Travel question of the day: Simon Calder on the right way to apply for an EHIC
Q Last week I renewed our European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) online. I fear we may have been scammed as I was charged £35! I thought at the time that our cards had been free when we first got them and that there had been a change in policy in the interim which I didn’t know about. What should I do?
A I’m afraid it will be very difficult to get any recompense. I presume you applied through a site run by Application Advice Service UK. It’s one of several intermediaries that has a URL that looks as though it could be official, and which uses search engine optimisation, or pays search engines, to get a prominent ranking when you tap in “EHIC card” or similar – rather than simply going to nhs.uk.
The front page of the Application Advice Service UK web page explains that it is not connected with the NHS, and offers a link through to the official site.
This firm is an interesting organisation, not least because it says: “We do not warrant or represent the completeness or accuracy of the information published on Application Advice Service UK; (b) that the material on the website is up to date.” You will have agreed to this and many other conditions when you decided to apply through it.
All I can do is use your unfortunate case to remind other people of the traps that await the unwary when applying online for EHIC cards, or for the American Esta scheme, or permits to visit Turkey or Canada. The correct link for Esta is esta.cbp.dhs.gov; for Turkey, evisa.gov.tr; and for Canada, currently the favourite among companies seeking to lure unsuspecting travellers into paying more than they need, cic.gc.ca.
Every day, our travel correspondent Simon Calder tackles a reader’s question. Just email yours to [email protected] or tweet @simoncalder