Questions of Cash – October 2013

Q.  I bought an antique revolver in June from a dealer in Pennsylvania for £328.62, using my Barclaycard.  The United States Postal Service tracking code shows the item left the Chicago depot four months ago, but then disappeared. There is no trace of it entering the UK and the vendor assumes USPS lost it.  I asked the vendor to instigate a claim with USPS, but I heard nothing more and I suspect they can’t be bothered.  I wrote to Barclaycard by recorded delivery four weeks ago referring to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, asking for a full refund and giving them 14 days to respond.  I haven’t had an acknowledgement of my letter, or any offer of compensation.  AM, Birmingham.


A.  We contacted USPS on three occasions requesting information on what happened to the package, but without reply.  Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the provider of credit is jointly liable with the seller for the supply of goods.  Barclaycard says that it received your letter and responded by writing to you to request invoice documentation.  That letter – like the antique revolver – did not arrive.  Barclaycard has credited your account with the £328.62 through a chargeback.  If the seller challenges this, that credit will be reversed.  Soon after Barclaycard processed that payment the revolver was delivered to you.  You tell us that the revolver had been held for two months by the UK Border Agency, without any notification to you that it was being held, nor apparently did it provide any explanation when it was delivered.  We suspect that it might have been released because of our contact with USPS.  The UK Border Agency is an agency of the Home Office, which we contacted to request an explanation for the delay in delivery.  A Home Office spokesman declined to assist, saying: “We could not give confidential information to a newspaper.”


Q.  I bought tickets for a Neil Young concert at The O2 in London for 19 August and on 11 August booked a hotel for the night.  But when I later checked The O2 site for performance times there was a small headline to say that the concert had been cancelled. Apparently it was announced on 9 August, but I did not receive an email telling me of this. If I hadn’t looked on the website we would have gone to the concert venue and found there was no concert. I tried to cancel the hotel room, but I was told this was not possible. I emailed The O2, but have not had a response. Surely, The O2 has a duty of care to inform their customers when this happens?  As they made a service charge of £17.50, an email would be the least they could have done.  As it stands I have incurred hotel costs and have not had a refund from The O2 for the original concert tickets, so I have made a total loss of £271.50. LP, by email.


A.  A spokesman for The O2 says:  “All customers who booked through our ticketing platform were sent emails on Friday 9 August at 2pm explaining how the event had been cancelled.”  He adds that all customers whose emails bounced were phoned to advise of the cancellation, but that the email to you did not bounce.  “We completely understand the frustration and upset….  but The O2 does everything within its powers to ensure each and every ticket holder is informed of the cancellation.  We also specify in our terms and conditions that we are not responsible for travel.  The term states: ‘If an event is cancelled or postponed we will try to contact you to let you know about the refund or exchange procedures for that event. However, it is your responsibility to ascertain whether an event has been cancelled or re-scheduled and the date and time of any event or any rescheduled event.  In the event of a cancellation, postponement or material alteration of an event you will be entitled to a refund in accordance with the terms and conditions or refund policy of the authorised ticket agent from whom you purchased a ticket. Personal arrangements including travel, subsistence and accommodation in relation to the event which have been arranged by you are at your own risk and neither AEG [owners and operators of The O2] nor the organiser will have any liability for any such loss of enjoyment or wasted expenditure.’ ”  You are unhappy with this.  You say: “I didn’t get an email from them and I check and clear my spam folder almost every day. They send me emails a couple of times a week for upcoming events – always received in my inbox, but I never received one announcing the cancellation – I’m sure I would have seen that one. I booked the tickets on 25 March. The tickets have since been refunded, however, the hotel still charged for our intended stay and we obviously wouldn’t have booked this if we knew about the cancellation.”  We checked that the email address held by the O2 was correct and they are adamant that this was email addressed they used. Given the disagreement regarding the email we contacted your internet service provider – BT – to ask if it could assist in determining whether the email was sent, delivered, or mis-delivered.  A spokesman for BT said: “I’m not sure we can help here, but it would have to be direct with the customer. If the customer suspects that there is a fault with his email service then he needs to go through the usual help diagnostics, as there is a range of issues that might be at play, such as the spam folder or user settings.  More generally, we’d have to check the data rules around any kind of individual mail log extraction.”  He adds that checking on this is “not a simple thing”.

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