Belfast Telegraph

‘Airline won’t reimburse me fully for expenses it caused’

By Paul Gosling

Question: In January, I was stranded in Perth in Australia because Air Mauritius changed its itinerary without informing me.

I arrived at the airport to find my flight had departed the previous day. I was four days late returning to work, lost pay and incurred costs totalling £730, but Air Mauritius will pay me only €600 (£500). While in Perth, I unsuccessfully tried to persuade Air Mauritius to send me home using another airline. After ignoring my emails, Air Mauritius eventually offered me €600, saying: “As previously advised, your settlement has been set out by the EC Regulation 261/2004 and will not be increased.” But I believe Air Mauritius has a legal and moral duty to pay for all my extra costs incurred because of the schedule change, so I have refused its offer.

Answer: Your claim has now been reviewed by the Air Mauritius regional manager for the UK, Anthony Cowles. “Having done so, I agree that we should reimburse [the reader's] claim in full,” he says. He apologises for the problems and is processing a refund of £780 — which includes additional costs that you had not included in your claim.

Question: I cancelled my AOL account and a very rude employee informed me that even though I had just paid for another full month's usage, cancelling meant I lost all of my rights to the month I had paid for. He said I couldn't expect to get what I had paid for if I had cancelled it.

Answer: A representative of AOL Broadband says: “We don't issue refunds of payments taken prior to cancellation. However, given the behaviour of the AOL cancellations agent, which is noted in the complaint, I have agreed to refund the monthly charge in question.”

Question: On a recent trip to Turkey, I was standing behind a friend using an ATM owned by the Garanti Bank. Both his name and PIN number appeared on the screen. I think your readers should be warned.

Answer: Your email has mystified everyone we spoke to. A representative of Turkey's Garanti Bank says: “All Garanti Bank ATMs show asterisk characters instead of real characters when the PIN number is written. There is no possibility that PIN numbers can be seen by anyone.” The UK Payments Administration was also sceptical. Its spokesman Mark Bowerman says: “If it’s happening, we would suggest that UK cardholders do not use these machines and instead use ones that don't display their name and PIN.”

Question: I attempted on March 26 to transfer funds from my Nationwide FlexAccount and an existing Nationwide fixed-term ISA bond that matured on March 25 to a new fixed-term ISA bond, which then offered a rate of 4.4%. Having still not heard anything, I visited my branch on June 18. I was advised to phone the Nationwide ISA office, which informed me that although a new bond had been opened, no funds had been transferred. I was promised this would be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Yet I have still not heard anything.

Answer: Nationwide accepts that it did not “process [the] request as quickly as we would have liked”. It has agreed to open the account backdated to March 26 and apply the 4.4% rate that was available on that date. It apologises for the delay and will pay you an additional £50 as compensation. It’s also sent you the certificate of investment, for which you have been waiting.

Question: In May last year, I opened an ISA and a monthly savings account with Barclays Bank. I’m trying to close these accounts and transfer the monies to the Halifax. I requested a Bacs transfer, as this avoided a £30 administration fee for receiving cheques to close the accounts. I completed the forms in June, but then received a letter from Barclays saying the signature did not match their records. I visited the branch with my ID, which was verified, and was promised the instruction would be processed. Nothing happened, until I again had a letter saying the signatures didn’t match. I responded by writing to suggest that to speed things up, the bank make the payment by cheque, but to waive the administration fee as a gesture of goodwill. But again nothing has happened. I’ve been unable to access £6,700 of my money and lost a month's higher rate of interest. DM

Answer: Barclays apologises and has acted on your instruction to close the accounts and refund the balances. It has sent you a luxury hamper as a gesture of goodwill.

Belfast Telegraph