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ASK TONY: Online store is forcing me to go on a £910 shopping spree

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ask tony online store is forcing me to go on a 910 shopping spree

I was recently made aware I had paid £35 to online fashion store JustFab after receiving emails from the company saying I had credit to spend.

I called to cancel this, but was told I had to spend £35 on something in its catalogue.

I checked my PayPal account and saw I had been paying this amount every month for three years, totalling £1,260. I did not realise I had signed up to a subscription service.

Just grab: Fashion website JustFab took £35 a month from a readers account after she unwittingly signed up to a subscription service

Just grab: Fashion website JustFab took £35 a month from a readers account after she unwittingly signed up to a subscription service

Just grab: Fashion website JustFab took £35 a month from a readers account after she unwittingly signed up to a subscription service

I have been told I can only get £350 back. The remaining £910 has to be spent, but I do not need £910 worth of shoes or clothes. 

I should have noticed these payments sooner, but I wonder how many other people fall for this.

J. S., Wirral, Merseyside.

JustFab is refusing to cooperate. Four emails from me were returned with four different responses. 

The first was unable to grasp the idea that Money Mail was contacting the firm on your behalf. 

The second and third said it could not discuss the matter with anyone but yourself due to data protection, despite the waiver provided by your correspondence.

The final email said refunds could not be issued via email and suggested I phoned the firm, but my call was met with another obstinate response.

Two JustFab ads were banned by the Advertising Standards Authority in 2017, after it said it was not ‘sufficiently clear’ that VIP members would be enrolling into a subscription contract.

It is disappointing the firm has not returned all your payments. It should perhaps take note of Amazon, who often refunds those who unwittingly subscribe to Prime. 

Your letter is a reminder of how vital it is to keep an eye on your accounts.

Straight to the point 

I switched from Shell Energy to Bulb in May 2019 and had heard nothing until I received an email demanding £634 in March.

P. M., Horbury, W. Yorks.

Shell Energy says you did not supply it with accurate meter readings and this resulted in the surprising final bill. 

You also needed a new meter and this led to a delay in the bill being sent. Shell has reduced the debt to £550 as a goodwill gesture.

*** 

My holiday to Barbados was cancelled on March 19 due to the pandemic. Virgin Atlantic told me to claim on my travel insurance, then offered me a voucher and, finally, a refund. 

But I’m still waiting to get my money.

T. S., Colchester, Essex.

Airlines are currently working through a backlog of refunds. Virgin Atlantic say the money has now been paid back into your account.

*** 

For more than two years, Amazon has been charging me £9.99 a month for an Observer subscription, which I did not sign up for. 

My bank cannot cancel it and I’ve been unable to resolve the matter with Amazon.

M. F., Fort Augustus.

Amazon could not explain how this happened, but it has now cancelled the subscription and refunded you the full amount.

*** 

What is the difference between a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)?

A. S., West Sussex.

An LPA is set up to make sure a trusted individual can make financial or health decisions (or both) on your behalf if you lose mental capacity.

This replaced EPAs in October 2007.

Unlike an EPA, the LPA must include a ‘certificate of capacity’, which states that the person making the LPA knows what they are doing, and that no fraud or undue pressure has been used.

Only EPAs made and signed before October 1, 2007 can still be used.

Before Christmas, I received a text from Barclays about a suspicious transaction. I rang the bank after Googling the number the text came from.

I was told someone had spent £40 on Deliveroo and my card would be cancelled. 

Later, I received a call from the bank regarding other payments I didn’t recognise — £1,000 on Airbnb and £1,200 on Booking.com — and a £1,600 loan.

I was suspicious, as I had just spoken to Barclays. I asked the man to prove he was from the bank and he reeled off some genuine recent payments.

He told me that as my account had been compromised I’d need to move my money to a ‘safe account’ he would set up in my name. 

I’d already moved £730 to my secondary Monzo account, which held £13, after the first call, as well as the £1,600 loan money that had appeared in my account.

So I moved the money again to the account he told me of. When he hung up I felt uneasy and knew I had been scammed. Monzo has refused to refund the cash I lost.

A. B., London.

Monzo said you did not take enough steps to check who you were paying, and therefore it would not refund you.

Under a code of conduct launched in May 2019, banks must refund victims of bank transfer fraud if they have taken the required levels of care. 

I argued the conman was not only convincing, he also knew specific details of your account. Shortly after, Monzo refunded the £2,363 stolen, which you moved to your Barclays account.

But Barclays has also refunded your £730 savings and wrote off the loan, so you are now in profit. I advised you to move the extra money to your Monzo account, so it can recover the funds.

