In December 2007 I told Legal & General to cash the investments held by myself and my husband, for whom I hold power of attorney (POA). After months of phone calls and letters I obtained the money from my own investment, but I am still waiting for the investment I hold with my husband. I had to send a certified copy of my POA for my husband and proof of identity.
L&G came back and claimed that the identity of the solicitor who drew up the POA was unclear, yet it was stated on every page of the POA. I still didn't get the money, so I lodged a formal complaint. In mid-June I had a letter saying L&G were still investigating my complaint. I again phoned L&G, which said that everything was now in order, except it had lost my proof of identity. It seems that my only options are to restate my formal complaint against L&G, or go to the Financial Ombudsman. Can you help? LR, by email.
L&G insists that the statement of the identity of the solicitor on the POA paperwork did not meet its requirements. It also claims that the POA documentation was wrongly drawn up by your solicitor and actually gave your husband POA over you, instead of the other way around. This problem should not have held up L&G selling the investment held in your own name – but it did. It was only in March that L&G sold your investments and sent the proceeds to you. But it seems that L&G then overlooked your instructions to sell the collective investment held with your husband. Recognising its failures to deal with your instructions properly, L&G will settle your instruction to sell your investments by allocating you the best price between 17 December and the date of settlement, provide you with interest on this and pay you an additional £300 as a goodwill gesture. However, you will still need to provide L&G with a corrected POA. According to L&G's explanation of events, you have been caught between a solicitor and a financial institution that have both failed to provide you with an acceptable service. You may wish now to lodge a complaint with your solicitor, in light of L&G's allegations of professional errors.
I was recently on holiday in Tenerife, where I found my credit card had been blocked because the card issuer spotted repeated fraudulent attempts to use my card number online. Anyone handling the card can make a note of the three digit security number on the back. Why is this number printed on the card if its main purpose is for web and telephone use? Surely this does not offer any real security. MK, by email.
The security code on the back of a card does not provide an absolute safeguard against fraud – it is merely intended to reduce the frequency of fraud taking place. A spokeswoman for Visa explains: "There are many parties involved in a payment transaction – a cardholder, a merchant, often a processor, and card-issuing and merchant-acquiring banks. Visa secures the global payment system by building multiple layers of protection around each component of the transaction chain. The CVV2 [security code] is just one element of our security regime and its introduction had a significant downward effect on card fraud." Visa admits that fraudsters can still succeed, but that numerous checks on transactions are designed to quickly spot breaches, including through computer analysis that spot unusual transactions.
I completed forms in April to transfer my £3,172.96 ISA account balance from ING to Nationwide, but the account has still not been opened. My wife is in the same position. MK, London.
Nationwide is dealing with a large backlog of ISA transfers. It says that highly competitive rates – 6.15 per cent on fixed-rate ISA bonds – and a move by savers into building societies from banks led to an unanticipated volume of ISA transfers. According to Nationwide, these were up by nearly 400 per cent over the equivalent period last year. It is taking steps to deal with the backlog; it has also temporarily stopped taking ISA transfers. Nationwide promises that all savers affected will be fully compensated, with interest paid from the date of the cheque issued by the previous institution.
Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; firstname.lastname@example.org.