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A. A lot of holders of credit cards are having their limits lowered and their cards withdrawn as banks try to reduce their financial exposure.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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Financial Controller

    £45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

    £12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

    £22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'