*** 

An engineer visited my home in April to switch my landline to TalkTalk. He told me there was a problem and he would tell the firm to fix it, but my line was left dead.

I am 90 and have no computer, so my friend contacted TalkTalk online. But this got us nowhere. 

Two months later, I wrote to cancel my contract and stopped my direct debit. TalkTalk sent a £66.40 bill.

R. G., St Albans, Herts.

When your friend contacted TalkTalk it did tests but needed to speak to you. It usually texts but, as you had no mobile, it waited for you to call and closed the case when you didn’t.

Openreach sent an engineer to the area, who fixed a local cable issue, and TalkTalk assumed the problem had been solved.

After I passed on your new mobile number, TalkTalk rang you and an engineer was sent to your home. There was a problem with your wiring. 

The supplier covered the £65 repair cost, waived the £66.40 bill and gave you £25 as a goodwill gesture.

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Xbox buyers left in the dark after Klarna, GAME and Smyths blunder

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xbox buyers left in the dark after klarna game and smyths blunder

Thousands of disappointed shoppers who tried to pre-order the new Microsoft Xbox from Smyths Toys using the ‘buy now, pay later’ service Klarna last Tuesday still don’t know whether they will actually be able to purchase a console more than a week later.

Eager buyers last week were subject to hard credit checks and had direct debits set up to pay for the new console over two years, but were unable to actually purchase it after Smyths and fellow high street seller GAME ran out of stock.

Many received emails after the mix-up from Smyths saying they would ‘have a console for you if you wish to complete a pre-order with us’ without being subjected to any further credit checks and that it would give shoppers more details on how to complete their purchase.

Smyths Toys partnered with Klarna to offer the new Xbox for £20.99 or £28.99 a month over two years. But after it ran out of stock customers were subjected to credit checks for consoles they were unable to purchase

Smyths Toys partnered with Klarna to offer the new Xbox for £20.99 or £28.99 a month over two years. But after it ran out of stock customers were subjected to credit checks for consoles they were unable to purchase

Smyths Toys partnered with Klarna to offer the new Xbox for £20.99 or £28.99 a month over two years. But after it ran out of stock customers were subjected to credit checks for consoles they were unable to purchase

But eight days later those who tried to pre-order the new console for either £20.99 or £28.99 a month have told This is Money they still have no idea whether they were accepted for credit financing for the new Xbox, or whether they would be able to get their hands on the console.

This was despite the fact one customer, Phil Lunt, was assured last Thursday in an email that Smyths ‘will be in touch early next week’ and ‘had not forgotten’ about him.

23-year-old Adam Bagley, from Sunderland, contacted This is Money on Monday to say he had received the email from Smyths last Tuesday telling him he would have six days to complete the pre-order and secure the new Xbox, but no information on how to do so.

He said he had been passed between the two companies, and told us yesterday: ‘Every time I speak to Smyths I tell them Klarna have said there was no problem from their end, and then Smyths just tell me to go and speak to Klarna again as they have no record of my email on the order list.’

He added: ‘I have had multiple calls, emails and Facebook and Twitter messages and I am still no further forward.’

We know you had a really bad experience with us today when attempting to place a pre-order for Xbox All Access. Please accept our apologies for this. We will have a console for you if you would still like to complete your Xbox All Access pre order with us 
Smyths Toys email, Tuesday 22 September

Many expressed frustration at having been told last week not to try and order a console again the next day and instead to wait for Klarna and Smyths Toys to fix the situation.

Mr Lunt told This is Money on Monday: ‘If it wasn’t for Smyths’ mixed up communications I would’ve tried getting another of the pre-orders on Wednesday, as well as trying elsewhere.’

He has not received any update from Smyths since Friday, when the shop again told him it would be in touch ‘early next week with an update’.

He said yesterday: ‘I could’ve bought a Series X outright, the only reason I wanted to go down the All Access route was because I thought it was a good deal for the console plus Game Pass Ultimate in the long run.’

Sam Strandt, 28, from Lincolnshire, was told by Klarna’s customer support last Tuesday on Twitter not to try and make a purchase again ‘as this may leave a negative impact on your credit score’.

He said: ‘Klarna told me not to make another order. Then Smyths released a further bunch of Xbox Series X consoles with All Access the next day. So I was told not to order, then when they sold, a lot of us were left with nothing with no explanation.’ 

We just wanted to let you know that we have not forgotten about you and we will be in touch with you early next week with further information
Smyths Toys email, Thursday 24 September

And while customers are yet to receive any more information from Smyths about whether there will be a console available for them to order, there are concerns they may end up losing out.

