How To Claim Compensation

How To Claim Compensation

When the unexpected happens, claiming back compensation can be a real pain and a lengthy process. More often than not, you probably decide it’s not worth the hassle, time or energy to claim. But it’s much easier than you think. Read on to find out how you can get your well-deserved money refunded…

On Delayed/Cancelled Flights:

To claim compensation, you need to contact the airline operating the flight, even if you booked it through another airline, according to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau – and be ready to give all your flight details and booking reference numbers.

You can also write your claim. The Civil Aviation Authority advise setting out your complaint clearly and concisely, explaining what happened and when, and why you feel you’re entitled to receive a payment. Be particularly clear about what you want, and state exactly what compensation and expenses you are claiming. Include all relevant information in your claim, which CAA list as:

  • Your full contact details, including address, email and phone number
  • Full details of all passengers, including names and addresses
  • Your booking reference and travel dates
  • The flight number, departure and destination airports
  • Details of where the disruption occurred
  • Information about the length of delays
  • The names of staff you spoke to
  • Supporting documents such as copies of all tickets, boarding cards and booking confirmations

Plus, keep hold of any emails from the airline, luggage tags, airport receipts, phone records or passport stamps as extra proof you were on that flight. The CAA have a great letter template you can use. Remember to keep copies of your claim and any response you get from the airline.

If you are offered less compensation than you’re entitled to (you can check how much you could be entitled to here) Paloma Salmeron, passenger rights expert at AirHelp, says 86% of UK air travellers are unaware of their rights and airlines will take advantage of this: “Your persistence could be the difference between a £50 compensation voucher and up to £600 in cash.” Also, if you’re asked to sign anything from your airline, Paloma advises you to read this thoroughly to ensure your compensation rights aren’t affected – don’t sign anything or accept any offers that could waive your rights to money back.

On Overpaid Tax:

Tax is probably one of the most common things to be overcharged on and one of the hardest to try and understand on your own. “I’ve come across clients that have cried over preparing their paperwork – it can cause all types of mixed feelings,” says Luciana Oliveira, owner and senior tax editor of business and finance consultancy ASK Consultancy Group.

The first thing you need to understand about your tax is how much you’ll actually owe, so you can work out if you’re being overcharged. The three main tax brackets are as such:

Basic rate tax payers: pay 20% on income greater than your tax allowance of £12,500 but under £50,000;
Higher rate tax payers: pay 40% on all income earned between £50,001 and £150,000;
Additional rate tax payers: pay 45% on all income earned beyond the higher rate income threshold of £150,000.

So, if you’re being charged 40% but earn under £50,000, that’s an immediate red flag, and you’ll need to contact HRMC. “Another way to check is to establish whether you’re paying too much is if you do not have the standard tax code for the current tax year. 1250L is the tax code currently used for most people who have one job or pension. Anything different could be a sign that there is a special circumstance about your taxation; it can be credit adjustment or a debit, meaning that you might be paying more or less according to your personal situation.”

If you find your tax code is incorrect, ask for help from your accountant, or contact your payroll department and explain you need to know more about your taxes – they can check back with HMRC who’ll be able to provide further information. “You can check yourself via your online gateway account or call HMRC directly, but it’s important to note that if you’re an employee, only HMRC can communicate adjustments to your employer,” Luciana explains. “HMRC tend to be quite efficient about tax code amendments, so it’s worth checking.”

If your tax difference can’t be amended by your employer, you can call HMRC, but you will need to have the following, according charity Low Incomes Tax Reform Group:

  • Your personal details: Full name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number;
  • Details of each of your employers: Their PAYE scheme reference number, which should be shown on your payslip;
  • Estimates of your earnings from each source for the current tax year

Once HMRC has processed your information they might issue you with a new tax code, meaning any refund will be added to your wages and the amount will generally be paid automatically through the payroll.

Alternatively, you can fill in a tac claim form from HMRC, send all the relevant evidence (your pay slip, P-11D, employment letter informing that no other employment is present and a P-45) and wait on a HMRC decision. “You can make claims for up to four years previous,” Luciana says. “You should keep your tax affairs for at least seven years. If you are confused, or you do not have the time to do it, or you tried and you think you are getting nowhere, there are charities such as TaxAid or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau that focus on financial and accounting issues. Alternatively, you can contact a qualified, registered, insured and actively acting accountant to assist you.

Check here for a list of charities that can help you claim your tax back.

On Water Bills:

There are certain standards that your water provider must follow – these are set out by the industry regulator Ofwat for things like appointments, maintaining your water supply and sorting out any interruption to your water supply. If a company doesn’t stick to these standards, then that’s your opportunity to get a little cash back.

With this, you need to know what you’re entitled to. According to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, if the company doesn’t keep to the time slot they have given you for an appointment, or they cancel less than 24 hours in advance, they must pay you £20 within ten working days. If your water pressure falls for an hour or more on at least two occasions in a 28-day period, you’re entitled to a payment of £25. If you write to query your account, they have ten working days to reply, and if you write to ask for a different way of paying your bills, they have five working days to reply. If the company doesn’t meet these deadlines, you can claim £20 compensation. There are, of course, caveats to this – money likely won’t be given if there’s industry action taking place or bad weather.

This Is Money add if you have a complaint about your water company then you should take it up with your company first, putting your problem in writing, either by post or email, and make sure that you keep a copy of everything you send. If you're not satisfied after you have complained directly to the company then you can send your complaint to the Consumer Council for Water, an independent organisation which can investigate complaints about the water companies.  

On Energy Bills:

If your energy provider has increased your direct debit payments without telling you, the first step is to challenge it. Ask your supplier to justify how they calculated the new amount – according to Citizen’s Advice, they have to explain clearly how they reached the figure they’re charging and give you the meter readings they used. Use those meter readings against the meter readings on your bill to see if they’re the same. If you’re still not satisfied, then it’s time to make an official complaint. Gather the relevant evidence: photos of a faulty meter; copies of any unusual bills; notes from phone calls you’ve had; and any emails from your supplier about the issue; details of your complaint; and your energy account number (this’ll be on a recent bill). Hopefully this info will be enough to get your meter readings back down to a decent level.

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