The high cost of travelling west to east
Your consumer queries answered
A reader called Éilís Ní Dhuibhne was driving from Kerry to Dublin last week and noticed that the price of a litre of unleaded petrol increases substantially as you cross the country from west to east.
On the day she was travelling, she noticed that a litre of petrol cost €1.52 in Tralee, Co Kerry. By the time she got to Dublin it had risen to “€1.59 in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin”.
A credit-card crunch in the balance transfer market
“At this time of year, many people are looking at changing credit cards to save a bit of money,” writes a reader called Sarah. It is a sensible thing to do but she has “a warning” about Tesco’s credit-card division. “I applied for a Tesco credit card as it offered 0 per cent interest on balance transfers. It’s being touted as a good deal,” she says.
Indeed, Pricewatch has recommended this option to readers in the past. Typically, how it works is a customer applies for a new credit card – in Sarah’s case, to Tesco. The new company then pays the previous credit-card company, in this case MBNA, the outstanding balance on the customer’s old card.
The customer then owes the old company nothing, and owes the new company the outstanding balance. It is all very simple. Or at least it is supposed to be.
Sarah applied and included details of the balance transfer she wanted to do. “I got the new Tesco credit card, and a few days later got a credit- requested. That was around December 11th.”
The payment from Tesco to MBNA had not showed up by December 28th so she called Tesco. “They informed me payment had been rejected for some reason. I asked them to try it again, since I had spent some money on the new Tesco card and I couldn’t transfer the full original amount I had requested.” She told them to transfer what they could.
Two weeks on, and the payment to MBNA was still not showing up. “At this stage, I had to make the minimum payment on my MBNA card so as not to be charged. I called Tesco; they told me MBNA was rejecting the payment. I called MBNA, and they said there were problems with Tesco and that [MBNA] weren’t rejecting payments.”
She called Tesco again, and was left on hold for about 15 minutes as a call-centre operator spoke to a technical department. “She tells me they are having on-going issues with transfers to MBNA credit cards, and don’t seem to be able to do it. As it stands, I now have two credit cards, as I can’t transfer the balance from my MBNA card. I am going to pay off the balance of what I spent on the Tesco card with an MBNA cheque, and close the Tesco account. There is also no online service with Tesco. Payments are also slow to hit the account. The 0 per cent interest on balance transfers is definitely not worth the hassle.”