Financial troubleshooter Jessica Gorstwilliams is here to help you with your money problems
Visa application became a real saga
Earlier this year I applied for a visa through a website that claimed that the procedure would be done within two hours if all the information submitted was accurate.
It did not ask me for anything further, so I assumed that all was in order. As I had not received my visa within this time frame I started a “live chat” online, during which I was told that my application was “in process”.
I immediately asked to cancel and for a refund of my £44.71 fee. I applied directly to the relevant country’s authorities and obtained my visa within hours.
RA, EAST SUSSEX
Then you received an email stating that your application through the website had been rejected because a visa had already been issued for the same passport number.
This clearly indicated that its application had not been made until after you received your visa from the other source. You tried to have a chargeback done through the Saga Platinum credit card you had paid with. This failed and I spoke to Saga for you.
It spoke to Allied Irish Bank (AIB), the bank that provides the Saga credit card. I was told the merchant had disputed the chargeback, arguing that its terms and conditions did not allow for refunds for items cancelled by a cardholder.
Saga said: “Unfortunately, there is nothing more that AIB can do in a situation such as this.”
In fact, my involvement had led to AIB refunding the £44.71 itself, for goodwill.
It is so easy to get entangled with thirdparty websites, discovered through a search engine, which offer a service that would be better provided through official channels.
Other readers who have written to me after being caught out in this way include those making a Land Registry search, someone applying for a passport and another seeking a driving licence. All would have been served better had they gone via the official gov.uk website.
Holiday illness hit me in the pocket
Earlier this year my wife and I travelled to Madeira. While on holiday I developed pneumonia and the medical staff who cared for me recommended I go private.
On my return I submitted an insurance claim, which was rejected on the grounds that “your GP indicates that the medical condition was being treated but you did not declare any past medical condition when purchasing your policy”. I cannot see that I could declare medication for a condition I was going to get six months in the future.
Can you change the outcome for me?
During the emergency, your wife, a nursing secretary and the hospital’s head of administration all tried unsuccessfully to contact the insurer by phone.
This was an Allianz Global Assistance UK policy you had bought online. It included the words: “You and/or anyone else
A reader’s holiday in Madeira ended up with a hospital stay