I booked two pilgrimages with Joe Walsh Tours to Medjugorje and Padova in Bosnia and Herzegovina [Padua] in Italy.
Both were rescheduled from the original dates to 2021.
I paid £574 and £50 by check in December 2019. I paid the balance of £900 for my trip to Padova by bank transfer on January 31, 2020.
In late April I heard from my parish organizer that Joe Walsh Tours had gone into liquidation.
Trails and tribulations: a reader was down a whopping £1,500 when a tour operator booked a pilgrimage to Bosnia and Italy has been liquidated
My son filled out an online claim form for the liquidator and my daughter contacted Marks & Spencer Bank. I didn’t hear either of them.
My daughter and I have been in touch with M&S Bank several times since then and we got an impression that we can make a claim. Then I got a letter saying that since I am out of 120 days limit, they will not do anything.
£1,524 is a lot for me.
TV, Macclesfield, Cheshire.
Tony Hazel replies: Your letter – which details several failed attempts to get a refund from M&S Bank – is an object lesson in the dangers of paying by check or bank transfer.
You are basically providing the extra security offered by using a debit or credit card.
With card payment you can claim the chargeback through your bank. This also works for debit cards and credit cards if your purchase is less than £100.
For goods costing more than £100, the Consumer Credit Act carries the force of law for credit card purchases.
You only need to make a partial payment on your credit card to cover the entire purchase.
But when it comes to bank transfers and checks – well, you are in the hands of the administrator or the liquidator. Joe Walsh was based in the Republic of Ireland and is being handled there.
I’m surprised you didn’t have travel insurance you could claim. You should always take this out when you book a holiday as it should cover cancellations and deductions (though read the small print carefully in times of covid).
However, M&S Bank (which, incidentally, no longer operates current accounts) believes that this has misled your hopes.
A spokesperson says: ‘The customer was initially told that a dispute would be raised when there was no chargeback right.’
It has apologized and, even better, refunded the entire £1,524 – a wonderful goodwill gesture
Please – next time you book – use a debit or credit card and buy some travel insurance.
Money Mail receives hundreds of letters and emails from you about our stories every week. Here are some of your thoughts on the rise in aging mortgage holders:
If homeowners make a sensible level of contribution to a SIP, they should be able to pay off a mortgage in retirement.
Having a mortgage can reduce inheritance tax liabilities. Home loans are very cheap these days.
I felt lucky when told that my husband and I had a successful mortgage application after my divorce. This meant that I would keep paying it until I turned 70. I would prefer to do this instead of rent.
The way things are going at the moment, I doubt we will all be working until we are at least 75 years old. Today’s high home prices mean that many of us need more time to pay off our mortgages.
BD, by email.
This is worrying news, because at this point in time not all of us would have jobs or be on the same level of pay.
You may also be in poor health or face high bills for other things. This is certainly a matter of concern.
Pei, Croydon, London.
I don’t understand why people in their 60s still have mortgages. I am 55 years old and my first house was bought in the 1980s for £43,000, with a salary of around £9,000. House prices today can range between ten to 12 times one’s earnings.
Since most young people will retire when they turn 65, this is no longer a significant milestone.
I set my repayment date at 68 knowing that I will pay less initially and my pension will settle in a lump sum if I need it.
Part of the problem is that many people in their late 50s and early 60s were caught by endowment mortgages and never questioned whether they would be able to pay off their home loans.
Can we exchange flats with our neighbour?
We want to exchange flats with a neighbour. We have a two bedroom flat on the first floor and a one bedroom flat on the ground floor.
There is no mortgage and both the parties want a direct swap. Can you give advice please?
EW, Bromley, SE London.
Tony Hazel replies: On the surface, it sounds simple, but Sarah Dwight, a Birmingham-based lawyer who is a member of the Law Society Convening and Land Law Committee, says: ‘Just because it looks straightforward doesn’t mean it is.
The parties may think that they can just swap assets, but all have to do the same legal act as if they did not know each other and were two “stand-alone” transactions. Both of them will need to appoint their own lawyer.
If the properties are leasehold they may have different provisions – such as reviewing higher ground rents – or run for different lengths of time.
There will also be bills including stamp duty land tax.
At one time, if both assets were of equal value, you could swap directly without tax or only paying on the difference. Now both of you will be taxed at full value and this must be an actual assessment.
From 1 October it will first be zero on £125,000, then 2 per cent on anything from £125,000 to £250,000, and the next 5 per cent on £675,000.
So if each of your flats costs £250,000 you will pay £2,500 each. Pardon me!
straight to the point
It’s been six months since I applied to move my Shawbrook Bank Isa nationwide. What is taking so long?
PC, Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
The building society called you because you forgot to include your sort code…