On February 7, I withdrew £ 35,000 from my husband’s NS&I Premium Bond account and expected it to be credited in three days.

If he didn’t come, I contacted NS&I, who concluded that I needed to contact my bank.

I did it only to be told that NS&I was obliged to trace where the money had gone.

Panic Stations: It took NS&I nine weeks to find £ 35,000 in premium bonds that disappeared when a reader tried to withdraw them from her husband’s account

I went back, but this time found that I had previously entered one of the numbers incorrectly in the target account.

After half an hour of full tension on the phone, I was told to call back the following Monday, four days later.

All this time I was very worried about where the money went.

NS&I finally agreed to start the search, but told me it could take 15 days to ten weeks.

Then there were calls and complaints, but nothing seemed to happen. It has been seven weeks since the money disappeared. Please help.

Doctor of Medicine, Basildon.

Sally Hamilton replies: When I called you to learn more about this alarming situation, you burst into tears.

And no wonder. Not knowing if you’ll see your £ 35,000 again has kept you awake at night from worry.

You were especially upset because the premium bonds were inherited from your mother, who unfortunately died last year.

I contacted NS&I to ask him to investigate and redouble his efforts to find your missing money. A few days later, his detective work confirmed that the money went to Santander, whose client you are, but, unfortunately, they were in someone else’s account.

Looks like last September, when you updated your account details, where you wanted to pay premium bonds or withdrawals, you accidentally moved two numbers.

Watch fraudsters

Watch out for scammers looking to make money on your summer vacation plans.

According to Lloyds, the number of frauds related to foreign travel and stay has increased by a third compared to last year.

Fraudsters often place advertisements online and on social networks that include links to fake websites. All payments made go directly to their bank accounts.

In 12 months, the number of frauds related to being in caravans increased by 108 people, and the average loss was 374 pounds.

Those who bought non-existent flights or vacations typically lost £ 2,955 and £ 2,342 respectively.

By fate, this figure coincided with the account of another customer of the bank, which received on February 7 an unexpected 35,000 pounds.

When you warned NS&I about the situation, NS&I initiated a “bank loan resumption” from Santander. This means that the bank issues a refund request to the recipient and usually takes at least 20 business days.

I asked NS&I what would happen if this customer decided that the excess income was a bank error in their favor, and refused to return the money.

NS&I said it would write to the recipient asking for a refund. If the customer still refuses to send it back, your next step will most likely be a lawsuit.

I didn’t find this an encouraging prospect. Several painful weeks have passed. But I am pleased to report that the customer who received your money has agreed to return it.

It was transferred to NatWest, the NS&I clearing bank, on March 29. Unfortunately, neither you nor I have been told that this has happened for another two weeks.

However, nine weeks after he disappeared, you finally got your money back and can sleep easier. This is not the kind of service you would expect with a £ 35,000 horse. NS&I agreed that it did not succeed, and as an apology paid you £ 315 in compensation, including £ 115 in interest.

A spokesman said: “We would like to apologize for the level of service received from NS&I on this occasion during what was undoubtedly a stressful experience for the doctor of medicine.”

Santander has agreed to have contributed to the problem by incorrectly asking you to provide a “faster payment ID” to help track your funds. This help is only required if the funds disappear after the transfer to the correct account, and yours went to the wrong account. He paid you £ 50 as an apology.

The moral of this story is that we all need to be very careful when changing account data. A missed finger can, as in your case, lead to unhappiness in dealing with the consequences.

The Caribbean cruise is too hot to handle

In July 2021, we paid a deposit of £ 2,000 for a 35-day cruise on the Spirit of Adventure with ROL Cruises and Saga.

We were on two holidays booked through these firms, the last of which was last December, which was 30 days around the Caribbean – like the one I’m writing about now.

When we got home from that trip, I had to visit a dermatologist with several sun-damaged areas of my face and upper body. Given this, I no longer want to expose my skin to excessive sunlight in the Caribbean.

My partner tried to cancel the new booking, but ROL and Saga each said the other was responsible and would not reimburse our deposit.

He asked if it could be transferred to a less intense sun cruise, but he was told that we could only transfer it on holiday for the same price – more than £ 35,000.

But these expensive holidays are usually long cruises in the Caribbean and America where the sun is strong.

I do not want to risk further damage from the sun and want our deposit to be returned in full.

Our previous cruises have been suspended due to Covid, and ROL / Saga has kept our money on trust over the years.

DL, Crowbora, East Sussex.

Sally Hamilton replies: You were at sea with your complaint in part because it was unclear which company you and your partner needed to talk to. You were passed from post to post before finally contacting me.

I asked ROL Cruises to investigate as this was the name in your booking certificate. It seems that ROL acts as a travel agent in the ROL / Saga arrangement, and Saga Cruises, as a holiday provider, decides on the return or transfer.

ROL forwarded my request to Saga, which a few days later provided two options. It said that you can postpone your vacation and make shorter (potentially less sun-drenched) trips by dividing the price by a couple of bookings. Or you can cancel your booking through Saga Travel Insurance for £ 80 per person.

It turned out that the strong sun is not one of your worries, because you and your partner have other diseases that have forced you to rethink the wisdom of travel. You decided to go by cancellation and were happy to pay a total fee of £ 160.

ROL contacted Saga, who returned the remaining £ 1,840 of your deposit.

Right to the point

Amazon refuses to refund me for a cell phone I never received. Delivered a safe, which I returned.

It says it won’t compensate until I return the phone. I now have a debt of £ 599 to Barclays as part of an installment plan.

PB, Brighton.

The seller claims that your order history showed many returns and replacements if the wrong item was returned, which you deny.

He refuses to say what went wrong, but returned £ 599 plus £ 50 as a gesture of goodwill and canceled the Barclays plan.

***

In 2015, Ultimate Home Solutions installed windows in our home. Earlier this year one slipped, leaving a draft. Despite the firm’s promises to fix it, no one did.

J.M., Fife.

When I contacted the firm, the work was complete. It says the delay is due to a pandemic and a shortage of staff.

***

When my mom died earlier this year, British Gas said she owed almost £ 893. It was said that she could write off the debt if I sent a copy of her death certificate and employment contract. But then he sent a threatening letter demanding payment within 28 days.

JW, by email.

After my participation British Gas took off the balance. You will not receive any more letters.

***

You are my last hope to receive the proceeds from the undeclared Girobank check sent to me when my husband died in 1989. I forgot about it amid my grief and had no confidence in financial matters.

MS, Hertfordshire.

A check for £ 218.99 was issued 33 years ago by your late husband’s retirement provider SunLife. He offered to pay to help you close, but denied any liability.

  • Email Sally Hamilton to Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk – enter the phone number, address and note to the offending organization that gives them permission to talk to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send the original documents, as we cannot be held responsible for them. The Daily Mail is not legally responsible for these responses.

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