PayPal helped it­self to my cash

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I SOLD a lap­top on eBay in Novem­ber 2009. The fol­low­ing March, a ‘ charge­back’ was raised against me by Bar­clay­card, the buyer’s credit card com­pany. This meant it was tak­ing £124.21 from my PayPal ac­count.

I con­tacted t he buyer, who con­firmed he was sat­is­fied with the lap­top and had not ini­ti­ated the charge­back. The £124.21 was then re­turned to my ac­count.

But then PayPal re­moved £114 from my ac­count and said it was con­tin­u­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion — de­spite hav­ing been given fur­ther proof from the buyer that they had got it wrong.

The buyer had bought an­other lap­top on eBay which was un­suit­able, and the charge­back should, in fact, have been raised against this ven­dor.

But PayPal said the charge­back was cor­rect.

D.B., Chatham, Kent. OH DEAR, PayPal re­ally does have egg on its face — al­though to be fair, once I con­tacted the com­pany it did im­me­di­ately of­fer you a good­will re­fund of £135.79 while it in­ves­ti­gated; it was so ob­vi­ous a mis­take had been made.

The trou­ble was PayPal firmly be­lieved t he fault lay with Bar­clay­card i n ap­ply­ing t he charge­back.

But no sooner had I set up a di­a­logue be­tween the two than PayPal came back very sheep­ishly.

Hav­ing dug deeper, it tran­spires it was ac­tu­ally PayPal’s fault the charge­back had been ap­plied to t he wrong s el l er’ s ac­count. Ap­par­ently, t he charge­back pro­ce­dure was car­ried out man­u­ally, and ob­vi­ously there are short­com­ings in the sys­tem, which PayPal is now in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

It is very apolo­getic and the re­fund of £ 135.79 ( the orig­i­nal trans­ac­tion, plus charge­back fee) has been cred­ited to your ac­count.

And in view of the poor ser­vice you re­ceived, it is also go­ing to add an­other £100 by way of apol­ogy. IN OC­TO­BER I cashed in two in­vest­ments with Stan­dard Life and was sur­prised I also re­ceived two ‘charge­able event’ cer­tifi­cates in re­spect of any tax li­a­bil­ity.

My brother ad­vised me to con­tact HMRC and ask for an R40 form to claim any tax re­pay­ments which might be owed to me.

I was told it could take up to six weeks. There was cor­re­spon­dence in De­cem­ber, when I amended some of the fig­ures re­gard­ing my bank in­ter­est.

Af­ter that I heard noth­ing. Many phone calls later, I was told in March that my pa­pers might be lost or even still in the post room!

I have since been in­formed that they have been for­warded to the right depart­ment, but it is now more than five months since I ap­plied.

Mrs E.S., Dorset. THE wheels of HMRC can turn ex­tremely slowly, but given that HMRC ap­par­ently lost your pa­per­work in the process, it did seem to me that it should quickly as­sess whether you were due a tax re­bate and ex­pe­dite any pro­ceeds as soon as pos­si­ble. And yes, HMRC agreed. I t has apol­o­gised f or t he prob­lems you en­coun­tered with a tax re­fund.

It has done its sums, too, and you’ll be pleased to hear that it cal­cu­lates you are due a tax re­pay­ment of £837.57 and a cheque will be sent out within the fort­night. LAST Oc­to­ber we booked a hol­i­day in the U.S. for this May, pay­ing a £350 de­posit. We are in our mid-70s and took travel in­surance with Saga for both of us at a to­tal cost of £647.53.

Un­for­tu­nately, my hus­band had a vari­cose vein rup­ture in Fe­bru­ary and, on his doc­tor’s ad­vice, we can­celled the hol­i­day. We quite un­der­stood that we would lose the £350 de­posit and made a claim to Saga, but it has agreed a set­tle­ment fig­ure of only £330, which I find most un­fair

given that our in­surance cost nearly dou­ble that amount.

Mrs J.B., Grays, Es­sex. I THINK there has been some con­fu­sion here about what ex­actly is cov­ered by a travel in­surance pol­icy and what is out­side its scope.

Your Saga travel pol­icy has, in fact, paid out the cost of your lost de­posit, £350, mi­nus an ex­cess of £10 per per­son, which brought the pay­out down to £330.

It is some­times dif­fi­cult for older peo­ple to ob­tain travel cover and it can be ex­pen­sive. How­ever, and I agree sadly in your case, given the cost of your travel in­surance, the pol­icy does not pay out a re­fund of the in­surance pre­mium.

This isn’t some­thing that Saga has dreamed up — with any in­surance, the pre­mium is non-re­fund­able. I AM the ex­ecu­tor of my late mother’s es­tate. Go­ing through her pa­pers, I have found state­ments from the for­mer Wool­wich Build­ing So­ci­ety (now part of Bar­clays). I also be­lieve she had some free shares from when the so­ci­ety de­mu­tu­alised, but think these may have been sold.

The trou­ble is I just don’t know how much money she may or may not have i n the two ac­counts. The state­ments show sev­eral thou­sands in each ac­count.

I have come to a com­plete stand­still in try­ing to as­cer­tain the facts from Bar­clays. I have tele­phoned and vis­ited my lo­cal branch, to no avail.

C. S., Lich­field. Staffs. YOUR prob­lem isn’t con­tentious; all you wanted to know is whether your mother’s ac­counts were still ex­tant. Bar­clays should have been able to han­dle this with­out my in­volve­ment.

At the very least, they could have sug­gested send­ing your sim­ple query to the bank’s spe­cial­ist be­reave­ment cen­tre.

It seems likely that when your lo­cal branch tried to find out the an­swers them­selves, the stum­bling block was the dif­fer­ent sys­tems used by the Wool­wich to iden­tify ac­counts.

Wool­wich ac­counts pre­ced­ing the Bar­clays merger in 2000 all had the same sort code, and this made it dif­fi­cult to lo­cate your mother’s ac­counts.

Ex­ist­ing ac­counts have all been mod­i­fied, which gives you a clue to the re­sponse that Bar­clays has now pro­vided.

One of your mother’s ac­counts was closed in 1998 and the other in 2001.

As you sus­pected, the 574 free shares in Wool­wich were sold in March 1998.

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