Questions of cash: Endowment policy payout falls short of standards
Saturday 06 June 2009
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A. A lot of holders of credit cards are having their limits lowered and their cards withdrawn as banks try to reduce their financial exposure.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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips on tipping: How and when should you give extra money for good service?
Women born in 1950s facing severe financial hardship over pensions could have fates changed by Ros Altmann - should she choose to help
Is it really that bad in the bond market?
The 10 Best money-saving sites
Pawn again: The rebirth of the high-street credit merchants
- 1 10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
- 4 Photo of wedding guest proposing to girlfriend in front of bride and groom goes viral
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: it's just gravity — not a Mexican demon being summoned
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
iJobs Money & Business
£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...
£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...
Day In a Page
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool