VRA TONY: Thwarted pilgrimages to Bosnia and Italy left me praying I could reclaim my £1,500!
I booked two pilgrimages with Joe Walsh Tours to Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Padova [Padua] in Italy.
Both were rescheduled from the original dates to 2021.
I made payments of £574 and £50 by cheque in December 2019. I paid the balance of £900 for the Padova trip by bank transfer on January 31, 2020.
Trails and tribulations: A reader was down a huge £1,500 when the tour operator she’d booked pilgrimage trips to Bosnia and Italy with went into liquidation
At the end of April I heard from our parish organiser that Joe Walsh Tours had gone into liquidation.
My son completed an online claim form to the liquidator and my daughter approached Marks & Spencer Bank. I heard nothing from either.
My daughter and I have been in touch with M&S Bank several times since and got the impression we could make a claim. Then I received a letter saying that as I was outside the 120 days limit they would do nothing.
The £1,524 is a considerable amount for me.
T. V., Macclesfield, Cheshire.
Tony Hazell replies: YOUR letter — which details many failed attempts to get a refund from M&S Bank — is an object lesson in the perils of paying by cheque or bank transfer.
You are basically giving away extra protections offered by using a debit or credit card.
With card payments you can make a chargeback claim via your bank. This works for debit cards and also on a credit card if your purchase is less than £100.
For items costing more than £100, the Consumer Credit Act carries the force of law for credit card purchases.
You only need to pay part on your credit card for the whole purchase to be covered.
But when it comes to bank transfers and cheques — well, you are in the hands of the administrator or liquidator. Joe Walsh was based in the Republic of Ireland and is being handled there.
I am surprised you did not have travel insurance you could claim on. You should always take this out when you book a holiday as it should cover cancellations and curtailments (though read the small print carefully in times of Covid).
Egter, M&S Bank (watter, incidentally, no longer operates current accounts) recognises it falsely raised your hopes.
A spokesman says: ‘The customer was initially told that a dispute would be raised, when there were not any chargeback rights.’
It has apologised and, even better, has refunded the full £1,524 — a magnificent goodwill gesture
Please — next time you book — use a debit or credit card and buy some travel insurance.
You have YOUR say
Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some of your views on the rise in ageing mortgage holders:
If homeowners make a sensible level of contributions into a Sipp, then they should be able to afford a mortgage in retirement.
Having a mortgage can lower inheritance tax liabilities. Home loans are very cheap at the moment.
R. E., Exeter.
I felt lucky when told my mortgage application was successful after my husband and I divorced. It meant I would be paying it off until I was 70. I’d rather do that than rent.
K. S., Dublin.
The way things are going at the moment, I suspect we’ll all be working until we’re at least 75. Today’s high house prices mean many of us need longer to pay off our mortgages.
B. D., by email.
This is worrying news, as not all of us will have a job or be on the same level of pay at this point.
You could also be in poor health or facing high bills for other things. It’s certainly a concern.
P. E., Croydon, Londen.
I can’t understand why people in their 60s still have mortgages. Ek is 55 and my first house was bought for £43,000 in the 1980s with a salary of around £9,000. House prices today can be between ten and 12 times someone’s earnings.
T. P., Cheltenham.
As most young people will retire when they are past 65, it is no longer a significant milestone.
I set my repayment date to 68, knowing I’d pay less at the beginning and my pension lump sum would settle it if I needed it to.
L. B., Chester.
Part of the problem is that lots of people in their late 50s and early 60s were caught out by endowment mortgages and never questioned whether they’d be able to pay off their home loans.
U. P., Durham.
Can we swap flats with our neighbour?
We want to exchange flats with a neighbour. Ours is a two-bedroom on the first floor and theirs is a one-bedroom flat on the ground floor.
There are no mortgages and both parties would like a straight swap. Could you advise please?
E. W., Bromley, S-E London.
Tony Hazell replies: ON the surface, this sounds simple, but Sarah Dwight, a Birmingham-based solicitor who is a member of the Law Society conveyancing and land law committee, sê: ‘Just because it looks straightforward does not mean that it is.
‘The parties may think that they can just swap properties, but all of the same legal work has to be done as if they did not know each other and they were two “stand‑alone” transactions. They will both need to appoint their own solicitor.’
If the properties are leasehold then they may have different provisions — such as higher ground rent reviews — or run for different lengths.
There will also be bills, including stamp duty land tax.
Op een slag, if both properties were the same value you could have done a straight swap without tax or only have to pay it on the difference. Now you will both be taxed on the full value and this must be a realistic valuation.
Vanaf Oktober 1 this will be zero on the first £125,000, dan 2 per cent on anything from £125,000 to £250,000 and 5 per cent on the next £675,000.
So if your flats were each worth £250,000 then you would pay £2,500 each. Jammer!
Straight to the point
It’s been six months since I applied to transfer my Shawbrook Bank Isa to Nationwide. What is taking so long?
P. C., Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
The building society rang you because you forgot to include your sort code in the application.
You were told this would be emailed to its Isa team, but it was never picked up. A Nationwide spokesman apologises and says you will not lose out on any interest.
It has taken me many moons to complete enough YouGov surveys to finally earn £50. I made my claim, but the money never arrived.
J. R., Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.
YouGov apologises and says your payment was blocked for some reason, so had to be processed manually. You have been offered additional reward points as compensation.
I have approximately £7,000 of debt that I am slowly paying off in fixed instalments to three creditors.
I keep getting Facebook messages, adverts and texts about a Government scheme that will help reduce debts of this size considerably. Does this scheme exist?
B. S., via email.
These unsolicited approaches and promotions ring alarm bells.
Anyone who finds themselves struggling with money can get some free and impartial advice from a debt charity such as StepChange by calling 0800 138 1111 or Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848.
I paid £129 for a PCR test from Randox Health but it was delivered to the wrong address.
I ended up having to go to a clinic to get one, but Randox won’t respond to my emails requesting a refund.
R. L., Cheshire.
The courier seems to have made a mistake, but your contract was with Randox. After I got in contact, it agreed to refund you.
HSBC won’t pay mothers’ group refund
Van 1991 aan 2012, I voluntarily ran a mother-and-baby group, one morning a week, at a local health centre.
The mums paid £1 each for drinks and biscuits.
I opened an account with HSBC in the name of the group in September 2009.
In November 2012, we had to close the group because the clinic was being refurbished.
I closed the HSBC account and shared the remaining balance of £305.68 between the regular members and helpers.
Op Junie 15 hierdie jaar, I received a letter addressed to the group telling me we were due a refund.
I sent them the identification verification form, and copies of a household bill and my current bank statement.
They now say they are unable to pay the refund because ‘the bank account you requested the refund be paid into does not meet our payment criteria. The account holder must be the individual or entity due the refund.’
M. B., Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
Tony Hazell replies: Sometimes banking bureaucracy can make me want to pull my hair out strand by strand.
Banks must take steps to prevent financial crime but we are talking about £131 and you could prove your identity.
HSBC has apologised.
It says that when a group no longer exists, it needs to see appropriate legal documents or clear evidence to confirm where to pay the funds.
The money comes from incorrect charges on community current accounts between July 2005 en Junie 2020.
I hope you and the former members and helpers at the group enjoy your windfall.
- Write to asktony@dailymail. co.uk or Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT. Please include your phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organisation giving permission to talk to Tony Hazell. We regret we cannot reply to individual letters. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given