Questions of cash: Endowment policy payout falls short of standards


Q.
Our 25-year endowment policy with Norwich Union (NU) matured in March. For most of the term, the final payment was predicted at £36,750. A year ago, NU advised of a possible shortfall of £1,250. The actual payment is £2,895 below the target amount. No information was provided about how the maturity proceeds were calculated – not even the amount of the final bonus was revealed. We complained to NU about this. It replied that the policy was sold through our financial advisers and questions and complaints should be directed to them. But our complaint was not about advice, it was about performance and NU's failure to explain how the maturity value was calculated. DW, London.

A. NU – which became Aviva this week – has now provided a comprehensive explanation of how the final payment was calculated. It points out that earlier projections reflected a then higher final bonus rate: it was reduced at the beginning of this year. Aviva argues that five letters sent to you between 2003 and 2008 all warned that that there was a "significant risk" that the target final payment would not be achieved. However, NU has not claimed it gave you additional warning of the impact on your final payment of the reduction in the final bonus. It apologises for responding inappropriately to your letter of complaint and for redirecting this to your financial adviser.

Q. Barclaycard started charging me £8.99 a month in January 2009 for 'My Stuff', which I did not order. I called Barclaycard and queried the charge and was told that it was for 'insurance'. But I had not requested this. I was told that 'in the fine print' of my agreement it said the charge would be applied unless I specifically requested not to have it. Barclaycard told me to contact My Stuff – who told me to contact Barclaycard. I have been charged for four months – a total of £35.96. ES, London.

A. Barclaycard has now refunded the charge, plus an extra £25 to compensate for the inconvenience.

Q. Last year I opened a Halifax credit card, using an interest-free transfer offer. I quickly repaid the balance. I have now had a letter telling me that as I have not used the card Halifax has reduced my credit limit and will close the card on its expiry date. I want to retain the card for household emergencies. AA, Cornwall.

A. A lot of holders of credit cards are having their limits lowered and their cards withdrawn as banks try to reduce their financial exposure. However, Halifax assures us this was not the reason it intended to close your account. It has agreed to renew your card when it expires, reinstating your previous credit limit of £2,300.

Q. I have given up my car to save money and have obtained refunds, without problem, for my car insurance and parking permit. But the AA refuses to refund me. I paid £97.50 at the start of October and got rid of my car in March. I believe I am due a refund of about £56. HO, by email.

A.The AA has agreed to make a full refund "as a gesture of goodwill" as you were "a long-standing member with a good call-out record".

Q. For the past year I have had an ongoing battle with Tiscali to sort out my broadband and phone bill. I moved out of a property in May last year, cancelling the line a month in advance as Tiscali recommended. The line was not closed, causing me to make about 12 calls to get this done. I believe the line was eventually cancelled in September. From May until September the current tenant of the property used the line – out of necessity as they could not set-up a new phone account until Tiscali had cancelled the line. I believe that neither I nor the current tenant should pay the £60 bill for the account from May to September. After several months and many phone conversations I was told the bill would be wiped and neither myself nor the tenant would have to pay. Now I have received a reminder to pay my outstanding bill. AN, Thame.

A.Tiscali has now agreed to clear the account.

Q. I wanted to attend a course in Paris in January and decided to go by train. In November, I tried to buy an 'Interlink' return from Nottingham to Paris via Eurostar on the internet, but the system would not let me buy a ticket. After experimenting, I found I could buy a single from Nottingham to Paris, a single from Paris to St Pancras and a single from St Pancras to Nottingham. Eurostar's helpline subsequently explained that I had been sold an incorrect and expensive set of tickets and refunded me the Eurostar singles and gave me a much cheaper return. The Trainline/East Midlands Trains helpline explained that engineering works could affect my return from St Pancras to Nottingham, which is why I had been sold an 'open', expensive, ticket. This was also refundable and even after the journey date I could get a refund on the unused ticket. I was not permitted to exchange the ticket, but could buy another ticket, pay a £10 administration fee and then get a refund, which was still cheaper. But after travelling I posted the unused ticket to Trainline, with a covering letter. Trainline says it did not receive the returned ticket. I had kept a copy and sent this. Again Trainline told me it had not received this. I sent another copy. Then once more Trainline wrote to me asking for the tickets. MS, Nottingham.

A.Trainline says that unfortunately your claim for a refund coincided with a period of widespread rail disruption because of heavy snow, causing an 80 per cent increase in the number of claims. It accepts you had an "inadequate response" to your claim. It has refunded the £49.70 it owed you.

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

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before