THE Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.
Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Jane Hamilton will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.
Jane Hamilton, property expertJane Hamilton has tips to get your property deals over the line
GET REGENCY WOW FACTOR
RACY historical drama Bridgerton has become Netflix’s most-watched original series, with 82million households tuning in for its first 28 days online.
The saucy Regency series is also having a huge impact on home decor, creating a boom in four-poster bed sales. There are simple ways to add Bridgerton glamour to your own home . . .
Here are seven simple ways to add some Bridgerton wow to your home
❶ Gilt panelling: Fake the luxury look using MDF panelling. Watch DIY ace Liza Prideaux on YouTube to get started, then finish with gold paint.
❷ Sash windows: The finest Georgian homes all featured sash windows. You can install from £350, according to Checkatrade.
❸ Rugs: Copy the lavish drawing room vibe with a plush Regency-style rug. Pick up secondhand from eBay or try copies at Dunelm.
❹ Antique furniture: Charity stores are a great source of reproduction Regency furniture. Search their online outlets for side tables, dining tables and sideboards in a mahogany shade.
❺ Heavy curtains: Pick rich velvet or Regency stripes for an authentic feel. Terrys- fabrics.co.uk has an affordable range.
❻ Wallpaper: Dark florals or classical prints give a classy touch. Try using as a feature wall or in bathrooms or loos, with added brass fittings.
❼ Chandeliers: These can be heavy, so check with a joiner that your joists can support the weight. Argos has vintage styles from £40.
BUY OF THE WEEK
Fancy Bath – this £245,000 two-bed terrace one of the more affordable options
TAKE the plunge in Bath. The Roman city, which is also famed for its Georgian architecture, is ranked top of 1,400 areas compared for beauty and quality of life by Garrington Property Finders. It is also one of the UK’s most expensive areas, making this £245,000 two-bed terrace one of the more affordable options. See zoopla.co.uk.
DEAL OF THE WEEK
Prices are on the floor
FLOORING Superstore is offering ten per cent off all purchases, today and tomorrow only. You can use the code SALE10 at flooringsuperstore.com.
SAVE: Average £40
Judge Rinder, legal expert
Judge Rinder helps a reader with a neglectful landlord
‘My boy’s dad was released from jail but is wanted by police again – can I change son’s name to stop bullying?’
Q) I HAVE a four-year-old son. His father didn’t have much contact with him for the first year of his life and then went to prison for two and a half years.
During this time, he contacted me and said he had changed – and wanted to be a father to my son. I agreed to let him have supervised contact when he was released.
He came out of prison in November last year but within days was wanted by the police for recall to prison. He has now disappeared and, while hiding, his photo and name are being shared on social media.
My son is in nursery with his surname. It’s an embarrassment and I don’t want him being bullied because of who his father is.
I would like to have him removed from the birth certificate and have my son put in my name. Is this possible?
Name and address supplied
A) Just when you gave this man an opportunity to come back into his boy’s life, he failed you and his own son.
There is, however, no legal way of erasing this man from your son’s history. He cannot be removed from a birth certificate unless he’s proven not to be the biological parent.
You could have your son‘s surname changed by deed poll but this would require the consent of your son’s errant father, despite him being in jail.
Although this is inexpensive and straightforward, I do wonder whether it’s worth it. I find that children ultimately learn who their parents are, whatever you do.
Q) ARE you able to help us claim consequential costs from our airline? We were abandoned when it cancelled our return flights last March.
We had no help from the airline, the airport desk was closed and we were not able to get through by phone.
Our only option was to buy very expensive flights with British Airways back from Lanzarote to Gatwick airport – and then deal with the cost of getting back to Manchester airport, where we left the car.
We are more than £2,000 out of pocket and the airline is continuing to ignore us.
A) The answer is not as legally straightforward as it should be. When your airline cancelled, it was under an obligation to get you on an alternative flight as soon as possible or, if it was no longer operating because of Covid, there should have been UK Foreign Office assistance to help you.
If your holiday insurer won’t cover these extortionate costs (or some), you must write to the original airline demanding compensation – mainly the difference between your original flights and the BA seats.
Find out whether the airline has signed up to the ombudsman scheme. I would also ask your local Citizens Advice.
Mel Hunter, Reader’s champion
Mel Hunter helps a reader who bought a faulty treadmill
Q) I RETURNED my hire car to Alicante Airport at 6am a year ago, last January. The office wasn’t open, so we put the keys into the return box.
Only then did we realise my wife had left her phone between the front seats. We could see it but without the keys, we couldn’t retrieve it.
You would think this would be an easy problem to resolve. But despite repeated attempts to call Avis’ Alicante office, as well as repeated emails, they didn’t respond.
Avis’ customer service couldn’t get an answer either. Then Covid took hold and getting in touch with Avis was extremely difficult.
The most recent reply I got was in Spanish, which I don’t speak – and Google Translate doesn’t help much. But from what I gather Avis, has washed its hands of the matter.
Leslie Johnston, Ballyclare, Co Antrim
A) I got in touch with Avis for you. The car hire firm said the phone was never found in the vehicle and asked if you had a photograph to show it had been there.
You are kicking yourself that you did not take that picture. Without a photo – and given the months that had passed – Avis took the word of its employees over yours, though the company did acknowledge the poor service you had received.
Avis told me: “While we are not responsible for customers’ lost property and we have no evidence of the phone being left at our Alicante Airport site, to apologise for the time it has taken to resolve the issue we have arranged a refund of £100.”
Cancelled Barcelona trip has led to flight refund problems
Q) WE booked a May trip on vueling.com to Barcelona with friends. When it was cancelled, we asked for a full refund. The hotel money was refunded promptly.
After numerous phone calls, the outward flight was refunded from Vueling but the return flight money of £475 has apparently been paid to an intermediate firm with whom we have had no contact.
We find this really strange as we booked and paid the full amounts for the flights and hotel to Vueling.
We tried to get in touch with the other firm but with no joy.
MARK and LESLEY JEANS
A) The costs for the hotel and the outbound flight had been paid back by Vueling. But the £475 owed for the home-bound flight was missing.
You insisted that you had booked the holiday directly with Vueling – and, indeed, you sent me booking forms showing this.
But Vueling’s records suggested a third-party online travel agent was involved somewhere along the line.
I am not sure we will ever know exactly what happened. But with me on the case, Vueling managed to track down your missing £475, which had gone to the agent, and get it paid back to you.
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