Zettle allows me to accept credit card and debit card payments on behalf of my small business. I sell ladies’ Italian clothing at a market in Somerset.
My account was breached in April but I didn’t notice until July, when my business accounts were low. Zettle was notified and provided a crime number. There have been delays and rebuttals since then.
I lost £5,482 — a substantial sum for a small business. On October 18th, I received a message that funds were in my account. It didn’t arrive.
L. B., Clevedon, Somerset.
UnZettling: A market trader found herself £5,482 out of pocket after scammers hacked into the iZettle device she uses to take credit and debit card transactions
Tony Hazell replies: PayPal took over Zettle, a payment platform that was founded in 2016. The hackers stole your account and sent the money to a building society account.
PayPal quickly reimbursed me for the fraud payments after I got in touch. It also provided a new free dock and credit card machine, and gave you a £20 voucher.
You were very happy with this but told me: ‘My concern is that once the hacker was in my account, it was too easy to delete and change the existing bank account details.’
A PayPal spokesman says: ‘We never lose sight of the fact that we are entrusted to look after people’s money. We take this responsibility very seriously and use advanced fraud and risk management tools to keep our customers safe.’
Clerical Medical will not accept my signature
Clerical Medical wrote August that my Home Investor policy would expire on October 18th. I immediately returned the forms.
On October 15, I received a letter, dated October 4, stating that the signatures didn’t match.
To find out if I was allowed to sign the policy, I phoned. The policy also had my maiden and first marriage names.
The company requested the latest signature, and I sent it.
The scan was sent to me by email. I then called back on October 18 and was told that all the details had been added. On October 25, the firm said it still wasn’t happy with my signature and wanted a copy of my passport or other identification.
The next day, I sent an email with a scan copy. It could take up to105 days for me to get my money.
H. O., Shaftesbury, Dorset.
Tony Hazell replies:The policy was intended to pay off your mortgage. You may have had to pay interest for up to three months if this was your intent.
You had long ago given up relying on it to repay your mortgage, but the £48,000 you were expecting after paying £98.40 per month since 1996 would still come in handy.
Lloyds Bank owns Clerical Medical and says it received your form in September. They followed the toing and froing.
Lloyds has paid your money, added £200 compensation plus £85.42 interest covering the dilly-dallying period. A spokesman says: ‘We appreciate that our communication should have been better.’
My son has left me without a job after I purchased my home for a bargain price
I sold my £680,000 home to my son for £230,000. He promised to release my equity in order for me to retire peacefully.
He also has a mortgage of £230,000 on a two-bedroom flat valued at £480,000, where I live and pay rent.
Because I am 70, and I still work as an nurse, I asked for money. He now says he can’t get equity release. What should I do?
M. W., Reading, Berks.
Tony Hazell replies:This letter warns parents against transferring assets that could have a negative impact on their family’s life. I feel like your son expects you to work until your 70s for his financial well-being.
Talk to your financial advisor and have a honest discussion. Your last resort would be to reduce or stop paying rent — but this would have serious implications for your son.
Rachel McEleney from Deloitte is the associate tax director. She says inheritance taxes must be known. ‘This will depend on the precise arrangements between M. W. and her son, and whether the rent that she is paying is the full market rate.
‘If she has sold a property worth £680,000 for £230,000, without her having a legal entitlement to further proceeds, she has made a gift to him worth £450,000.
‘Ordinarily, this transfer could become exempt from inheritance tax after seven years, but the arrangement that she has made with her son regarding occupation of the flat could complicate this.’
McEleney states that anti-avoidance clauses could result in inheritance tax and income tax penalties if there is a direct or indirect benefit to the gift. She adds: ‘These provisions generally don’t apply if full market rent is being paid.’ You and your son should seek tax advice.
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