Questions Of Cash: 'Abbey left me short of cover when I really needed it'


Q. I took out an additional loan with Abbey on my mortgage in July last year and decided to transfer to Abbey my existing insurance, covering me against unemployment – adding accident and sickness. I arranged cover for £1,200 per month – 50 per cent each for my wife and myself. The policy was to start within two months, to allow my existing policy to close. At the end of last year there were many redundancies at my workplace, so I checked with Abbey that my insurance cover was valid. I found that neither my wife nor I were covered for redundancy.

I have complained several times, but this has not been resolved. One letter from Abbey claimed that I only requested unemployment cover after I had been made redundant. This is not true – I requested the cover from the beginning and I am still in work. My wife has since been made redundant. I stopped my direct debit payment as I was not covered for unemployment, which was my main concern. It also turns out that I over-insured my wife: Abbey's adviser did not tell me I could only insure her for up to half of the income she would lose if she became unemployed. When I spoke to Abbey again I was told to take the matter up with the Financial Services Ombudsman. I have decided to write to you instead. VK, Slough

A. Abbey has agreed to put right these problems and make several changes to your policy, while reinstating the policy and backdating the new arrangements. The total benefit level has been reduced to £800 per month, which means that you will not be paying for cover that you are not entitled to claim. The unemployment element of the cover will be added to the policy, backdated to inception. The cover will be split 50/50 between yourself and your wife, as specified by you. The claim in respect of your wife's redundancy will be honoured. You, though, will need to make a contribution towards the premiums that you missed when you ceased paying for the policy. The unpaid premiums added up to £151.80: but Abbey has agreed to meet half this cost. Your new monthly premium will be £62.16. You are satisfied with this arrangement.

Q. In September 2007 I opened a Super Saver account with Abbey. To do this, first I had to open a Direct Share investment account. In October I went into an Abbey branch to have my savings book updated. I found that no money had been paid into the Super Saver account, but money had been paid into a Flexible Saver account. I was told this would be corrected when I opened another savings account, which I did. But still no money was transferred from the current account to the savings account, despite repeated enquiries. MO, Hove

A. Abbey has agreed to reimburse you in full for all lost interest. It will also provide you with another £100 as a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience caused.

Q. I applied for an Abbey Direct ISA (Issue 2) on 13 April 2008. This entitled me to interest of 6 per cent. I transferred £18,847.04 from my Smile ISA, to get the higher rate of interest. The ISA was eventually opened, but my interest has been only £130.49. I don't understand why I have received such a small amount and why Abbey has only paid me interest from 2 September. The application was acknowledged by Abbey on 22 July. TW, by email.

A. We have taken this up with both Abbey and Smile. A spokesman for the Co-operative Bank, which owns Smile, says that they received your application to transfer the ISA from Abbey on 8 August last year. At that time, industry guidelines were for transfers to be processed within one month – they have since been strengthened to 14 days. A cheque was issued to Abbey, with the correct documentation, on 1 September: within the specified transfer period.

On 19 March this year, Smile was notified that its cheque to Abbey had not been cashed. Smile then asked Abbey whether it was still prepared to open the ISA: if it had not been, Smile would have reopened the ISA and paid additional interest for the period from 1 September. Smile then arranged with Abbey for it to belatedly open your ISA, with Abbey paying the higher rate of interest from 1 September. Abbey says "we selected 2 September as this was the date on which we initially received the funds from Smile" and has paid interest in full from this date.

Q. We may soon be ......... inheriting a large sum of money, nearly £50,000. Would it be best to keep it in the UK, or transfer it out of sterling? GA, by email.

A. There are several factors to bear in mind, not simply the recent weakness of sterling, says Meera Patel, senior analyst at advisers Hargreaves Lansdown. "In the last year we have seen sterling weaken relative to many currencies," she says. "However, this trend has been reversing in recent weeks and sterling has been strengthening as hopes for an economic recovery seem to be on the horizon. If you believe sterling will continue to strengthen, then this is the currency that you would want rather than investing it in a depreciating currency elsewhere. Also, remember the costs of converting from one currency to another and then back again at a later date could wipe out the gain you make in the first place."

She adds that her firm believes that inflation is a more real threat in the medium-term than deflation in the UK, with the likely result that interest rates will rise. While this will increase returns in cash terms, if interest rates are below the rate of inflation, the value of your money will fall.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

    £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

    Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

    £75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

    Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

    £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

    Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

    £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?