We had to cancel our Kenyan honeymoon due to Covid-19. The safari camp is keeping our $1,400 (£1,142 at the time) deposit, so we claimed against our Axa travel insurance to get this back.
But Axa has rejected the claim, even though it reassured me I was covered before we cancelled.
It says this is because it was a package holiday, which simply isn’t the case. We booked our international flights and the camp independently. The flights have been refunded by Emirates and Qatar Airways.
Honeymoon hell: A couple had their claim for a cancelled honeymoon trip wrongly denied with the insurer claiming they had booked a package holiday
We complained and a senior member of the team called to say that, after reviewing the case, they still deemed it to be a package holiday.
This seems to be because we paid for the camp and the transfers from Nairobi airport to the savannah landing strip on the same invoice. How else are we meant to get there? Axa has paid £75 compensation.
D. U., by email.
Tony Hazell replies: Wriggle, wriggle, squirm, squirm. Is there nothing insurance companies won’t do in order to avoid paying a travel claim?
It’s not enough that you have lost your honeymoon, Axa chose to render its travel insurance worthless, too.
In its statement, the firm blames the pressures of the pandemic. But this really won’t wash because your case was supposedly reviewed by a senior team member.
Your invoice shows you booked your accommodation and internal flights to the camp through the safari company in Nairobi.
Any sensible person would agree that this is not a package holiday, but one element of a large, independently assembled trip. Yet Axa stuck by this absurd contention.
After my intervention, Axa promptly contacted you to say it would pay the claim after all.
Here’s its statement in full: ‘We are very sorry for the confusion caused with this claim and have now settled it in full.
‘During the first national lockdown, our travel teams received five times as many calls as usual, which put pressure on our efforts to resolve often complex claims.
‘That being said, we appreciate our service fell short, which is why we are also offering £100 in compensation.’
Straight to the point
I ordered a Sony TV online from Currys and organised to collect it from my local store, where it was brought to my car.
Two weeks later, the sound went funny, but when I tried to take it back I was referred to the manufacturer as I hadn’t purchased it from a store.
K. K., Seaford, E. Sussex.
Currys says its customers can return faulty items regardless of whether they purchased them online or in person.
However, current restrictions mean you must book an appointment before visiting one of its stores. You have been offered a £50 goodwill payment as an apology for the confusion.
My wife ordered two summer dresses from Debenhams in May, but only one arrived, along with a T-shirt four sizes too large.
I have tried to get this resolved multiple times but with no success.
G. L., Pontypridd.
Debenhams says an update to its email system was responsible for the delay. You received a £44 refund before the store announced its liquidation last week.
In August, I received a new Sim card from Virgin, which I hadn’t asked for. It wouldn’t work, and after many calls I was told I would receive a new phone to go with the Sim.
I have been promised a delivery time twice, but have received nothing. Virgin now tells me the phone I need is out of stock.
G. D., Colchester, Essex.
Virgin says it is asking customers to swap their Sim cards to ones that are compatible with its new network.
It apologises for the delay in sending you a handset that would work with your new Sim.
It has applied £20 credit to your account as a gesture of goodwill, and adds that the new phone will be with you soon.
Recently I received an inheritance, from which inheritance tax (IHT) has been deducted. As a non-taxpayer, can I claim it back?
C. W., Denbighshire.
In short, no. IHT is based on the value of the deceased’s estate at the date of their death, not the tax position of the beneficiary of an estate.
My 88-year-old mum can’t pay her TV licence
My mother, 88, has been trying to pay for her over-75s TV licence, but the name and address on it do not match.
I emailed TV Licensing on October 4, but did not receive a response. I phoned ten days later and was told the address had been altered and was now matched to my mother’s name.
Someone from the over-75s section of the organisation said he could not take payment over the phone until my mother had received some forms, but these have not arrived. When I tried to pay online, it said her details are not recognised.
She is still getting letters saying she is breaking the law.
P. W., Cumbria.
Tony Hazell replies: Dealing with this type of incompetence can be exasperating. Anyone who often assists an older relative will sympathise with your plight.
It seems an ‘administrative error’ led to the licence being cancelled, which was why you could not pay for it online.
A new licence has now been set up. Your mother will be able to join the 75+ plan to pay in smaller installments from June 2021, when the licence expires.
A spokesman says: ‘We are sorry for the inconvenience and concern caused while trying to set up a licence for Mrs W.’
Nationwide mortgage mix-up shows you must read your post
I moved a year ago and ported a Nationwide mortgage from a previous property. I also added a top-up mortgage to this.
On December 2, 2019, my old mortgage monthly payment of £942.85 came out of my account — a mistake, I think.
Then on December 12, the two mortgage payments for the new house came out — £762.17 and £1,049.05.
The £1,049.05 payment bounced as I hadn’t planned to leave that much in my account that month.
Nationwide didn’t notify me of the bounced payment, and it wasn’t until autumn this year, when my credit report suggested I had missed a payment, that I phoned the building society.
Now my credit rating is taking a bashing. I’m happy to pay if I owe anything.
G. B., Sutton, London.
Tony Hazell replies: Nationwide did indeed take a payment on December 2, but then refunded £1,007.88 on December 12 — this included an overpayment from your redemption.
But there was still not enough in your account to cover both new mortgage payments on December 13.
This led to arrears of £1,049.05 on one account. Nationwide sent a statement in January which highlighted this.
On April 3 you were granted a three-month payment holiday. Nationwide wrote on July 3 showing what your new monthly payment would be when this ended, and noting the arrears.
In August, Nationwide attempted to phone you on four consecutive days, after it wrote saying it needed to discuss your account.
You finally called on October 21, and on November 11 made the payment to bring your account up to date. Nationwide hasn’t done anything wrong. However, in view of your previous good payment history, it has updated your credit file as a gesture of goodwill.
Can I suggest in future you take a little more time to read financial statements and letters?
You have YOUR say
Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some on our article explaining how you could earn hundreds by recycling your old electrical items:
There should be a law which forces you to hand over your old smartphone when you upgrade, so that precious metals can be recovered.
If we truly care about the planet, we cannot continue to exploit it every time we want the latest ‘must-have’ item.
M. N., Gosport, Hants.
I’m just not comfortable handing over old phones and computers to a company.
I’d worry about leaving personal information on them, and what could happen if it fell into the wrong hands. We keep all of our devices that no longer work.
E. R., Berkshire.
There is money to be made from old electrical items. I sold my son’s six-year-old games console for £200 yesterday.
I couldn’t believe that I got such a good price for it. I thought it was fit for the scrap heap.
S. P., by email.
I sell my old things on an online auction site, including phones, headphones, DVDs and CDs. It’s a great way to recycle, and you can use the cash you make to buy new things.
R. S., London.
I would never sell an old laptop again. I did it once, and while I thought I had wiped it clean, a hacker targeted me soon after.
Someone bought £2,000 worth of goods on my eBay account. Fortunately, I managed to get my money back.
B. N., Sandbach, Cheshire.
Before you sell an old phone to a company, check reviews on a site such as Trustpilot.
Some firms may draw you in with a high estimate price, before offering just a fraction of this sum once they have your phone.
P. C., Essex.
- We love hearing from our loyal readers, so ask that during this challenging time you write to us by email where possible, as we will not pick up letters sent to our postal address as regularly as usual. You can write to: asktony@ dailymail.co.uk or, if you prefer, Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT — 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.