Axa refused a claim for a cancelled holiday because the customer once had backache

Ask Tony: Axa turned down my claim because of backache

Axa refused a claim for a cancelled holiday because the customer once had backache

Axa refused a claim for a cancelled holiday because the customer once had backache

After returning from a strenuous two-week holiday touring India and Nepal in March we booked a short holiday in Germany with Titan for the end of August. We bought insurance with Axa the day after booking.

A week later I had severe back pain. I went to the doctors on May 2 and was told that it was probably sciatica.

After six weeks in pain, a scan revealed a slipped disc and I agreed to surgery.

Titan repaid 50 per cent of the £2,600 cost of the holiday as we had cancelled within its timeframe. Axa sent claim forms including one for the doctor which was sent at the end of June.

Three weeks later I had a phone consultation with an Axa agent.

He seized on the doctor’s form (which had been completed by a new doctor at my surgery who read from my case notes) and had put ‘backache 2016’. Axa then said this was a pre-existing condition. I explained that it wasn’t.

The doctor had also put on the date of onset: ‘Don’t know, probably middle of April.’ My claim was referred to an assessor. So began a litany of phone calls to Axa which to date have elicited no written response.

Mrs I. H., Lancashire.

If we can’t book a holiday because we’ve had a touch of backache in the past I’m guessing most over 50s would be stuck at home.

Axa swiftly settled your claim after I made contact, paying £1,200. This was the £1,300 less the £100 excess that you must cover yourself.

A spokesman says: ‘Mrs H’s experience is far removed from the standards we hold ourselves to. Miscommunication meant the claim took much longer to pay than it should have.

‘We apologise for the delay, have paid the claim in full and have offered £75 compensation. We wish Mrs H all the best in her recovery.’

Insurance puf

While you were pleased to receive your money, you were none too happy with the churlish fashion in which Axa coughed up.

You said there was no sign of a proper apology in the letter. You sent me a copy and the only time the word sorry appeared was in the sentence: ‘I am sorry that you have felt the need to complain about the handling of your claim.’

That turn of phrase almost sounds as if you are being accused of being pernickety.

But that’s better than the email you received previously which simply laid out the payment with the ending: ‘I trust this concludes the matter to your satisfaction.’

Yours isn’t the only letter I’ve received recently from a reader who has received a payment without a proper apology.

A simple and sincere apology can go a long way to restoring a company’s reputation.

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT

My son-in-law wed in 2010 but hasn’t claimed the marriage allowance. Can he retrospectively claim what he’s owed?

E.M.P, Staffs

Everyone has a Personal Allowance of £11,500 — the amount you can earn without paying income tax.

From April 2015, a married person who earns £11,500 or less can transfer £1,150 of their allowance to their partner if they earn more than you.

Their partner must earn between £11,501 and £45,000 (£43,000 in Scotland). This allows them to save up to £230 tax a year.

You can make a backdated claim. Backdating is limited to four years. Call the tax enquiry line on 0300 200 3310.

***

Vodafone still owes me £40.99 that I mistakenly overpaid last year. I’ve written several times to chase. Can you hurry up?

J.M., Gloucestershire

Vodafone says it asked several times for your bank details with no response. You’ve now supplied these and it has refunded the cash.

***

I noticed eight withdrawals for £19.95 between August and September. I reported it to Barclays who said the company had used a cancelled debit card. Is that right?

W.G., by email

The money was taken via a continuous payment authority where card details are used to set up a regular payment.

Cancelling the card does not cancel the agreement. Call the company, or your bank, for it to be stopped.

I moved my phone to TalkTalk last year. I also agreed to a mobile phone contract, but on receiving the sim card I immediately returned it as it had to be activated by the internet, to which we are not connected.

In November I moved my phone account to Post Office.

In April this year TalkTalk referred me to a debt collection agency for a payment of £13.79, which it claimed I owed on the mobile account.

In July I had to increase my credit card limit but was told there was a black mark on my credit rating. This could only have come from TalkTalk.

Mrs A. D., South Shields.

TalkTalk has taken a look at your case. You joined TalkTalk in June last year and five months later upgraded to its Fixed Low Price Plan.

However, on November 17, TalkTalk received a cease order. You confirmed that you wished to transfer your services to Post Office.

However, it seems that your mobile service was not cancelled at this point. In the ensuing months, TalkTalk sent four mobile phone bills via email.

As you did not have access to the internet, you may not have seen these.

On March 20 this year, a debt collection agency was called in. You were £1.21 in credit in November but subsequent bills of £5 a month put you £13.79 into debt.

When you made contact you made it clear you believed your mobile service had been cancelled and TalkTalk applied a £13.79 credit.

The important point is that TalkTalk has not put a mark on your credit file.

Check what is happening and get a copy of your credit file at Equifax, Experian or Callcredit. Experian is on 0344 481 0800, Equifax is on 0845 603 3000.

Callcredit is on 0330 024 7574. It also offers a free monthly report via noddle.co.uk

EDITOR’S DEALS OF THE WEEK
*Not covered by the FSCS. For current account rewards and interest conditions may apply eg. using provider’s full switching service, min deposits and direct debits. For savings, access maybe limited, min/max deposits may apply. See T&Cs. Representative example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.95% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 18.9% APR (variable).

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