While Paul was in South America he was unable to use his Overseas Cash travel card. Paul contacted Overseas Cash. Overseas Cash advised it had accidentally issued a travel card due to expire very shortly. By the time Paul travelled to South America the card had expired, and while he had money in his account (EU 1,800) he could not withdraw it. Overseas Cash offered to wire Paul money immediately and courier a replacement card to him, which would be there within a week.
Paul rejected Overseas Cash’s suggestions. He did not want to carry around a large sum of money and did not know where he would be in a week’s time. Instead Paul relied on his travelling companion for money and completed his journey. Unfortunately Paul was not able to experience as many excursions as he would have liked or buy any souvenirs. Paul also said his travelling companion’s trip was affected because she had to use some of her spending money to help him.
When Paul returned home he complained to Overseas Cash. Overseas Cash agreed it had contributed to Paul’s loss of enjoyment and offered Paul $250. Paul did not think $250 came close to compensating him for the lost enjoyment of the holiday and refused to accept it. Overseas Cash gave Paul our details but Paul did not pursue the complaint for two years.
Paul was under the impression that because the card had expired he had lost the money in his account. By the time the complaint reached us Paul’s relationship with Overseas Cash had deteriorated to the point where Paul threatened an Overseas Cash staff member. Overseas Cash served Paul with a trespass notice, and referred him to us.
Paul wanted Overseas Cash to pay:
- the cost of his telephone calls from South America to Overseas Cash – $160.29
- half the conversion costs on his travelling companion’s credit card – $108.36
- the EU1,800 on the travel card into his bank account at the exchange rate used when Paul originally purchased the funds
- interest on the EU1,800 for the two years it was in his travel card account
- the dollar value of the missed excursions – $400
- the dollar value of the souvenirs unable to be purchased – $250
- compensation for inconvenience.
Overseas Cash was not prepared to pay Paul any more compensation. Overseas Cash agreed it should not have issued a card that was due to expire so soon, but said $250 was reasonable compensation for the error. Overseas Cash said it offered to wire Paul money immediately and could get a card to him within a week but Paul was not prepared to consider these alternatives. Overseas Cash did not see what more it could have done to help Paul.
Whenever we receive a complaint we look to see what we can do to help the parties quickly resolve matters. We were able to quickly explain to Paul his money was still in his Overseas Cash account, and this went some way towards calming the situation.
It seemed to us that some of the things Paul wanted were not unreasonable. We suggested, and Overseas Cash agreed to:
- reimburse the cost of the telephone calls and the credit card currency conversion costs
- convert the money in Paul’s account into New Zealand dollars at the original currency conversion rate and return that money to him
- pay a further $250 in compensation for inconvenience.
We asked Paul whether he would accept Cash Passport’s settlement offer. We explained that we did not think it was fair for Overseas Cash to pay Paul for the lost interest – it was his decision to delay referring the complaint to us. We also explained the compensation for inconvenience was intended to make up for his lost opportunities.
We then discovered that although Overseas Cash had posted Paul a cheque for $250 two years previously, he had not banked it. Overseas Cash agreed to include the original $250 in the settlement offer if Paul returned the cheque. Paul posted us the cheque and Overseas Cash increased its settlement offer by a further $250.
Paul accepted Overseas Cash’s settlement offer of $4,274.21. A complaint that had been ongoing for over two years was resolved within 23 days of the start of our investigation.