fee of 25 per cent of the value of my assets in order to recover it – which I should be able to do myself.  I have paid a £50 search fee to the Royal Courts of Justice Miscellaneous Payments Chancery Case Management division to obtain more information. This is taking months and I am told my claim may never be resolved.  Can you shed any light on this?  BS, by email.

A. Back in 1987 the British employment agency Blue Arrow acquired the much larger US agency ManpowerGroup.  We contacted Computershare, which had been the registrar for Manpower.  It conducted a search and found that the State of Wisconsin subsequently acquired Blue Arrow.  A spokeswoman for Computershare commented.  “Any Blue Arrow shares that went unclaimed at the time of the transaction would now be escheated to the State of Wisconsin.”  We have repeatedly emailed the State of Wisconsin, but without any response. We suggest you write by recorded delivery – it cannot reasonably ignore a letter from you, as owner of the shares.  If that is not successful then despite your desire to avoid the payment of fees, we suggest you engage a solicitor to write on your behalf.

Q. I tried to buy two tickets for a gig, which I paid for through Ticketmaster.  There was a glitch with Ticketmaster’s website, which meant that it tried to take the £36.75 payment eight times.  My bank recognised there was a problem and rejected two of the attempted transactions.  But I still ended up paying for six tickets and receiving two.  I tried to raise this with Ticketmaster, but I cannot find a way of contacting it through its website.  The website instead offers answers to frequently asked questions – none of which are how do I get a refund when Ticketmaster’s website messes up.  ZW, Northern Ireland.

A. Ticketmaster says that you should have raised the matter directly with the company in the first instance.  It points out that there is a ‘contact us’ box on its website – the web address is  Ticketmaster has looked at your personal details and found that there are six accounts registered in your name: it has now closed five of those accounts and refunded you in full.   It is still trying to establish whether there was a fault on the website, or whether you accidentally used the app on your mobile phone several times.  However, it does not dispute that you received fewer tickets than you paid for.



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