Klarna published a blog post last Friday, a day after This is Money published our original story highlighting the problems shoppers were facing, saying it ‘was reviewing every Xbox All Access application that was made since 22 September’ to ensure people’s credit scores had not been harmed from making multiple applications.

But it said those who had received emails telling them they had set up a direct debit for their financing agreement had not necessarily been approved for credit and would receive a console.

Those who had been accepted, Klarna said, would be contacted by GAME or Smyths telling them how to pre-order a console without further impacting their credit score, and those who had been declined would have their direct debit cancelled and be contacted by one of the retailers letting them know their options.

33809416 8789389 image a 2 1601474523145

33809416 8789389 image a 2 1601474523145

33809414 8789389 image a 3 1601474523147

33809414 8789389 image a 3 1601474523147

More than a week later many frustrated customers have reported on Twitter that they have been unable to get any updates out of Smyths Toys on the status of their order

More than a week later many frustrated customers have reported on Twitter that they have been unable to get any updates out of Smyths Toys on the status of their order

More than a week later many frustrated customers have reported on Twitter that they have been unable to get any updates out of Smyths Toys on the status of their order

And this morning it said it was in the process of cancelling direct debits in cases ‘where you were unable to complete your order’, raising the question of whether those left in the dark by Smyths would actually end up with a console after all, as their orders were never processed.

It potentially leaves some shoppers facing the prospect of having hard credit checks on their credit report for a financing agreement for a console they never end up receiving.

Shoppers last week received emails telling them they had set up direct debits with Klarna, despite being unable to order an Xbox console. Klarna has since invalidated some of these

Shoppers last week received emails telling them they had set up direct debits with Klarna, despite being unable to order an Xbox console. Klarna has since invalidated some of these

Shoppers last week received emails telling them they had set up direct debits with Klarna, despite being unable to order an Xbox console. Klarna has since invalidated some of these

Klarna said this morning it was ‘working with the credit reference agencies to remove any credit checks that should not remain on your credit file’, but Sam Strandt said he had asked Klarna last week to remove the check from his account.

He told This is Money today: ‘I told them I want it removing from my account as a matter of urgency, as I’m in the process of searching for houses.

‘They said they would pass it to the correct people who will respond in the next couple of days, there has been no response.’

This is Money has contacted both Klarna and Smyths Toys for an update on the situation.

Klarna told us: ‘A very small number of Smyths Xbox All Access customers were told in error that their consoles were secured. Smyths will be emailing these customers today. 

‘As already confirmed, a direct debit confirmation alone does not mean that a customer has been approved for credit; nor does it guarantee that they will receive an Xbox.’

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How to get a new car log book V5C online in five days

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how to get a new car log book v5c online in five days

The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency has launched a new online system that should help to speed up second-hand cars sales and reduce waiting times for motorists.

It has launched a replacement V5C log book service that will allow owners to get a new document for their car or motorcycle within five days – a process which currently can take up to six weeks.

The DVLA said it receives around half a million requests for replacement log books due to loss or damage every year, with most owners only usually noticing they can’t find the document when they want to sell the vehicle.

No more log book log jams: The DVLA has made the process of applying for a replacement car V5C log book by setting up an online service that cuts waiting times from 6 weeks to 5 days

No more log book log jams: The DVLA has made the process of applying for a replacement car V5C log book by setting up an online service that cuts waiting times from 6 weeks to 5 days 

Previously, the only way to receive a replacement log book was via post – a service which will continue to be available to those who choose not to use the online form.  

The new online service is the latest effort to ease this burden and cut waiting times for motorists. 

Like many businesses, the DVLA is operating under Covid-19 restrictions with fewer bodies in its Swansea headquarters as staff continue to work from home.

As a result it has struggled to cope under the strain of thousands of postal requests for log books on top of millions of driving licence renewals received in the post from the start of lockdown.

From today, instead of vehicle owners needing to post a V62 request form to the DVLA – along with a cheque for £25 – and waiting up to a month and a half for the replacement V5C document to arrive, the new online option slashes that wait time significantly.

The £25 cost remains the same but is easier to pay online with card details rather than motorists having to hunt for little-used chequebooks or buy a postal order.  

The new document will then arrive at the car owner’s address within five working days. 

The online service will be most valuable to car owners who have misplaced the log book at a time when they need it most – when they want to sell or trade-in their vehicle. 

Most car and motorcycle owners only notice they have lost their V5C document when it comes time to sell or trade the vehicle in, meaning they previously would have had to wait 6 weeks to complete a transaction

Most car and motorcycle owners only notice they have lost their V5C document when it comes time to sell or trade the vehicle in, meaning they previously would have had to wait 6 weeks to complete a transaction 

Since June, the DVLA has also allowed drivers to change the address on their log book electronically if they move home.

