Questions of Cash: The Independent

Q  I had nearly £22,000 in an ISA, paying 3 per cent with the Halifax.  This came to the end of its one year fixed term in June and reverted to 0.5 per cent. I opened a new ISA with the Halifax with an interest rate of 2.6 per cent.  I sent a transfer request to put the original ISA into the new ISA Direct Reward.  After a month the money was still in the old ISA running at 0.5 per cent, so I went into a branch and transferred it.  I was assured this had happened.  But when I checked my ISA online six weeks later, I found the money had been transferred instead into a Liquid Gold paying a paltry 0.05 per cent.  How can they change my ISA into a tax paying account anyhow?  I have complained, but heard nothing.  PE, Suffolk.


A  Halifax accepts it let you down, saying it could, and should, have transferred your money into the new ISA “without any difficulty”.  It has now opened the correct ISA for you, transferred your funds into this account, re-established the tax-exempt status of the account and credited your due interest.  It has also sent you a cheque for £50, recognizing “the service we provided was less than you should have expected”.


Q.  I booked a flight from Cartagena in Colombia to Fort Lauderdale, USA, with Spirit Airlines, but I was not allowed to board.  I had to apply online for an ESTA upon arrival at the airport.  Even though I arrived in plenty of time, Spirit closed the check-in desk over an hour before the flight departed and would not re-open it. I had to book a very expensive alternative flight to get me to the Miami area instead.  Spirit will not refund me for the flight I was not allowed to board, nor will they compensate me for the alternative flight I had to book.  RS, by email.


 A  Sprit says that when you attempted to check-in for the flight at the airport you did not have the necessary travel documents – the ESTA form required for foreigners making a connection in the US.  By the time you returned, the flight had closed.  It refuses to accept any responsibility for this, saying that it was your duty to ensure you had the correct documentation prior to check-in.

Q  I have received a bill that includes ludicrous charges for mobile phone internet use on an ‘unlimited data package’.  My phone was configured by the CarphoneWarehouse, in such a way that it was constantly connected to the internet, even when I had it switched off!  In one week I had, unaware of the situation, used up my allowance and consumed an extra 103MB, at a charge of £1 a MB.  This generated a bill of approximately £126 for one week of internet use.  I only found out through my calls being barred, once I had reached that debt level. BK, by email.

A  It would seem that, for some reason, your internet connection was not halted when you pressed the phone’s off button.  CarphoneWarehouse says that this can sometimes happen, depending on the model of handset used, and that it is important that consumers carefully read their handset manuals.  But CPW accepts that you do not believe you were given the correct data usage information that you needed.  CPW is therefore offering to write-off 90% of the data access element of the debt, leaving you with a charge to pay of £48.75.  It believes that this would be a reasonable amount for you to pay, given that its records show “heavy streaming usage on the phone” while it was in your possession.  As you have now returned the handset within the contract cancellation period, there would be no further charges.  CPW says that consumers cannot expect to instantly receive warnings of high charges for internet use, as these can take several days to process.  However, it is working on adopting new systems that will provide real time warnings.

Q. We have had problems with TalkTalk, our broadband   provider. We were originally with Tiscali, which was taken over by TalkTalk.  It persuaded us, reluctantly, to sign a new package with TalkTalk, which it charged for, but failed to provide.  We have complained repeatedly, without success, and have now decided to leave the service – but we want a refund for the payments we made for the service we did not receive.  We must have sent 50 emails, without reply. We were eventually promised a £40 ex gratia payment as an apology, but this never arrived as it was provided as a credit on an account that is now closed.   But to make matters worse, we have now received a bill for another £6.50.  EG, Nottinghamshire.


A  TalkTalk has now refunded all charges levied in error and has sent you a payment for the promised £40.


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