The travel card
Max was heading to Scotland and purchased a travel card from Card Easy Limited which he loaded with pounds to use while travelling.
Before purchasing the card, Max contacted two agents which sold the card. Max said both agents told him he would not need to take a credit card with him because he could rely on the travel card.
Upon his arrival in Glasgow, Max attempted to use the travel card to pay for the hire of a vehicle. However, the travel card was not accepted by the vehicle hire company. Max had not taken his credit card with him and could not pay to hire the vehicle.
Max then made arrangements to have his credit card couriered by his neighbour in New Zealand to Glasgow. Max had formed the view that the travel card was not a reliable form of payment.
Max had intended to drive the hire vehicle to the south east of Scotland. As he could not hire the vehicle he took an earlier than planned trip to Edinburgh. This meant Max had to return from Edinburgh to Glasgow to pick up his credit card when it arrived, and pay for accommodation in Edinburgh.
Upon his return to New Zealand, Max sent an invoice to Card Easy for around $1,100. This amount was made up of:
- $300 for Max’s ‘lost enjoyment’ of the trip to south east Scotland
- courier costs
- costs of travel been Glasgow and Edinburgh
- additional accommodation costs
- conversion and cash advance fees
- costs of making calls on his mobile phone to his bank and to his neighbour
- payment for professional services Max said he provided to Card Easy.
Max complained he was unable to log onto Card Easy’s website to load funds onto his card using his android phone. Card Easy’s website said the card could be reloaded from anywhere in the world, as long as you could access your internet banking.
When he could not reload his travel card Max called Card Easy. Max said he was unable to speak to a person about his problem.
Max was eventually able to reload funds onto his travel card, but complained the funds did not become available in the time Card Easy had specified.
Max also complained that Card Easy took too long to respond to his initial complaint.
Should Max have taken his credit card to Scotland?
We reviewed the calls Max made to Card Easy’s agents before purchasing the card and saw the agents had indicated that other payment methods, like a credit card, should be taken in addition to the travel card.
We also thought that it is always sensible to take more than one method of payment when travelling overseas. We told Max that his decision to only take the travel card meant he had contributed to his problems.
The vehicle hire
Card Easy’s terms and conditions included a clause stating that some businesses may not accept the card as a means of pre-authorising a payment. When Max went to pay for the hire vehicle he was trying to pre-authorise the payment he would have needed to make when the vehicle was returned. We found that Card Easy had not breached its terms and conditions when the card could not be used by Max to pay for the pre-authorisation.
Max problems with reloading his card using his bank’s internet banking website was due to an error by his bank, not Card Easy,.
We found Max had been inconvenienced when he was unable to speak to a person at Card Easy. We suggested Card Easy should ensure its automated call system included a fall back option to speak to a person.
Max said he provided Card Easy with advice about how it could improve its IT systems. We found that there was no contract between Max and Card Easy for the provision of advice and Card Easy did not need to compensate Max for his ‘professional services’.
Inconvenience and direct financial loss
The loss of enjoyment Max suffered by not being able to take the trip to the south east of Scotland was consequential loss not direct financial loss. This meant Card Easy did not need to compensate Max for the $300 he claimed. We also found Card Easy had taken too long to respond to Max’s initial complaint. However, we did not agree that Card Easy should compensate Max for currency conversion charges and cash advance fees, as he would have incurred these costs in any event.
Card Easy had already made an ex gratia payment to Max of $100, and offered to settle the complaint by making a further $250 ex gratia payment.
We were of the view there were some shortcomings in Card Easy’s service, and Max had suffered inconvenience, but overall we were of the view that an ex gratia payment of $350 was a reasonable settlement offer.
Max accepted our views, and the further $250 from the Card Easy, and withdrew his complaint.