In February, intruders broke in to my home, using a blowtorch to burn off the locks on two PVC double-glazed doors to the conservatory and the kitchen.
I claimed for two replacement doors with my home insurer, Ageas, as both doors and frames were damaged.
At the time of my initial call, it offered a cash settlement of £717, even though it had no visual evidence of the damage.
Intruders broke into one reader’s home using a blowtorch but her insurer refused to accept a quote from a local firm to replace the doors
I declined and sent it photographic evidence, along with two quotes from reputable local companies — one of which had fitted the original doors. These came in at £1,782 and £1,260.
I have not claimed for the new high- security locks I have had fitted to my home. As a 75-year-old widow living alone, security is important to me, so I don’t want cheap locks and doors.
M. C., Skipton, North Yorks.
When the Ageas claims handler wrote to you, he offered £717.57, including a £100 policy excess deduction. He said this was what ‘a tradesman would reasonably charge for the works required’.
I’d have been very tempted to phone him up and ask specifically which tradesmen would do the work for the price quoted, as he seemed to have such intimate knowledge of the subject.
At my prompting, Ageas looked at your case again and told me ‘a discrepancy occurred in our calculations used to generate the costs of the repair’. It reviewed the settlement and was satisfied the quotes you obtained were fair and reasonable. So you have been able to use your local supplier.
An Ageas spokesperson has apologised and says: ‘We will be correcting our methodology for such calculations immediately.’
So, well done. Your persistence means you not only got your own claim fully covered, but may have made life easier for others, too.
You have YOUR say
Every week, Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some from our investigation into online estate agents…
My two grandsons bought a property through one major online agency. Transactions were quick and smooth, and they have nothing but praise for the staff.
N. G., Hampshire.
A three per cent fee is laughable. Most High Street agents now charge a lower fixed fee.
In my experience, online estate agents are just listers, not sellers. Why on earth would you pay upfront before your property is sold?
D. H., by email.
If I ever got involved in selling the family home, I’d be tempted to list it on the internet and make my own ‘For Sale’ board. I’d be happy to organise viewings and take people round it myself.
J. J., Farnborough, Hants.
I’ve sold a flat and a house in the past three years. Both times, it was easy to find a decent High Street agent for a fee of 1 per cent plus VAT. Some of these online firms rarely secure viewings.
F. N., London.
Try selling your property at auction. We did it and got the price we wanted and completed within 28 days. The fees were no different to what the average estate agent would charge.
E. C., Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
We used a hybrid agent. They were online, but also had a small office that wasn’t on the High Street.
They packed in viewings and negotiated hard. We ended up getting above our asking price.
K. L., Hampshire.
From a buyer’s point of view, I haven’t had great experiences with online estate agents.
Many have a web-based service for booking viewings and it wasn’t worth the bother signing up just to see one property.
F. G., by email.
In 1984, I invested into what is now the U.S. Equity Fund with Invesco Perpetual.
Suddenly, after 35 years, I got a letter seeking verification of my identity, to comply with its responsibilities under anti-money laundering regulations.
One of the documents listed was an original letter from the state pensions authority giving details of a state pension. Other options included verification from professionals such as doctors or solicitors, who would demand hefty fees.
I sent my original pensions letter, showing details of the increase for the 2019/20 tax year.
To my surprise, it was rejected on the grounds that these letters are sent out as photocopies.
D. W., Essex.
I have a lot of sympathy. We are currently being driven crazy by demands for verification on a family trust set up when my wife’s father died 17 years ago.
But we are not the only ones. Investors are collateral damage in attempts to crack down on terrorists and money launderers as firms go through box-ticking exercises to satisfy regulators.
Basically, past standards of identity-checking are no longer seen as adequate.
In particular, the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017 require that companies apply ‘customer due diligence measures’ where previously obtained verification is believed to be inadequate.
Firms must ensure information they hold about customers is kept up-to-date and do check-ups at appropriate times. Those that don’t can face hefty fines.
An Invesco spokesperson says: ‘Where possible, electronic verification was carried out in order to minimise disruption to our clients, but, in a small number of cases, where this has not been possible, we have been writing to those clients for documentation.’
In your case, however, it admits it made an error in rejecting your documents. It is now giving you £50 for the stress caused.
Straight to the point
I tried to withdraw money from one of the machines in a Barclays branch in Camden, North London, but it rejected the transaction. Staff told me it was because I’m not a Barclays customer.
J. P., by email.
Barclays says there has been a misunderstanding. You do not need to be a Barclays customer to use its ATMs in branch, but you do need to be a customer to use its so-called quick deposit points.
These look very similar to cash machines, but are instead used to pay in cash and cheques, as well as view bank statements.
I sold my property last year and have not yet found another house to buy.
The proceeds are currently covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme temporary high balance protection, but this runs out next month. What should I do next?
H. W., by email.
The FSCS offers temporary cover for balances up to £1 million for up to six months where, for example, savers have received an inheritance, divorce settlement or compensation payment, or, as in your case, sold a property.
After this, only £85,000 will be covered in the unlikely event your bank goes bust.
Experts recommend you split the sum so no more than £85,000 is with any one institution. See our Star Buys table on Page 46 for tips on where to stash your cash.
In March, I took advantage of Skybet’s offer of a free £20 bet and won £280 on a random horse. Later that day, I tried to withdraw the money via its app, but it never appeared.
Skybet told me it had paid the cash into my credit card provider’s holding account, but Capital One says it cannot find it.
G. G., by email.
Skybet says some banks may delay the release of funds as a result of their own internal processes. It says it tries to sort out these issues as quickly as possible.
Capital One has now spoken to you and resolved the situation.
In October, my wife and I travelled to Canada to stay with family for two weeks. She is 78 years old and had recently had a mastectomy, and I am 80.
To make it easier, we paid £40 to have our suitcases couriered from our Post Office in Didsbury to the Gatwick Hilton, where we were staying the night before flying. Both were labelled with our names and contact details.
However, only mine arrived. We called Parcelforce and were told my wife’s suitcase had been found and would be sent to us as soon as a van was available.
But there was still no sign of it the next morning, and we had no choice but to board without it.
The case finally arrived at our destination two days before we were due to leave. By this time, my wife had had to spend £392 on medication, cheap clothes and cosmetics for the trip.
Yet Parcelforce has offered us only £100 in compensation.
L. H., Cheadle, Gtr Manchester.
Lost luggage is inconvenient, so it is no wonder you were upset. It seems the label on your wife’s case came loose after it left your home.
When this happens, the item is sent to Parcelforce’s recovery centre in Coventry, where staff log a description so it can be identified and sent to its owner.
Unfortunately, your wife’s case did not arrive there until after your flight had departed. By the time it was sent out to you, it was almost time to return home.
In its terms and conditions, Parcelforce states that customers are entitled to a 50 pc refund when goods are delayed. It adds that it does not pay compensation for financial losses arising from problems with its service, unless customers buy additional cover.
In your case, Parcelforce has gone a little further and refunded you the full £24.39 courier fee plus a £100 goodwill payment.
A spokesperson says: ‘As a gesture of goodwill, we sent the suitcase to Canada via our Global Express service. As no enhanced compensation cover was purchased, we are unable to provide additional compensation beyond the £100 we have already offered.’