Grace on the Case was one year old this year, with hundreds of individuals being helped by our consumer reporter.

These cases have included helping vacationmakers fight for their money with travel companies to making sure that elderly people claim benefits from insurance.

There have been many wins that helped consumers from all walks of the country, ranging in the thousands to the millions.

The past year of This is Money’s Grace on the case reveals six notable wins. She was happy to get the money back and found them unusual. 

Grace on the Case celebrated one year in November with thousands won back for consumers

Grace on the Case celebrates one year of Grace on the Case in November, with thousands being won back by consumers

1. My car had been stolen before I realized it.

This is the first Grace on the Case article. A reader purchased a Ford Fiesta via Auto Trader for £8,623.

He reported the car to police after it was later stolen. However, police discovered that it was actually a stolen car with the identity of another vehicle.

He was unable make a claim with his insurance company and Auto Trader refused to accept any liability.

To be told your stolen car was already stolen at the time of purchase was obviously a massive blow for the reader and meant he was nearly £9,000 out of pocket.

Auto Trader was contacted to clarify the matter and it offered a complete refund. 

However, it serves as a warning to anyone looking to buy online – always do your research.  

2. Because I sat down on my couch wearing clothing, I was informed that the sofa had been stained.

This is one of the more unusual Grace on the Case stories. It relates to a reader who ordered a white reclining sofa from retailer, Sofology, at a cost of £1,100.

After the arrival of the sofa, the brown leather became darkened and the cleaner purchased from the shop wasn’t able to remove the marks.

A technician was sent by the firm to investigate the situation. The reader received shocking news: the transfer occurred from clothes and that the cleaning kits would not work. 

Technician added that the only way of avoiding transference was for you to be in the chair naked.

Obviously, a sofa is meant for sitting on – clothed – so the advice was pretty bizarre.

Sofology initially sent another technician to inspect the sofa after we had contacted them. Eventually, they agreed to send another chair free of cost.  

A reader was told his white sofa was getting stained as he was lounging on it wearing clothes (stock image)

One reader received a report that his white sofa had become stained from him sitting on it while he was wearing clothing (stock image).

3. My husband’s death insurance will not pay me 

This story, which unfortunately involved a young widow who had to care for two children and was one of the largest wins Grace on the Case has ever seen, is one that will be remembered.

A widow called to report that her husband had passed away unexpectedly in December last year. After his passing, she put in a life insurance claim with Legal & General with the fund sitting at £106,000.

She waited for several months before she heard anything. After chasing her up, she learned that doctors had not provided the required medical records. 

Another six months after that, Legal & General had still not chased for the records and had not progressed the claim at all.

Reader stated she was in dire need of the funds to help her take care and move to her new home.

We contacted Legal & General to ask why it was taking so long to organise a transfer of the funds.

The company admitted that there had been unacceptable delays, and that it was not meeting its “usual high standards”.

We’ve won back nearly £400k for readers this year  

Grace on the Case has won readers back £388,840.23 over the course of a year, from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

Grace Gausden, a This is Money consumer expert, addresses reader concerns and shines a light on businesses doing good and evil.

If you have a problem you want investigating or want to praise a firm for going that extra mile, get in touch:

4. VW Financial Services told me I’d paid off my late husband’s car but then demanded an extra £13,000

This story is similar in that it helps another widow with financial issues after the death of her husband.

After purchasing a SkodaOctavia from a car loan agreement, the couple lost their marriage in unexpected circumstances in 2020.

Following his death, Volkswagen Financial Services said she had to pay £7,743.32 as the full and final settlement figure which meant she would have ownership of the car.

However, a few weeks later, she was told that was actually a voluntary termination figure and she still owed them a further £13,416.67 to clear the finance.

It was an enormous sum of money, and she could not settle probate until it was resolved. This caused her stress when she needed to be at peace with the loss.

There was much back and forth trying to get this situation sorted but weeks after we first contacted VWFS, it finally agreed that she could keep the car, without having to pay the additional £13,416.67, vetoing the amount completely.

It meant that the reader could resolve probate and concentrate her efforts on settling her husband’s estate. 

UPS are charging customers, who are awaiting international deliveries, fees on their doorstep

UPS is charging international delivery customers fees at their door

5. UPS refused to deliver my parcel from Belgium unless I paid £368 in unspecified taxes

After revealing the huge flaw in international shopping, this story spurred many others.

6. Offers for debt repayment

Recently, we investigated the case of a cancer survivor who had an overdraft debt of £2,000 that had been passed on to debt collectors.

She agreed to a £50 a month payment plan she was happy with. She was then forced to suspend the payment due to the pandemic.

She was subsequently threatened with a CCJ against her name – a harsh and cruel move for a person who should be focusing on her health, rather than this stress. We managed to get her back on that plan and we believed that was the end of it…

Two of your lovely readers anonymously offered to pay her off. She was blown away by the gesture but politely declined – insisting that there were charities out there that needed the money far more than she did.

A reader ordered a Queen’s Beasts 1oz gold coin from a company based in Belgium for £1,760 and it was dispatched using UPS.

The delivery firm told him there was a £368.43 government charge he needed to pay, even though he was told there was no VAT or any tax at all on investment gold.

UPS refused to hand over the parcel without paying the money.  

The UK’s consumers experienced a variety of adjustments in taxes and fees after Brexit.

Online information on the subject is unclear and delivery firms seem to have pulled numbers out of thin air.  

UPS were able to rectify the situation and ship the coin free of charge after I had contacted them.

Many others were left in the same boat and charged hundreds of pounds without knowing whether they are right or wrong. 

You can read more on this case by clicking here. Customers who require advice can visit This is Money’s article.

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