Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Still no cheer on Christmas flight hold-up

Question: My partner flew from Germany to Dublin on Christmas Eve 2010, travelling with his two young children, to visit me over the holiday.

His Aer Lingus flight was delayed, causing them to wait nine hours at Hamburg airport and to spend Christmas Eve at a hotel in Dublin, instead of being at my home. They were not given any vouchers for food and drink during the delays, which is required under European Union law.

My partner and I have complained repeatedly, but he has not received any compensation. MW

Answer: You state that you and your partner have repeatedly provided Aer Lingus with the details of the bank account the payment was to be made into. Aer Lingus says this information was not received. When you contacted us we provided this information to Aer Lingus' media relations team to enable the payment to be made. When we checked a few days later on progress, once more Aer Lingus denied having received the account details.

We are promised that a payment for €124 (£100) has now been approved, in line with the amount requested by your partner. This should be received within the next week. It has taken us several weeks to obtain this payment and you requested additional compensation because of the continued delay.

However, Aer Lingus does not accept that the delay is its fault and has not complied with your request. A spokesman for the airline said: "Aer Lingus, in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004, reimbursed reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for additional accommodation costs. Aer Lingus cannot accept liability for consequential costs such as car hire and recommends that any individual affected in this way contacts their personal travel insurers in order to pursue this portion of their claim."

Question: My building society's lawyer has phoned me to discuss my mortgage application. Before he will speak to me he says he requires me to answer security questions to confirm my identification. This is a terrible cheek. How am I supposed to know who he is? I should not be expected to provide security details that could open the way to someone committing a fraud against me. I put the phone down on him. I think this practice could well be illegal. CW

Answer: We asked the Information Commissioner's Office for its view, but it does not share your opinion. A spokesman for the Information Commissioner said: "The Data Protection Act places a series of obligations on financial companies who hold and process peoples' data. This includes having appropriate measures in place to keep this information secure. Asking a person security questions to access details related to their account helps to stop unauthorised access to. Therefore the building society may instruct their lawyers to adopt this approach when speaking to clients. If they do adopt this approach then it is good practice to inform their customer these checks will be made. If the person has any doubts the individual they are speaking to is not a representative from their building society, then they should contact the company to confirm, before handing out any of their information."

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