Moneywise fights for your rights - Pontins, Kensington
I couldn’t face our Pontins break
I booked a short break in mid-August for three nights in Pontins in Southport through Wowcher.com, which cost £109.
On arrival, we were disappointed with the way we were treated. On checking in, the member of staff made a snide comment, saying:“Oh god, not another Wowcher.”When I asked him to repeat this, he refused, saying it was nothing. We were handed a welcome pack and key to our apartment. But when we got there, we couldn’t believe what we saw.
It was in major need of refurbishment; it was grubby; and there was a pool of water seeping from the fridge on to the floor.We didn’t leave our bags inside but decided to look around the complex.
It was unkempt with litter strewn across the kids’ play area and cigarette ends everywhere because the ashtrays were overflowing. Some of the equipment in the adventure park was broken and rusted and, in my opinion, unsafe for children to use.
We went to the restaurant, only to find plastic cups and food all over the floor, dirty tables galore and yet another really unhelpful member of staff in the canteen. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.
Then our four-year-old son wanted to browse around the arcade. Here, we found many of the slot machines out of action because coins were jammed in them. There wasn’t much else that appealed to him, given his age. The whole complex is an utter shambles and is in need of a major overhaul.
That was the final straw for us, so we checked out, only having been there for three hours. It took me longer to drive down to Southport from our home in Scotland. What a costly disaster! We’ve had no luck getting a refund.Would you contact them on my behalf?
When complaining about holiday accommodation, it’s always wise to take photographs and to make a note of the name of the holiday rep you speak to, giving them a chance to resolve the problem.
JR did complain to the receptionist when she checked out and wrote to Pontins’ customer services asking for a refund within a week of returning home.
When she hadn’t heard from the company after a month, she wrote again and this time received a letter “regretting that she found cause for complaint” but with no mention of a refund.
After Moneywise contacted Pontins, I heard back from a spokesperson for Pontins, who said: “We take our complaints very seriously and we will look into this matter. I have spoken to the reader and have offered her a full refund of £109 plus a complimentary holiday at a quiet time during 2016.
JR said: “Thanks to you, Pontins phoned me to offer a settlement and has agreed to refund the £109, but not our travel costs. I am happy with this, and Pontins is arranging a cheque to be posted out early next week. I have declined the offer of a complimentary stay, but I am satisfied with the outcome all the same. I feel without your support I wouldn’t have got any further than an apology.”
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I’m worried Kensington may repossess my home
I have a 10-year interest-only mortgage of £100,000 that finishes very soon with mortgage company Kensington.
I bought a Greek property outright 10 years ago that we would use to pay off the outstanding mortgage balance.
With the economic problems that have been going on in Greece, it looks as if it will take longer to sell our property there than we thought.
However, Kensington is refusing to extend our mortgage until we can sell our Greek property and wants to repossess our home.
I am 70 years old and my husband is 72. Kensington calls every week demanding proof that we can pay the outstanding loan. My husband even had a panic attack in a shop due to the stress of these constant reminders. Can you help?
The problem here was that Kensington initially followed standard procedure in notifying JR it was to repossess her home if she didn’t clear the loan, failng to take into account her unique circumstances.
However, according to Kensington, JR had not supplied it with any proof that she owned the property in Greece, what it was worth (the last valuation JR had done on the Greek property valued it at £180,000 – but this was carried out in 2014 and so was out of date), as well as written proof that it was on the market.
JR said she had sent some documents in Greek, but Kensington could not read them and so continued to send her communications threatening to repossess.
When we got in touch, Kensington said it always tried to help borrowers in difficult circumstances and confirmed to Moneywise it had no plans to repossess, but it did need JR to supply it with all the evidence she had.
Moneywise encouraged JR to supply Kensington with copies of the deeds, a recent valuation, and a letter from the Greek estate agent, confirming that the property was up for sale and what the asking price was.
After JR did this, Kensington then confirmed by letter, email and phone that JR could continue servicing the couple’s mortgage until the Greek property was sold.
“The man from Kensington was very nice and said that as long as I keep them up to date with the Greek property, we will no longer face any pressure, even if it takes six, 12 or 18 months to sell, as long as we keep them informed. We can’t thank Moneywise enough.
We are so happy and relieved and it’s all down to you. We can now enjoy Christmas and the days ahead. Thank you so much.”
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A catch-all phrase that can range from assessing the price of a property or vehicle before offering it for sale or the net worth of assets in an investment portfolio to the prices of shares on a stock exchange.
A loan in which the borrower pays only the interest on the sum borrowed for the life of the mortgage but, at the end of the mortgage term, they still owe what they originally borrowed as this remains unchanged. The advantage of an interest-only mortgage is the monthly repayment is considerably lower than for a comparable repayment mortgage. Lenders generally insist the borrower also invests in an endowment, ISA or pension savings policy that, on maturity, is intended to pay off the capital loan.
Everything you own: all your assets (property, cars, investments, savings, insurance payouts, artwork, furniture etc) minus any liabilities (debts, current bills, payments still owed on assets like cars and houses, credit card balances and other outstanding loans). When you’re alive this is called your wealth; when you’re dead, it becomes your estate.