I’m 81 and have always saved and bought things I needed with cash. I also purchased various motorcycles as a hobby. I repaired them and sold them again for profit.
However, I now find myself in an awkward position: I want to buy a property for my 15-year-old grandson, but have been told I won’t be able to.
Estate agents and building societies will not accept my cash.
I have no bank account, so my wife has tried to put money into her account — say, £2,000 a visit.
Refused: One reader found he couldn’t get any firms to accept cash when he tried to buy a property for his grandson
They seem not to want to take it and have asked her so many questions that she has requested I do not ask her again.
I always thought that, as I got older, it would be a lack of money that would cause me problems — not having too much for working hard.
Is there any way legally for me to sort this out?
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B. S., by email.
Your letter throws up a number of issues, not least the difficulties of living a cash-based life in a digital society.
I’m not surprised your wife is refusing to go to the bank with your wads of money. Banks have an obligation to check from where it is coming.
For all they know, it might be laundered, drugs money, or you could have been running a cash business and not paying tax.
You mention the motorbikes as a hobby, but say they were sold for profit. If this was a business and a decent source of income, then this could, indeed, be a problem tax-wise.
I also wonder how old are the bank notes. If you have been accumulating them for years, you may hold some old currency that would need to be exchanged by the Bank of England.
Having said all of this, I know you are not alone in storing cash at home. In her latter years, my mum took to accumulating money in pill pots.
Here’s the crux of your situation. If you are able to give a reasonable explanation for your piles of cash, you should have no problem.
Nationwide says it would want to know where it came from and would report it to the authorities if it seemed suspicious.
So you need to try visiting some local banks and building societies yourself. Tell them what you have told me. You should be able to use your state pension credentials as identification for opening an account.
There is one other issue with your letter. Your idea of buying a property for your grandson marks you out as an exceptionally generous grandfather.
However, he is not yet legally old enough to own a property, so it would need to be held in trust for him — but that’s a separate issue to discuss with a solicitor.
You have YOUR say
Every week, Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some from our article about how you could help your children get onto the property ladder
When my son was three we used our life savings of £25,000 to buy a flat. We rented it out and for the next 20 years it will pay for itself. When he is ready he will have a fully paid-up property.
D. Y., London.
Both my children did the same thing I did. They saved up themselves to buy an affordable home. Now, they don’t have one second-hand item in their places. Ours was full of them.
B. D., Liverpool.
The Bank of Mum and Dad is not really a bank. If it were, the parents would be expecting the cash to be repaid — with added interest. In most instances the Bank of Mum and Dad is more like a money tree.
P. S., Darwen, Lancashire.
It’s a nice idea to help your children, but what happens if something goes wrong.
You would need to have a legal document drawn up if there is a change of circumstance and the parents need the money back.
C. A., Gloucester.
To buy our first home we sacrificed all of life’s luxuries. We went without expensive holidays, meals out, takeaways, concerts and even cinema tickets.
My children indulge in all the above and wonder why they can’t afford to buy.
S. Y., Devon.
My son bought a washing machine from John Lewis in Edinburgh, paying in full for it, plus delivery and installation.
The machine was not in stock, but he was told he’d receive a phone call within two weeks to arrange delivery. As he is working abroad, he gave my contact details and left the receipt at his flat in Edinburgh.
More than two weeks later, I had heard nothing, so called John Lewis, only to be told the machine was in the warehouse, but could not be delivered, as it had not been paid for.
I live 110 miles from Edinburgh, so it was not convenient to collect the receipt. But we had an online copy linked to the John Lewis loyalty card, so called back with this information.
I was told to email customer services with a copy and informed that the Edinburgh store would contact me within 48 hours. They didn’t. So I contacted them five days later and again the following day.
When I finally got a response, I was asked for a reference number, but I had never been given one.
I have had several more conversations with customer services, but then today had a phone call telling me again that the washing machine cannot be delivered as it has not been paid for! So, after a month, I am back to square one.
M. S., by email.
Your son sent me a copy of the receipt clearly showing that he had paid £284 for the washing machine. So why on earth couldn’t John Lewis find this basic information?
You had become so desperate to resolve this that you were considering a round-trip of more than 200 miles so you could pick up the actual receipt and thrust it under their noses.
I’m pleased to say that, after I contacted its press office, John Lewis did move swiftly to sort this out, delivering the machine and also refunding the delivery and installation charges.
It has also given you £50 as a gesture of goodwill. Just don’t put it towards a new washing machine, please!
We posted our daughter’s computer to her after she left it at home. It was wrapped in bubblewrap and shredded card with an extra piece of cardboard for support.
We placed it in a robust cardboard outer and covered it in brown paper.
It arrived badly damaged, so we applied for compensation, having bought insurance at the Post Office. But our claim was rejected on the grounds that the internal packaging was not sufficient.
We took the package to the main Post Office in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, where they advised that the packaging was fine. Our complaints to Parcelforce have been ignored.
K. L., Kent.
You have sent me pictures of your daughter’s laptop and the packaging. The packaging looks fine, but the computer looks like it had been thrown around.
Having investigated your case again, Parcelforce Worldwide has contacted you and paid you full compensation.
There are guidelines at parcel force.com explaining how to package fragile items. Perhaps they need an in-house checklist of how legitimate compensation claims should be handled, too.
Write to Tony Hazell at Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email [email protected] — please include your daytime phone number, postal address and a separate note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Tony Hazell. We regret we cannot reply to individual letters. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.