We are in dispute with Marks & Spencer over the transfer of colour from a pair of men’s jeans, which has ruined one of our settees, also purchased from M&S.
We returned the garment for a refund and were given the number of someone who would deal with the matter.
But each time we call, we are told that ‘due to the unique method of finishing this fabric, some colour transfer may occur’. This, they claim, is clearly stated on the jeans.
At the time of the complaint, M&S was offering a 20 per cent discount off the price of new furniture.
We suggested that if it would increase this, we could purchase a new suite and that would be the end of the matter. However, I have had a negative reply.
What is fair about a pair of £30 jeans ruining a suite that cost around £2,500? My partner and I have purchased many pairs of jeans in our time, but have never experienced colour transference from one dry cloth to another.
Mrs B. A., Wirral.
Feeling blue: One reader’s expensive sofa was ruined thanks to a pair of M&S men’s jeans
When I contacted Marks & Spencer, I said this was one of the most ludicrous complaints ever to come across my desk. Is M&S seriously suggesting someone should not sit down on a sofa in a pair of jeans in case the colour transfers?
Are gentlemen supposed to remove their trousers before sitting? Perhaps we should all wander round naked!
M&S quickly got on the case. It tells me that to create an indigo denim, it uses a dye that creates a small risk of dye loss.
I might expect this to lead to caution when tossing a pile of clothes into the washing machine, but I still wouldn’t expect colour to transfer from my backside on to the sofa.
M&S says, on rare occasions, colour can transfer on to some light-coloured materials, especially if damp. I note that you say your partner’s jeans were dry.
M&S says it never wants to disappoint customers. So, in addition to the refund for the jeans, it will be offering a full sofa cleaning service as a goodwill gesture.
However, you have bought a new sofa, so it is sending you a £100 gift voucher.
YOU HAVE YOUR SAY
Every week, Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails. Here are some of the best from our article about how defiant homeowners are rebelling against a Government move to install smart energy meters in all our homes…
This week, I have had three missed phone calls and two text messages from my energy company, asking me to make an appointment to fit a smart meter.
It has even booked in a meeting twice without my asking. I had to threaten to go to Ofgem, the energy regulator, to get them to leave me alone.
C. D., Staffordshire.
The whole thing is farcical. Many areas of the country don’t have decent enough signal for smart meters to be installed. Luckily for me, I live in one of those areas.
E. B., Scarborough.
I’ve had my smart meter for six years and it’s the best thing since sliced bread. My bills have definitely come down. I can’t praise them enough.
H. L., Hertfordshire.
My energy company called me out of the blue to say my meter was ready to be changed.
They word it cleverly, so it sounds as if you have no choice. I told them straight that I didn’t want one.
B. H., Edinburgh.
I can’t understand why people are so worried about smart meters and unwilling to modernise.
I am 78 and do everything online where possible. I am one happy smart meter customer.
M. H., Axminster, Devon.
People with smart meters might think they are great now, but they won’t be so happy when the grid is at full capacity and the energy companies decide to use them to turn off your electricity.
C. W., Hull.
You may or may not gain from a smart meter, but the energy firms will gain most.
They tell you your data will be safe and can only be accessed by certain personnel — but that’s what the NHS said before it was hit by a cyber attack.
If you’re hooked up to the internet, your security is always at risk.
M. K., Malaga, Spain.
I have been trying to transfer my Isa from Stocktrade to Hargreaves Lansdown, but am tearing out what little hair I have left, as this has been going on for more than three months.
Stocktrade — now part of Alliance Trust Savings (ATS) — has consistently failed to communicate with me.
I raised a complaint, which was upheld by ATS, but no action was taken and no apology or compensation offered.
I have had consistent problems with both Stocktrade and ATS ignoring communications from me, so I would assume that the fault lies with them.
I will be relieved to be rid of both Stocktrade and ATS, as I feel the way I have been treated is disgraceful.
D. B., Lincolnshire.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I, too, initially had trouble getting a response from ATS.
Most firms have some form of media contact on their website — ATS doesn’t.
I phoned the company three times, leaving various messages, without response.
Meanwhile, I made contact with Hargreaves Lansdown, which confirmed that it had received a valuation of your Isa from Stocktrade on July 5 and responded on July 12, suggesting trading and settlement dates, which are essential for the transfer.
On August 7, Stocktrade emailed saying it had not received these, so Hargreaves sent new ones. Hargreaves chased these on August 8, August 22 and September 8.
Apparently, Hargreaves is often able to agree the trading and settlement dates by phone, but Stocktrade/Alliance Trust will only do this via email — which can add to clients’ frustration.
I eventually managed to make contact with ATS’s press people. They told me that the firm accepts your version of events. It apologises and confirms the transfer will ‘complete imminently’.
It has waived its usual transfer administration charge and sent you a £200 goodwill gesture. I also informed Hargreaves — it will be on a special lookout for your Isa.
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
We have an annual travel insurance policy with cancellation cover, which expires next month.
But we have booked holidays for next year. Do I need to take out a new policy now to cover these, or can I wait until my existing one expires?
K. S., via email.
You can wait. Your cancellation cover will be valid until the policy expires. Should you need to cancel a holiday before next month, you will be able to claim, regardless of when the trip is.
Be sure to have your next policy lined up so there’s no break in your cover.
I keep getting phone calls about investing in fine wines. The caller says the name AWRS. Should I invest?
K. C., Kent.
Treat any call about investing in wine with suspicion — it is high risk and you could lose a lot of cash.
Moreover, many people touting wine investments are scammers. The ‘AWRS’ name you refer to is a scheme that gives businesses the seal of approval to sell alcohol.
But mentioning that is no guarantee someone is telling the truth. Steer clear!
I bought a fridge from Argos that was advertised as ‘frost free’. When I used it, this turned out not to be the case. But the shop won’t refund me because it’s used.
J. B., Doncaster, South Yorks.
Argos has apologised for the confusion and, because you’ve already bought another fridge, offered you a refund.
Virgin Media promised to refund me £50 after I complained about poor service, but I haven’t received a cheque. Please can you help me get the money I am owed?
J. S., Tamworth, Staffs.
The telecoms provider has apologised for the delay in processing your refund and has now posted you the promised cheque.
I ordered wooden patio doors and a window from Magnet — but when my builder came, he found that one of the locking points was misaligned and a section of wood was warped.
The company sent me £150, but this won’t pay for the work to fix it.
S. C., Somerset.
Magnet says these problems are rare and has sent you a replacement door and window, plus £300 to pay for the work.
A Scottish Power contractor came to fit a smart meter. After this, my switches stopped working downstairs, including the oxygen tank on which I rely.
I had to call out an emergency electrician to get my power working again, which cost £185. Can you help me get a refund?
S. A., Renfrewshire.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone accuse a smart energy meter of being rather less intelligent than billed.
Other readers say appliances in their homes have stopped working when they’ve updated their power supply. Could the radio waves used by the new meters be causing electrical interference?
Scottish Power says no — the problems you experienced were the result of faulty wiring in your home and had nothing to do with the meter change.
In any case, it has offered to refund your electrician’s bill as a goodwill gesture. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has experienced similar issues.