Readers’ queries

This week features Visa Debit cards, package holidays and prices for parking

A Visa Debit card story with a sting in the tale

Like most Bank of Ireland customers, Caitríona Ní Bhaoill was changed over from a Laser card to a Visa Debit last year. "I recall that the letter we received with the cards specified that they were not Visa cards in the credit card sense so if you didn't have money in the account you couldn't use the card," she writes.

“I was recently charged €33.50 in over-limit items for my card, accrued over two days,” she said. “I had continued to use my card not knowing that I was over the limit. The bank continued to authorise the payments. Apparently, they told me that this can happen because the balance doesn’t update straight away on the system,” she says.

She describes these charges as “quite extortionate, and they escalate each time”. When she realised she was being hit with the charges and notified the bank, they told her that if she went over her limit again in this quarter she would be charged €10 each time. “I have since had €25 of the €33.50 refunded, but I think it’s a very sneaky charge, and they were the ones authorising the transactions, not me, and therefore I don’t know why I would be the one charged. I write just so that you might warn others about this. It’s easy to build up charges unknowingly.”


Colour a matter of price discrimination at Tesco

Last week Alec Quinn's daughter decided to buy two student folders in Tesco as they were on special. The full price was €3 for one but two were selling for €5." At the cash desk she noticed the total came to €6. "On asking why she was told she had picked a red and a blue folder and that the offer only applied to folders of same colour."

Package holiday deal comes with unwelcome additional charge

Pete Clancy, a student, recently booked a holiday in the Canaries – his first in four years. He booked with

“Myself and my travel companion booked a package holiday in August with the full amount coming to €680. I was very happy with this as I believed I had a good deal and the amount was paid in full by credit card,” he says.

Two days later, he got a text message telling him of a €90 increase because, he was told, the cost of flights had increased. His friend paid up immediately. “I felt extremely hard done by as it was my belief I had agreed to the contract when I had paid the €680 in full. . . . it has left a sour taste in my mouth.”

While it may be annoying, the tour operator is not breaching any law. Up to 20 days before departure, a tour operator can increase prices if there is an increase in transport costs or the level of taxes, fees and charges payable at airports and ports or the exchange rates which apply to any package.

A witching hour of parking pricing

A reader who parked at St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre recently was charged €5 for 48 minutes.

“I thought this must be incorrect, and contacted customer services,” she writes.

“I was told new charges were introduced about a month ago. I was told that as I had entered after 6pm I was charged €1 for every 15 minutes from 18:26 (€3).

And after 7pm an “automatic” charge of €2 applied, giving €2 + €3,a total of €5. This is even more than the hourly peak day-time rate. “Perhaps you would alert the unwary.”