Questions of Cash: ‘Nationwide says ATM loss was my fault. It wasn’t’: The Independent

Q: £300 was stolen from my Nationwide account, but Nationwide refuses to refund my loss. It has rejected my request for help on the grounds that it says I admitted that I left my card in an ATM – but I have made no such admission. AO, Dagenham.



A: Nationwide has investigated your loss. It concludes that shortly after you deposited £200 into an ATM, the balance on your account was checked and £300 was immediately withdrawn. Nationwide believes this indicates you left your card in the ATM after making your deposit and that someone else made the withdrawal while your PIN authorisation was still valid. A spokeswoman for Nationwide says: “Under the terms of the account, a customer will be liable if they have acted negligently or without reasonable care,” so Nationwide will not cover your loss. This is normal practice for banks and building societies in these circumstances. However, you may still complain to the Financial Ombudsman. Nationwide accepts it did not handle your initial complaint with sufficient speed or efficiency and is sending you a hamper as a goodwill gesture.

Q: Can you do something about Alliance & Leicester? It has applied a £5 charge to my account as an “underfunding fee”, when it was only the application of the fee which made the account go overdrawn, and then a £75 charge for exceeding the overdraft limit. This is a vicious circle that looks to me like daylight robbery. ET, London.


A: Quite simply, no we can’t! We have spent many column inches in recent months airing readers’ complaints about this bank, but the grievances continue. A&L refuses to refund your charges, saying they comply with its terms and conditions – including those you agreed to on setting up your account, that it contains at least £500. You say that it was only later that the bank changed its terms and conditions to enable it to levy charges if this minimum funding level was not maintained. A&L responds that it notified you of the changes in September or October last year. You deny this. A&L also says that it warned you that you were underfunding your account before it levied charges. Your complaint will be reconsidered once a court decision has been made on the legality of banks’ charges.


Q: We returned home from a great Thomson holiday in Cyprus on 27 August. We travelled in a party of eight, paying an additional £56 for hot meals on the flight for the adults. On the return flights, the airline did not have enough meals for the whole plane and did not supply my party with meals. We were advised to reclaim the cost on our return. Despite emails and letters I have not received any refund. CC, by email.

A: Thomson apologies and is sending you the full refund.

Q: I bought a house and cancelled the broadband and phone calls services that Tiscali provided at my former address. When I phoned to cancel, I was told that my last payment would be collected the following month and that I did not need to cancel the direct debit as this would be done automatically. Instead, I noticed several weeks later that Tiscali was still collecting money from me. When I phoned, Tiscali promised this would be sorted out and I would be repaid what I had overpaid. When I contacted customer services on a fourth occasion, I was told by the supervisor that there was nothing to be done and that the finance department were investigating and this would take two weeks. After six months of this, I have made £89.25 in payments for a service I have not been receiving and Tiscali has failed to return my money. HJ, by email.

A: Tiscali accepts that it made errors on your account and apologises, and the company has now fully refunded your overpayment.

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