Questions of Cash: ‘Why did Scottish Power need to track me down, for £149?’
Q: I have held 400 Scottish Power shares for several years. Scottish Power was recently acquired by Iberdrola. Apparently I was written to, asking whether I wished to sell my shares, but I cannot recall receiving such a letter. I have now received a letter from a company called Georgeson, which has been engaged by Iberdrola to track down those who had not responded to the original letter and seek acceptance of the offer to buy. I returned their form, indicating that I did wish to sell and have received a cheque for £1,123.03. However, I have been deducted £149.53 as Georgeson’s fee for “tracking me down” as a “non-assenting holder”. Why does Iberdrola need to engage a third party to “track me down” when I have been at this address for 19 years? Can you help me to recover the £149.53? JO, Glasgow.
A: Scottish Power accepts your argument, is waiving the fee and will pay you the £149.53 that was withheld.
Q: I have tried to use Halifax’s faster payments service, which is supposed to allow near-instant transfers to other accounts. I have used faster payments services with other banks. But the Halifax service still takes three days for a transfer to my NatWest account. Why? ZH, Sutton Coldfield.
A: Halifax explains that the faster payments process is being gradually introduced. At present it can only be used for small transfers up to a maximum value of £20.
Q: I recently damaged my car and contacted my insurer, Sainsbury’s, to ask how a claim would affect future premiums and no-claims bonus. But Sainsbury’s says it cannot give me even a ball-park figure without my making a claim, and no matter whether I provide an estimate from a garage. This means that I must make a guess about whether it is worth claiming or not. PS, Enfield.
A: A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s Finance says: “We, like the majority of insurers, apply the most up-to-date data available when calculating premiums. Unfortunately this means we are unable to calculate these early.” You have now found out that the repairs will cost about £200, which is likely to be less than the hit to your premiums and no-claims bonus, and have sensibly decided not to make a claim.
Q: Can you get back the £50,000 plus interest that I invested in an Abbey e-bond? The bond matured over two months ago and Abbey has still not repaid my money, which I invested in October last year. I was told that I had to attend my “local branch” in Exeter to get my money. When I went there, Abbey said it had made an error and had removed the money from my account! I am desperate and I feel I am being treated with contempt. Emails are not replied to and promises have not been kept. AS, Okehampton.
A: Abbey made a mistake in the way it opened the account, which has led to subsequent errors. Abbey has agreed to pay you £600 for lost interest, plus £200 as goodwill payments. The bank “unreservedly” apologises.
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