I am 85 and no longer fit to drive. But when I took my name off my wife’s insurance, Tesco Bank charged us £118 MORE: SALLY SORTS IT

I am a driver on my 79 year old wife’s comprehensive Tesco Bank car insurance policy. The premium increased from £508 to £1,127 on renewal, although my wife managed to reduce it to £908.

I have now been seeing an optometrist for several months because of double vision and I indicated this when renewing my driver’s license. I am 85 and it is advised not to drive.

I called Tesco Bank to request my removal from cover. I expected a reduction in the premium but was shocked to be told that not only would there be no discount on the price, but I would also have to pay them £118.

I refused to cancel because I thought this was absurd – and I told them so.

DJ, Kettering, Northants.

Sally Hamilton replies: Tesco Bank’s response to your facial problem seemed quirky and I understand how annoyed you felt. Not only were you faced with the disappointment that would change your lifestyle if you had to give up your driver’s license after 68 years, but also with an unpleasant financial penalty for giving up insurance coverage that you could not use.

You did the right thing by telling the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency about your double vision, known as diplopia. It is one of six eye conditions that motorists must report to the agency. Drivers can be fined up to £1,000 if they fail to declare a medical condition affecting their driving. They risk being prosecuted if they are involved in an accident as a result.

I have asked Tesco Bank to review your case and explain why you were charging extra to cover an entire person who is worth less. The company came back saying that this calculation was normal for its business under such circumstances. A spokesperson said: ‘Insurance premiums are assessed based on a range of risk factors, including whether a couple is insured on the same policy. If this is the case, we apply a discount to the premium.’

There is a method to this apparent madness. The insurer says its claims data suggests that a couple insured on the same car policy are less likely to make a claim than a single driver and can therefore receive a discount.

The lost discount on your premium, combined with the cost of adjusting it taking into account the period before your exclusion, was €118. Tesco Bank admits that in its discussions with you it could have been clearer about why it was premiums are calculated in this way. The spokesperson said: ‘We recognize that we could have done more to explain the impact of removing his name from the joint policy when he contacted us. We have since spoken with DJ and agreed to remove him from the policy as requested. As a gesture of goodwill, we have reintroduced the discount on the premium.’ It was also agreed to waive the £40 cancellation fee (applicable if policies are canceled after the initial 14 day cooling off period), should your wife decide to request a quote from another insurer.

When I spoke to you last week, you told me that you were now recovering well from the operation on your right eye and were still having problems with the other eye. You said your wife decided to adhere to Tesco’s policy but added your 55-year-old son as a second driver. This also resulted in a discount, but only £16, meaning the total premium was £892.

I have been a customer of Barclays for 31 years. Although I no longer live in the UK, my accounts have remained active. At the end of November last year, I called the bank after my card kept getting declined and I couldn’t access my accounts online. I was told they were closed as I live in Australia.

The bank said they had written to me with the information – including a unique reference number (URN) – that would allow me to transfer my money from the account.

I never received any letters. I filled out a chargeback form I downloaded from the bank’s website and wrote a covering letter – explaining that I had not received a closure notice nor a URN – and sent it by certified mail on December 11.

In early February I received a response dated a month earlier, containing another form and a request to send it with the URN. I spent 45 minutes on the phone explaining the situation again but was constantly asked for the reference number which I never received. What can I do?

CP, Perth, Australia.

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Sally Hamilton replies: You explained to me that you have had two accounts with Barclays since you were 15. Money comes in from the rent of a flat area owned by your father and sister in Britain, as well as from regular birthday and Christmas gifts paid for by the family for your children. The balance at the time the account was closed was just over £3,000.

Your situation arose because Barclays decided four years ago to stop offering accounts to people abroad without a UK address and has gradually closed existing accounts.

Other banks took similar action against customers in certain European countries after Britain left the EU. Under Barclays rules, customers can only manage their accounts with an address outside the UK if they work outside the UK for six months or less, or are employed by organizations such as the armed forces or the diplomatic service. People with power of attorney on a customer’s account may also have an address abroad.

Barclays told me it wrote to you about a year ago, giving several months’ notice that the account would be closed, and setting out your options. The information sent will include detailed instructions for other banking matters, such as withdrawing or transferring balances and downloading any statements or information you may need. Barclays says two further reminders have been issued, including the URN. You never received this.

Although your problems were probably made worse by the international postal service, Barclays did not make your life easy when you tried to resolve the matter over the phone. For example, the URN will not be sent by email or passed on to you over the telephone.

Barclays has confirmed it has received the downloaded chargeback forms you sent in January, but was unable to act on your instructions as they did not include the URN. This is despite the fact that someone on the phone told you that it wouldn’t matter if you explained the problem in an accompanying note.

Following my intervention, Barclays sent you another letter with new forms and URN, which fortunately arrived safely. You have now completed and returned it, and recently you told me that the money has finally been released. You thanked me for my help.

All is not lost regarding your UK banking affairs. You and your husband have a rarely used joint account in Halifax, which until recently held only £15. You were concerned that this would suffer the same fate as your Barclays accounts, but you were relieved that Halifax assured you that they would not close the account. You have now transferred your rental income to that account.

A Barclays spokesperson said: ‘Our Barclays UK products are designed for customers in Great Britain. Barclays UK no longer offers personal checking or savings accounts to retail customers who have an address outside the UK registered with us, with limited exceptions. This customer was informed of this decision six months before the account was closed and information was provided on the next steps to take.”

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