Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail's investigator for Ass on Sunday, struggling with reading corners, revealing the truth behind closed doors and winning for those who are not in the bag. Find out how to contact him.
R.K. writes: The contactless chip on my aging NatWest debit card did not work and I ordered a replacement. A few days later, the card arrived with an expiration date in June 2021 and the bank ordered me to destroy the old card.
Soon NatWest sent me another card expiring July 2021 and ordered me to destroy the existing card, which I did. I then flew to Heathrow to fly to Thailand for five weeks, but when I tried to buy goods at the airport, my new card was turned down.
I phoned NatWest and was told that the new card was canceled, but I was able to correct it in one of their stores. My holiday was a disaster and I had to contact people weekly to send me money through Western Union.
Crisis: The reader was forced to have money in Bangkok
It's easy to look back and see what happened. Your first card did not work properly anymore. The second card replaced the first one. The first card should expire soon, so that NatWest could already spend the third card as a substitute.
When NatWest sent you the third card, you wanted to destroy the first card, ignoring that you had already cut open the first card and instead would destroy the second card. Simply, if you work it out this way.
The consequences for you were less easy. When you called the bank from Heathrow, you only had five minutes to reach a consultant before your flight. He could do nothing to help. Luckily, you paid your first three nights in Bangkok in advance and had some cash.
But when that became scarce, you had to use your mobile phone to call home so people would send money on a regular basis, which you can pick up in cash at Western Union in Thailand.
NatWest told me that they recognized that they did not need the third debit card because they already used the second card. They canceled the third card, but they were still sent to you almost fourteen days later, with instructions to destroy the existing card.
The bank has now offered to compensate you with a 600 GBP payment accepted by you. This amount includes £ 150 for your mobile phone calls, £ 200 for the transfer of Western Union transfer fees and £ 250 for inconvenience.
I'm sure you'll surely try to use surrogate cards in the future just to make sure they work before you cut your existing cards and risk getting stuck in Bangkok without having to make a name.
TSB called the police – I just wanted to withdraw my money
P. T. writes: I went to the TSB store on Broad Street in Reading to earn money. I sat in the assistant chief for about an hour after I had already submitted my debit card and passport.
Then four policemen showed up and circled me and my wife. They asked why I wanted my money. I did not answer. I just went out and told the TSB I would transfer my account to a bank across the street.
I'm 86, served in the RAF and I'm a nuclear bomb veteran. I was wondering why I risked my own life to give these idiots a safe life.
Signs of the times: It can not be normal to call the police every time an 86-year-old customer wants to withdraw his own money
Her experience is a classic example of what can go wrong when a bank thinks it's best but is not sufficiently diplomatic and tactful.
It can not be normal to call the police every time an 86-year-old customer wants to withdraw his own money. That's why I asked the TSB, which makes this opportunity suspicious. The bank informed me that you had already made a major withdrawal a month earlier. This time you asked for an even bigger sum, £ 8000 in cash. They made a joke that it stays under the bed, bank employees say.
All the major banks have asked their employees to pay attention to large cash withdrawals from older customers who might become victims of "financial care" from relatives, caregivers, or the sort of gangs knocking on your door, and tell you about a loose slate Dach then demand thousands of pounds for attachment. If employees suspect this, they will notify the police. It is unfortunate that the day you were at the TSB branch, four officers appeared instead of the typical couple. It looked like an official overkill. In fact, two of the officers were trainees who learned by profession.
TSB told me I'm really sorry that you were not satisfied with what happened.
A spokesman said, "Protecting our customers from fraud is our top priority." The employees of the subsidiary followed the correct procedures.
I understand why you were upset and upset. But having seen the other side of the coin where older people are cheated, I have to say that I also appreciate why the bank's employees did what they did.
I have charged gasoline for four years … do I have to pay?
Mrs. S.C. writes: In November 2014, I decided to switch from Npower to Green Star Energy.
I changed my mind and returned to Npower before the change was complete. In 2015, I realized that I did not receive gas bills. I asked Npower and said that I was at Green Star.
So I asked Green Star and I was told I was at Npower. That's why I have not paid any gas since the end of 2014. Surely I can not pay now?
I asked both companies to look into it, and Npower told me that there had been a record of your move to Green Star but no request to scrap it and continue to supply your home with gas. Worryingly, while discussing with Green Star, I sent you a £ 1,248 estimate based on an estimate.
Green Star has not submitted the calculations I have requested to show how it reached this number, but it seems the rule that a customer can only be put off by ignoring for a year. When this rule was applied, the bill fell to just £ 332. Green Star also offered £ 100 in compensation and cut the bill to just £ 232. It says it will distribute the cost of collecting if that would help you.
Diamond trio with "Towie" link in jail
Three men who ran a boiler room and sold an investment of heavily overpriced diamonds were imprisoned after fraud of £ 415,000.
The trio were caught when police from the City of London went to Reco Commodities LLP on King William Street after reporting a break-in. They found notes about victims and scripts that show how to trick investors.
32-year-old Aaron Fay was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for cheating the conspiracy. Also sentenced were 30-year-old Martin Ball and 39-year-old Sudhir Singh Kundi, both of whom were imprisoned for three and a half years.
In the face of a ban: Aaron Fay (right) and Dan Edgar (Towie)
In addition, Fay was banned for 15 years as a corporate director. His partners in Reco Commodities – Mark Cooney and former reality TV actor Dan Edgar of The Only Way Is Essex – have not been prosecuted, but have not held executive positions for 14 and 13 years, respectively.
The police say some victims are on a "sucker list" from Kundi, who had previously dealt with them. In 2013, after serving as the head of UKLI Limited, a fraudulent investment company, he was suspended from running a limited liability company for five years.
Already in 2003, I warned that all UKLI investors would probably get a piece of expensive grass for their money. The company raised £ 69 million from 4,500 victims before closing in 2008.
If you think you are a victim of financial misconduct, please contact Tony Hetherington, Financial Mail, Derry Street, London W8 5TS, or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Due to the high number of inquiries, no personal answers can be given. Please send only copies of the original documents, which unfortunately can not be returned.