ASK TONY: Amazon charged my late husband an extra £79 for nail clippers 


In July 2016, my husband bought some nail clippers from Amazon on his credit card for £9.99. On August 3, £79 was also taken from his account. We could not understand why — we had never dealt with Amazon before.

He had to go into hospital shortly afterwards and died on November 8. All his bank details were cancelled.

I have tried to claim this £79 back with phone calls, but Amazon says it will only refund against his credit card. I explained that this was cancelled when he died and asked that it paid the money into my bank account, as I do not have any credit cards. But it has refused to do this.

J. S., Coventry.

Our reader's late husband inadvertently signed up to Amazon Prime after buying nail clippers

Our reader's late husband inadvertently signed up to Amazon Prime after buying nail clippers

Our reader’s late husband inadvertently signed up to Amazon Prime after buying nail clippers

Tony replies: Many people rave about Amazon’s good customer service. But it certainly dropped the ball this time.

Your husband inadvertently signed up to Amazon Prime, which offers free priority delivery on certain items, plus a music and movies service, for a £79 annual fee. It’s a decent deal if you use those services — but he’s not the first to sign up accidentally.

Supplying you with a refund should have been a simple affair.

But Amazon has a bizarre method of dealing with such cases, whereby a refund is made to the account the payment was made from. If this bounces back, it will then write to the customer, asking for details of where the refund can be sent.

This is far too onerous for bereaved people — especially elderly ones — and is a clear case of an internet giant designing systems that suit it, rather than considering what would be best for its customers.

While I am on the subject, Amazon also has a high-handed policy of not discussing individual cases with the likes of me, even where written permission is given. Just who do they think they are?

Why do they think when they have mistreated customers, they should be able to avoid making a public statement on the issue?

Amazon has now apologised to you and finally paid you the £79 refund, sending you a hamper as a further apology.

Straight to the point 

In March, I got a letter from British Gas saying that if I fixed my tariff until 2019, I’d receive a £50 gift card. But it is now July and I haven’t received it. J. A., by email.

British Gas has apologised for the delay in the gift card being sent. It has assured you it will be with you in the next 14 days, along with a goodwill gesture.

A recent Money Mail referred to new legislation that would permit scam victims to pursue the fraudster’s bank for compensation. When is this happening? T. S., by email.

The legislation is expected to be introduced in January next year. The Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates the industry, has proposed extending the powers of the Financial Ombudsman Service to include complaints about the bank that receives stolen funds. This could include complaints about the outcome decided by the bank or its refusal to respond. The consultation will close on September 26.

Last September, I accepted a car cover quote from Saga insurance for £467.82. After ten months of paying by direct debit, I noticed that the cost of the policy has risen to £537.90. Can you investigate? T. P., by email.

Saga says that you were quoted £467.82 initially but, as you chose to pay by direct debit, you were charged an extra £50.08 as a ‘credit’ fee for spreading the cost over the year. It insists that this would have been clearly stated. A policy arrangement fee of £20 would also have been added to the cost, making £537.90 in total.

I entered the Hargreaves Lansdown website with a view to setting up an account to buy and sell investments. It asked for my National Insurance number. Is this correct? Should I give this? G. L., by email.

Yes, it is correct and this is needed for a number of reasons.

Hargreaves Lansdown’s Danny Cox says: ‘Your National Insurance number is unique and both acts as an identification number to prevent financial crime and, in the case of Isas and pensions, helps confirm your eligibility as a UK resident.’ 

We booked a Ryanair flight from Bristol to Palma de Mallorca. It was due to leave at 8.45, but was more than three-and-a-half hours late. I completed the EU261 compensation and expense claim form online on August 23 last year.

The next day, I received an email confirming there had been a technical fault with the aircraft and saying that a compensation cheque had been authorised for the equivalent of €250 each (about £460 in total) and would be sent within 14 days.

I did not receive the cheque, so emailed Ryanair in October. The ‘claim tracker’ showed the claim was closed and paid. I emailed and was told a cheque would be posted within 28 days.

I emailed again in November and December. In January, I completed the form for a ‘lost/stolen cheque’ to enable the firm to cancel the one posted in August and reissue it. It then said it could not reissue a cheque for technical reasons, but would make the payment by bank transfer. So I sent all of my bank details again.

Since then, I have emailed and web-chatted to customer services almost every month, but still don’t have my money.

J. D., Wiltshire.

Delayed: After nearly a whole year of waiting, Ryanair's payment has finally landed

Delayed: After nearly a whole year of waiting, Ryanair's payment has finally landed

Delayed: After nearly a whole year of waiting, Ryanair’s payment has finally landed

Well, it’s almost a year late, but Ryanair’s payment has finally landed. When I made contact, it phoned you to promise payment by bank transfer or cheque and you received the money into your account the following day.

I do wonder what goes on in some customer service departments. They waste months of your time and theirs bouncing around emails when they could just pay you what’s owed. Then everyone could be happy and move on.

A Ryanair spokesman says: ‘A cheque was issued to this customer upon receipt of their claim in August 2017, but was not received by the customer, was cancelled and a bank transfer was processed which also subsequently failed.

‘Our customer service team has been in touch with this customer directly to resolve the issue.’

When my husband died seven years ago, his share of our flat was valued at £290,000, so no inheritance tax was payable.

The flat’s value has since increased a lot. On my death, will my family qualify for the £650,000 allowance given to married couples or just my tax-free allowance of £325,000?

V. L, London.

If your husband left his entire estate and his share of the flat to you in his will when he died, his estate would not have attracted any inheritance tax liability.

If that is the case, his unused £325,000 tax-free allowance can be added to yours on your death, to take the total to £650,000.

But bear in mind that if you leave the flat to your children, the personal threshold for both you and your husband could rise to £450,000. This is because you get an extra allowance for your main home. That would take the total to £900,000.

It could be even higher by the time your estate is distributed, because the main home allowance is rising.

To get more information on inheritance tax, ring HMRC on 0345 300 3900.

Write to Tony Hazell at Ask Tony,Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email — please include your daytime phone number, postal address and a separate note addressed to the offending organisation giving them 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.



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