Readers queries

This week features bank charges, drug prices and special offers in Tesco

Pedestrians walk past a branch of Allied Irish Banks in Dublin

Pedestrians walk past a branch of Allied Irish Banks in Dublin

 

Massive bank charge for lodging a small cheque

A reader called Róisin contacted us about what she calls “another ridiculous bank charge” and we have to agree with her.

“I lodged a cheque into my AIB current account, the remaining balance of a closed Ulster Bank account, for the small amount of €3.13,” she writes. “Rather than lodging the amount, I have been charged a not so unsubstantial sum of €52.01 to process this transaction,” she adds.

How could she possibly have incurred such a charge? “Apparently a euro cheque from Ulster Bank needs to go through the foreign exchange department where it attracts an agent charge of €40. AIB has graciously let me off the hook for €8.88 but have somehow authorised my account be debited by €43.13,” she writes. “And to cap it off, they claim the cheque can’t be lodged because the amount is too small.

“So, in summary, I go to lodge a cheque, they say sorry “too small an amount, but we’ve charged you €43.13 for our inconvenience. I have contacted the bank and have received no response. Surprise surprise.”

She says she will also be contacting the National Consumer Agency and the Financial Ombudsman if she gets no response from AIB.

We contacted AIB after which it got in touch with our reader to resolve the issue.

A spokeswoman said confidentiality meant she could not go into the details of that conversation. She pointed out that AIB would have been delighted to accept the money but the cheque had been returned from Ulster Bank
and it was that bank which had imposed the €40 charge,
not AIB.

“It was Ulster Bank that said the cheque was too small to process, AIB will process a cheque of any amount.”

Stop moaning about drug prices, says reader

Last week we featured a story from Joe in Dublin. He and his wife were spending €720 between them, annually, for drugs to treat blood pressure and reflux. The same drugs, he said, cost about €120 in Northern Ireland. We thought this would annoy readers and the piece certainly did annoy Chris Byrne, but not it the way we imagined. “Joe is paying approximately 20 cent a day to have his high blood pressure controlled,” he writes. “Joe’s wife is paying the same to control her illness. A Solpadeine for a headache will set Joe back about 35 cent; The Irish Times would set Joe back 200 cent a day and a daily coffee in McDonald’s would set Joe back much more than 20 cent a day,” says Chris.

“The Irish Times, McDonald’s, the makers of Solpadeine and the companies supplying the wholesaler who supplies the pharmacist in Newry, who supplies Joe and his wife with life-changing drugs, are businesses which make profits.”

Our annoyed reader says he “could go on and on about the price of a pint, a packet of cigarettes and why they are so much cheaper in places outside of our country, but I believe you are very disingenuous in your article but understand that you are a business person and must make a profit to keep going and you do this in the way you do. You put ink on paper.” Okay.

Shopper uncovers a saucy pricing policy in Tesco

Sandra went to Tesco’s for its in-store, two-for-€4 deal on Dolmio sauces. “I chose two jars from the shelves advertised as the ‘selected range’. They had bright yellow signs and they were all exactly the same,” she writes. Individually, all jars were priced at €2.29 so she was saving 58 cent. “I picked up a jar of carbonara and bolognese sauce as they were both included in this offer.”

So far, so what? Well, when she checked the receipt, she saw she was charged full price for both jars. “I went back the next day to the customer service desk where I was advised that you had to buy two of the same jars to get the discount, despite there being no price difference between the sauces covered by the offer. This was not highlighted on any of their price signs. “I think this is quite an underhand and deceptive move on the part of Tesco, who state that ‘every little helps’, more likely they’re helping themselves every little way.”

We called Tesco and were told that there are three, two- for-€4 promotions on Dolmio sauces – the meatball/ bolognese range, the pasta bake range and the lasagne sauce range.

A spokesman said that promotion details are displayed on the shelf edge labels and “customers can mix and match products within each range but not between the ranges.”

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