Questions of Cash: The Independent

Q.  ING Direct closed my account at my request, but transferred the funds – almost £90,000 – to the wrong account.  It admits this, and that it was their error, but says it cannot reimburse me until it locates the missing funds.  It has even suggested that I should track down the funds myself – and that this would be quicker!  GF, London.


A.  ING Direct transferred your money into the correct account within hours of our taking the case up for you.  ING Direct says the problem arose when you changed the external bank account that your ING Direct savings account was linked to.  Such changes of arrangement can only be made with ING Direct by phone or online, but you attempted to do so by letter.  “Anyone could be sending us a letter with a cheque and trying to get the linked account changed: we do not take this security risk,” says a spokesman for ING Direct.  Without the linked account details being correctly amended, ING Direct in error attempted to send the funds to your old account.  “At all times we knew where the money was,” says the spokesman.   He denies that you were advised to track down the funds yourself – but suggests that it should have been possible for you to arrange with NatWest to transfer the money to your new account, as it was holding it under your old account details.  Despite this, ING Direct has agreed to pay you compensation of £574 – £314 for loss of interest and £260 for your time and inconvenience.

Q  I enrolled with Red Driving Instructor training direct in October 2009, paying £3,728 through Barclays Partner Finance.  My circumstances changed and I was unable to begin the course.  I asked Red to refund the fee to enable me to clear the loan, but Red has now gone into administration.  I have been unable to obtain information about my refund request from the administrators.  MF, Chatham. 

A  Red has been taken over by Driving Results Ltd, which has taken over responsibility for providing all driver training that was pre-paid to Red.  A spokeswoman for Barclays Partner Finance says: “We provided [the reader] with a loan to pay for the course: as the course is still available, the loan remains in place.”  Barclays adds that your request to cancel the contract was outside the period in which you could cancel without charge.  Initially Barclays suggested that it would consider a proposal from you to review your repayment arrangements if you could demonstrate financial hardship.  But once you complied with this suggestion, Barclays conducted a further review – and realised that your monthly repayments had already been cut in April this year from £119.38 to £20 on financial hardship grounds.

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