<i><b>What are the advantages of NatWest's Gold account?</b></i>

A slow fix for broken broadband; vanishing discounts; endowments and compensation; and the pros and cons of deferring the state pension
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The Independent Online

Over three years the discount should have been £168. My branch manager told me he couldn't do anything about it. The insurers have now offered a £75 refund. In the absence of the discount, the only benefit for me in being an Advantage Gold member is the reduced charges for going overdrawn - so I pay £108 to save £10.

FF, Manchester.

*** NatWest apologises for its error and for not resolving this when you contacted the bank. It says the refund you have so far received was £64, but it will provide you with a further refund of £104 and your account will be credited with an additional £50 as a gesture of goodwill. Should you wish to remain an Advantage Gold member you will in future receive the discount automatically. NatWest has identified your experience as "a staff training issue".

*** I saw your reader's bad experience with OneTel (Questions of Cash, Save & Spend, 16 July, 2005). He is not alone. Last year and again this year my OneTel broadband line failed for several weeks. My requests for compensation have been ignored. RP, Hampshire.

*** OneTel says it is trying to identify why its systems did not deal adequately with your complaints. It has now agreed to terminate your contract. It is offering you a goodwill gesture of £30 and an apology. The compensation does seem a bit mean.Your main interest is finding another supplier.

*** I was advised twice by Norwich & Peterborough Building Society, acting as an approved representative of insurance companies, that my endowment policy would fund the purchase of my home. It received £854 in commission on the sale of these policies, as the society has admitted to me. Yet it refuses to return this commission to me.

RB, Peterborough.

*** You received compensation from the two insurers, Royal Sun Alliance and Commercial Union, according to the calculation methods used by the Financial Ombudsman Service. Although it may seem unfair that building societies retain commission payments for mis-sold products, this is a result of their contracts with insurers, which determined that the insurers accepted compliance responsibilities.

*** I have used Hargreaves Lansdown, the financial adviser, to purchase an investment in Framlington's High Income fund. This should have been subject to a 5.25 per cent discount, but I did not receive it. The original unit price in May was 575.4p and the price after discount should have been 546.7p.

ZH, Sutton Coldfield.

*** There is an initial 5.25 per cent charge for investments in Framlington's fund. You were not charged this by Hargreaves Lansdown - therefore you received the charge reduction offered by the brokers. If the reduction had been a discount on the price per unit, you would have paid less than your brokers paid in buying the units on your behalf.

*** If I continue to work after 60 is it better to claim state and occupational pensions immediately or defer them? My calculation is that if I defer taking my state pension for 84 weeks it would take me 12 years to make up the loss from deferral. JM, Nottingham.

*** Carl Melvin, an adviser with Pension Transfer Solutions, says: "I am not generally in favour of deferral as invariably the maths do not work in the deferred claimant's favour. You are giving up 100 per cent of the pension due in return for a percentage increase for each year deferred - 1 per cent for every five weeks deferral, equivalent to an extra 10.4 per cent a year. There is an argument for a person with higher incomes to defer the state pension, because a low earner will receive pension credit to bring weekly earnings to £109.45 for a single person or £167.45 a couple.

"A person on higher income would have to wait until age 68 before receiving the equivalent income from the state."You can opt to receive the deferred pension element as a lump sum on retirement, but Melvin points out that this is unattractive as it is taxable.