ASK TONY: Ryanair didn’t see fit to pay up after I was hit in the eye by a golf ball leaving me with complete loss of vision
My wife and I booked return flights from Luton to Tenerife with Ryanair for September. The cost was £369.24, plus £30 for reserved seats.
Unfortunately, on July 26 I was hit by a golf ball and suffered a serious eye injury, which resulted in complete loss of vision.
I had two operations at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, where the surgeon put a bubble of gas behind my eye, which prevented me from flying.
Ryanair gives refunds for bereavement or serious illness but says I do not meet its criteria, even though I sent supporting documents.
M. H., Leicestershire.
Ryanair refused to refund a customer the cost of two return flights after he was hit in the eye by a golf ball and suffered complete loss of vision
I Suggested to Ryanair that it might like to review your case, and it has come up trumps.
It says your claim does fall outside the normal scope for a refund, but, as a gesture of goodwill, it has authorised a travel credit for £399.24 — the full amount paid for your booking.
This can be used towards Ryanair flights booked within six months, but travel can take place for up to 12 months.
This is the point where I make my regular plea for everyone reading this column to buy travel insurance at the time of booking a holiday.
Travel insurance is there to cover cancellations you may be forced to make if you fall sick, suffer an injury, or perhaps if a close relative dies.
If you book a holiday and leave insurance until the last minute, you are basically relying on the goodwill of the travel company or airline to reimburse you if you have to cancel.
Travel cover isn’t any cheaper if you buy it later, so you are giving up an important aspect of the insurance if you put it off.
Straight to the point
I paid the married woman’s stamp for ten years and read in Money Mail that I could be entitled to a bigger pension. However, the Pension Service says I am not.
R. F., email.
There is a concession available to women who paid reduced National Insurance (NI) contributions but only for those collecting the new state pension, who retired after April 2016.
Before the new system, women who paid the reduced rate could claim a partial state pension based on their husband’s NI record.
I wrote to Shell Drivers’ Club to ask for my loyalty points to be posted to me, as I do not have a computer. I did not get a response.
B. H., Manchester.
Shell Drivers’ Club was replaced by a new scheme called Shell Go+. As part of the rollout, members were told to register their accounts by June 30 this year to receive their remaining points through their chosen reward.
Shell has agreed to fast-track your vouchers so you should have them within ten days.
Last month, I found an old cheque from British Gas for £64.85. I asked if it could be reissued but the supplier refused because the cheque is more than 12 years old.
P. S., Surrey.
A cheque is valid for as long as the debt exists. However, it is common practice for banks to reject cheques that are more than six months old.
British Gas has agreed to reissue it as a goodwill gesture.
I found an old paying-in book for an Instant Saver at Abbey National (now Santander) with a balance of £396.43 as of June 4, 1998.
Santander told me it is not required to hold transaction details on any account for more than six years.
M. C., Kent.
Santander says the current balance is actually £8.19. Details of interest paid suggest the rest was withdrawn in the year 2000.
You may withdraw your cash from a branch.
My late husband’s Premium Bonds have been transferred to me, but National Savings & Investments has refused to pay on the first four certificates we purchased between 1962 and 1971, saying they were not in my husband’s name.
It seems NS&I is implying the bonds were purchased as gifts, which is not the case.
I have all the certificates my husband purchased until 2017, including these four. These say they are not transferable and of no value to anyone but the registered holder, whose initials are signed in a box — the initials are my husband’s.
At no time did my husband buy Premium Bonds as a gift. I would like to know what evidence NS&I has that the bonds were gifts.
Mrs P. H., Crewe.
This is a repeated problem I hear of with NS&I, which I find completely exasperating.
It says the investment, in this case Premium Bonds, does not belong to the person who died, but then refuses to give the executors any clue as to whom it could belong to.
This means that the executor is potentially unable to fulfil the task of distributing that part of the estate, or that a third party is denied access to an investment that is rightfully theirs — and was perhaps a gift in the distant past. NS&I appears to have no will to tackle this issue.
It tells me that it can confirm these bonds were given as gifts, as it holds the purchase applications which state the name and date of birth of the children to whom they were gifted. It seems some of these were filled in and signed by you — NS&I has provided copies.
The owners of these bonds will need to contact NS&I to update their contact details.
But NS&I says it cannot provide the purchase application signed by your late husband due to customer confidentiality.
So it is supposedly protecting the confidentiality of someone who does not — and may never — know they have Premium Bonds! How are these people to claim prizes on the bonds if they do not even know they own them?
There is one clue, however. At the time of purchase, bonds could be bought only for your own children or grandchildren.
This means you might need to get signed permission from each of them and send this to NS&I in order to track down the owners.
Given that the bonds could have a value of only £1 each, you may think it’s not worth the cost — although there is the possibility they have won a prize.
But I’m afraid NS&I won’t tell me or you if that is the case.