Questions of cash: Abbey underestimated demand for ISAs

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Q. I have a warranty with London General Holdings for my Rover 75. For six weeks LGH has failed to agree repairs and if I go ahead without approval it will pay nothing. LGH has not answered three letters.
DM, Leeds.

A. London General Holdings commissioned a report on your car from an assessor who concluded that its engine failure was the result of overheating caused by lack of either oil or water, not a fault covered by the warranty. But as a gesture of goodwill, LGH will pay £500 towards the repairs: estimated as half the costs. You believe that LGH has not dealt with your claim in a satisfactory manner, though LGH denies this. Our experience with the company's administration was frustrating: we were constantly passed between company representatives and given wrong information. LGH is a subsidiary of insurance giant Aon, and we have been given an assurance by Ian Kenny, operations director of Aon Warranty Group, that the company will take measures to improve customer service standards.

Q. My wife and I have not had our requested Postal ISAs from Abbey processed and will suffer a loss of interest. Can you help?
AC, Essex.

A. Abbey has now processed the ISAs for you and your wife and is backdating interest to the date you originally applied. Abbey apologises for the poor service. We have received many letters of complaint from readers regarding delays on Abbey's Postal ISA. Abbey says it underestimated demand when it increased interest rates in April and was unable to cope. All applicants will have their interest backdated to the day applications were received. Everyone affected will be written to.

Q. You recently stated that financial services companies are not required under money laundering regulations to confirm the identity of clients whose relationship precedes 1994. Despite this, Fidelity - with whom my relationship predates 1994 - still insists I provide verification in order to comply with regulations. Failure to do this, says Fidelity, will lead to a closure of accounts.
MS, Wells.

A. Some companies opt for stronger identity checks than are required under money laundering regulations, which they are entitled to do. We understand that investment manager Fidelity operates among the strictest identity checks. David Cowdell, director of personal investments at Fidelity, says: "We believe that we have investors' best interests at heart. The FSA has told us that it is comfortable with our approach to tackling the threat of money laundering. Only a small minority - about 3 per cent of our clients - have been asked to produce documentation." Despite continuing efforts by the Financial Services Authority to provide greater consistency on interpreting the regulations through new guidance, it remains ultimately for the financial services companies to decide how to interpret them.

Q. I read of the problems in using the Post Office to deposit cheques into a Co-operative Bank account (Questions of Cash, 16 October) with interest, as the Co-op's internet bank Smile lost a cheque for €100 (£67) several months ago.
LC, by email.

A. Smile has now located this cheque and is crediting it to your account. But the Co-op advises that customers should not pay foreign currency into either Smile or Co-op bank accounts through PO branches and its paying-in envelopes state this.

Q. Our endowment with Lloyds TSB finishes in seven years and is £12,000 short on repaying the mortgage. We have not submitted a mis-selling complaint as it would be difficult to prove and we assume the bank will find in its own favour. But the situation is getting worse. Are we too late to complain?
JB, by email.

A. You should not be defeatist about a review of your complaint by Lloyds TSB. It is required by the Financial Services Authority to adopt a fair procedure and many complainants have their cases upheld. You must initially use the bank's complaints procedures before you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman. The time limit for making a complaint is three years from the date you realised you may have been mis-sold a policy - normally regarded as when you received a letter warning that the policy may not pay-off your mortgage. If in doubt lodge a complaint quickly.

Q. My mother has moved into residential care. I am selling her home, but this will take some time. The existing insurer, Lloyds TSB, will not renew the insurance which expires in December, and I cannot find any insurer willing to provide cover on an empty home. What do you suggest?
RA, Bexleyheath.

A. You should talk to specialist insurers and brokers about your requirements. Acorn Insurance (01795 422990), Andrew Copeland (020 8656 2544) and Camberford Law (020 8315 5029) all provide policies for empty properties.

* If you have questions, write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail: We can reply only to letters published. Please send copies, not originals

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