Before, motorists would have no other option but to fill in sections of their V5C document, post it and receive a fresh copy of the form – a process that takes weeks.

It means drivers in Britain can now apply for a number of DLVA services online rather than having to go through the rigmarole of postal requests.

This includes for the renewal or replacement of a driving licence, a change of address on a driving licence, taxing a vehicle or declaring it as off the road (SORN), informing the DVLA a car has been sold and to keep or assign a private (personalised) registration.

The online system is simple to use and easier to make the £25 fee required to receive a replacement log book

The online system is simple to use and easier to make the £25 fee required to receive a replacement log book

Announcing the new online log book replacement service, Julie Lennard, the agency’s chief executive, said: ‘DVLA’s new online service to apply for a duplicate log book is quick and easy to use and means customers who have unfortunately either lost or damaged theirs will receive their new document within a matter of days.

‘We know how important a log book is to motorists so if you have lost or damaged yours, the quickest way to get your duplicate document is go to GOV.UK.’

The DVLA has already twice extended the validity of photocard driving licences during the pandemic to ease the strain of incoming postal requests.

Having introduced a seven-month extension in June, the agency announced at the start of September it has increased the period to 11 months as it continues to buckle under demand for renewals during the coronavirus.

It means drivers whose existing pink plastic licences were due to expire between 1 February and 31 December 2020 will automatically have 11 months added to their cards’ expiration date. This is also the case for motorists with expiring entitlements to drive during the same period. 

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JLR car interiors are to be made from recycled waste plastic from oceans

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jlr car interiors are to be made from recycled waste plastic from oceans

British car maker Jaguar Land Rover will use materials made from recycled ocean plastic and landfill waste for the cabins of its future models as part of its brand-wide sustainability project.

Floor mats and interior trims made with Econyl fibre, which is constructed from recycled industrial plastic, fabric off-cuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry, and those abandoned in the ocean– known as ghost nets. 

Jaguar Land Rover says the efforts are part of its ‘Destination Zero’ mission, with the use of the patented yarn said to reduce the environmental impact when making traditional nylon fabrics.

Recycled off-roaders: Land Rover and Jaguar models will have interiors made from recycled waste products as part of the British firm's sustainability efforts

Recycled off-roaders: Land Rover and Jaguar models will have interiors made from recycled waste products as part of the British firm's sustainability efforts

Recycled off-roaders: Land Rover and Jaguar models will have interiors made from recycled waste products as part of the British firm’s sustainability efforts

The vehicle manufacturer has partnered with Italian fibre and polymer company, Aquaful, in its bid to increase the use of products in its cars that ‘make environments safer and cleaner while offering customers a premium, sustainable option’.

The ‘regenerated nylon’ material is already used by high-end fashion, sportswear and luxury watch brands to create handbags, backpacks, swimwear and watch straps.

The nylon waste that goes into the fabric is reclaimed from all over the world. 

In a single year, the company claims to recycle as much as 40,000 tonnes of waste, with the process of re-purposing it into a usable material reducing the global warming impact of nylon by 90 per cent compared with the material produced from oil. 

For every 10,000 tonnes produced, the Italian brand says 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved and 65,100 tonnes of carbon emissions equivalent are avoided.

Floor mats and interior trims made with Econyl fibre, which is constructed out of recycled industrial plastic, fabric off-cuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry, and those abandoned in the ocean– known as ghost nets (pictured)

Floor mats and interior trims made with Econyl fibre, which is constructed out of recycled industrial plastic, fabric off-cuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry, and those abandoned in the ocean– known as ghost nets (pictured)

Floor mats and interior trims made with Econyl fibre, which is constructed out of recycled industrial plastic, fabric off-cuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry, and those abandoned in the ocean– known as ghost nets (pictured)

33772828 0 image a 64 1601395249633

33772828 0 image a 64 1601395249633

It won’t be the first time the material is used in vehicles, with BMW using it as part of its recycled interiors for the i3 electric and hybrids models since 2016.

It has also been incorporated by Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and features in Porsche’s new electric Taycan sports cars. 

Jaguar and Land Rover said the ‘more environmentally conscious and sustainable materials’ will providing customers with a ‘premium and hardwearing product’ while also helping to reduce the company’s impact on the environment.

Adrian Iles, senior engineer of interior systems at JLR, said: ‘Minimising waste, re-using materials and reducing carbon emissions sits at the heart of our Destination Zero mission. 

‘This pioneering materials research is one of the key ways we’ll achieve this and is an integral part of our design offering to our customers.’ 

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