Moneywise fights for your rights - A2B Travel, Parcel Monkey, 7 Seas International
If you're having trouble with a company and wish to enlist Moneywise's help, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, click here, or write to us, including your name, address and telephone number at: Fightback, Moneywise Publishing, Standon House, 21 Mansell Street, London, E1 8AA.
A2B Travel’s taxi left us stranded
I pre-booked a taxi with A2B Travel to take a group of five of us – including a disabled friend and two people aged over 70 – from Barcelona port to the airport in October 2015.
We waited patiently for the taxi, but after half an hour phoned the emergency number on the pre-paid voucher.The person I spoke to couldn’t find a record of our booking and said she couldn’t help without a voucher number.
Fortunately, my group found a six-seater taxi a while later, and the taxi driver was exceptionally helpful. He phoned both Taxi Barcelona and the central booking team, who confirmed they didn’t have a record of my booking. We had to pay the taxi driver €45 to take us to the airport.
On my return, I contacted A2B Travel to ask for a refund of my original booking fee. I also asked the company to pay for the taxi fare to compensate us for its failure to provide a service and the inconvenience caused.
It responded to say that the driver had arrived at the port pick-up point at 1pm and waited for us until 2.09pm before deciding the booking was a no-show. It offered a 20% discount on my next booking.
I am unhappy with its response – the boat only arrived at 1pm and disembarkation was set for 2pm, which I pointed out in an email when I booked, and anyhow two of our party were at the pick-up point by 1.45pm. Can Moneywise help me to get a fairer offer?
Looking at PC's original email correspondence, it was clear that he had pointed out the disembarkation time of the boat, and that his party was unlikely to get to the taxi pick-up point much before 2pm.
Unfortunately, this was not picked up on A2B’s online booking system. And an hour after the booking time, the voucher number is taken off the booking system so there was no record when PC phoned.
When I contacted A2B Travel, it was very apologetic about PC’s case and how long it had taken to resolve. It admitted that it had taken the taxi firm’s word for what had happened, but agreed that the client should have priority in this kind of situation. It arranged for £63.53 to be refunded into PC’s account to cover both the cost of the service from the port to the airport, plus the €45 cost of the back-up taxi.
A spokesperson said: “I want to apologise for the terrible inconvenience caused to our client. I am aware that this has taken longer than necessary to resolve, and therefore, we will be refunding the booking, and the receipt as converted into the date and currency of the booking.
I hope this will in some way also go towards restoring your faith in us as a company. I want to take this opportunity to once again say how sorry I am that this has happened.”
PC is happy with the refund but believes A2B Travel should have offered it straightaway. He says: “Thanks very much, Moneywise. Without your involvement I would never have achieved an outcome with which I would have been satisfied. This became an issue of principle for me.
The experience has left me convinced that some companies now seem to take the view that the customer cannot possibly be right. I have found it so frustrating that, until your intervention, the company would not even give me the benefit of the doubt."
Parcel Monkey leaves users confused over compensation
Every few weeks, Moneywise receives emails from readers who have either had parcels lost when sent by courier through Parcel Monkey, or their goods have been damaged in transit and they have had problems claiming compensation.
The most common problem people face is items getting damaged in transit. People tend to assume that if they have paid for insurance, then they will get compensation.
However, their claim will be rejected if they haven’t followed strict packaging guidelines. These include: wrapping each item inside the parcel individually, using bubblewrap and tape to wrap fragile items tightly before placing them in the inner box; using an inner and outer box, filling any space between the inner and outer box with polystyrene chips; and sealing both boxes well with strong 40- 50mm wide tape.To avoid disputes with the courier, take photos as you pack each item to prove that you have followed these guidelines.
Reader SM wrote to Moneywise in December 2015 to complain that he bought a speedometer for a Vauxhall Corsa 2008 model, but the glass was damaged when it arrived. He was claiming £74.95 for the unit and £13.82 for postage – a total of £88.77, and supplied photos
with his claim to prove that he had used bubblewrap and polystyrene.
Parcel Monkey said that it would not accept his claim as the packaging was insufficient, with not enough bubblewrap or polystyrene. It also pointed out that glass was on its prohibited list of items that it would not handle.
When I contacted SM to point this out, he said that he’d made a mistake on his claim form and that, in fact, it was clear plastic, not glass.
Parcel Monkey accepted that the broken element could be plastic, but still questioned whether the item had been packaged correctly. However, as a gesture of goodwill, it offered SM £50, which he accepted.
The second reason why readers complain is when their packages go missing.This seems to be a particular problem when packages are sent abroad and when items are bought via eBay, when there is no original receipt.
DK sent an item to Italy and paid £300 insurance. After a few weeks, the parcel hadn’t arrived so he made a claim for compensation, but Parcel Monkey refused to pay out because of a lack of an invoice – there wasn’t one as it was a private sale via eBay.
He did, however, supply PayPal details showing that the recipient had paid £210 on the day before the courier was arranged – it also showed the buyer’s name and address.
I suggested that DK also produced his original receipt for the item, which was for £190, which he sent to Parcel Monkey.
Once it had this, Parcel Monkey offered £200 in compensation, along with £22.78 shipping costs, which DK accepted.
A spokesperson for Parcel Monkey commented: “With regard to items purchased on eBay, when it comes to confirming their value we operate no differently to if the item was purchased from any other retailer.We request proof of the items purchased, not sold for value, from our customer and use this figure when making an offer.
“I understand that obtaining information can be difficult for some customers, but we need to verify an item’s value before making a payment against it. DK is a good example of this, as once the original purchase receipt of £190 was provided, £200 plus the full shipping costs were refunded.”
I’ve been charged for ‘free’ diet pills
I saw an online offer for free diet pills, called Slimgenix Pro UK, through 7 Seas International, and all I had to do was to pay postage.
I can’t remember which website it was on, but I believe I made a one-off payment of £3.99 for one bottle of pills. I didn’t set up a Direct Debit and have had no invoices from the company. However, I am really worried as I have now received a letter from a debt collection agency saying that I now owe £58.45 and that if I don’t pay it within seven days, it would start legal proceedings to recover the debt. Can Moneywise help?
We often hear from readers who have been conned into handing out their bank account details for postage for ‘free’ trials, only to find that in the small print they will have committed to spending monthly amounts on unwanted goods.
This case is more unusual, as LD didn’t have any money taken out of her bank account and the first she heard of supposedly owing Seven Seas International any money was when the letter arrived from the debt collection agency.
I advised her to write back to the company straightaway to say that she bought this item once in good faith as a free trial with only postage to pay, and that she had not received any invoices or further goods from its client.
I also contacted Seven Seas International, as did LD, asking it to explain why she had been billed for £58.45.
A representative from the debt collection agency emailed back to say that 7 Seas International had asked it to close the case.
LD says: “I am not normally taken in by such offers, but I wanted to lose weight as my eldest son’s wedding was coming up. The offer seemed OK with only a one-off payment. This proved incorrect. I would advise people not to bother with these offers – they are never quite what they seem.”
You can read previous cases where Moneywise has stepped in here.