Questions Of Cash: Can I take action on mortgage mis-selling?

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Q. In 1981, I was persuaded by Abbey National to switch my mortgage from a repayment basis to an endowment-backed loan. Since then my endowment has under-performed, but when I complained about mis-selling, Abbey said any problem lay with the insurer, Legal & General, and both companies say they do not have any paperwork going back to 1981. I also don't have the paperwork for the sale. The Financial Ombudsman Service has rejected my complaint. Is there anything I can do?
DH, New Malden.

A. Some agents promoting their services in handling endowment mis-selling complaints have provoked confusion by claiming that the Financial Services Authority has shifted the burden of proof from those who bought endowments to prove they were mis-sold on to those who sold them to prove they were properly sold. The truth is more complicated.

The Financial Ombudsman Service takes a broad view, seeking to find which side is in the right. But the basic principle is that for endowments sold after 29 April 1988, when the Financial Services Act came into effect, if both sides have lost the paperwork relating to the sale, then the seller is likely to be found at fault.

However, for sales prior to 1988 - such as your own - there is no chance of winning a mis-selling claim without any paperwork to back your case.

Q. I've bought £12,000 worth of Premium Bonds over the years. I noticed that my meagre winnings - £50 maximum each time - were limited to just two sets of bonds. I find it curious that three different lots of £1,000 have never won. Is it possible these have never been included in the draw?
LR, by e-mail.

A. National Savings & Investments, which issues Premium Bonds, says it is just the luck of the draw - and there is no question of bought bonds not being included in the draw. Elen Thomas, spokeswoman for NS&I, says: "Once a month, the Premium Bond machine - Ernie - generates a list of random numbers. This list is checked against all the eligible bond numbers held by customers. No numbers are programmed into or stored in Ernie, as Ernie is not a computer. His sole function is to generate numbers randomly, so numbers cannot be left out of the draw.

"The randomness of Ernie's draw and the Premium Bond draw is certified by the Government Actuary's Department."

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