Questions of Cash: Long, slow process dealing with Equitable over a cheque
Friday 15 February 2013
Q. Last September, I was sent a cheque by Equitable Life for £5,206.24. The money was due to my father and the cheque made payable to him, but he died in 2008. My father never lived with me, yet the letter was addressed to me. No literature or explanation was sent with the payment and Equitable Life will not discuss individual queries over the phone.
I wrote to Equitable Life and was told the policy was in the name of both my father and my mother, who died in 2000. I am an only child and handled my father's probate, but I have no evidence that this pension was in joint names. Equitable Life told me that if I sent my father's death certificate I would receive a cheque. I sent a copy, certified by my parents' solicitor, but receipt of this has never been acknowledged.
In December I received a new request for my father's death certificate. I sent this immediately and this was acknowledged and returned, but still there was no cheque. I have looked at the process that Equitable Life is supposed to go through, which it has evidently not followed. The only way I can contact them is by letter and it usually takes three to four weeks to receive a reply. SM, by email.
A. We have also had difficulties with Equitable – getting a resolution involved us in more than 30 emails, plus phone conversations. Initially we raised the matter with Equitable, but it was later established that under the government rescue of Equitable Life, the matter is handled by National Savings & Investment. Your initial problem was caused by the Equitable Life records not showing that your father had died. Instead, the records showed him as living at your address – even though he never had. A letter should have been raised by the scheme administrators before payment to confirm details. This was not done and the scheme administrators apologise for this mistake.
The records also showed that the policy had been taken out jointly by your parents. This led to the need to obtain both your father's and mother's death certificates, or certified copies of these. Eventually, at the end of January, the payment of £5,206.23 was correctly issued to you – more than three months after the payment was initially issued in your late father's name. The scheme administrators apologise, saying: "It is clear that on this occasion the scheme have not provided the level of service which we would hope to provide." They add that in general the scheme administration is working well, with nearly 80 per cent of all eligible individual policyholders paid and with few mistakes and less than 0.8 per cent of eligible policyholders having cause to contact the scheme.
Q. I own an apartment which I let out. I bought the property with a mortgage from Platform Home Loans. I pay a monthly service charge to a management company, which includes building insurance cover. But Platform says the cover is not sufficient and has added a 1 per cent surcharge to my mortgage repayments. I am therefore paying twice for building insurance. DG, Liverpool.
A. There is a misunderstanding here: the 1 per cent surcharge is not connected to insurance cover. Rather, a 1 per cent loading fee was imposed on the mortgage because, says Platform, you took out an ordinary residential mortgage, when you should have sought a buy-to-let mortgage. Platform claims that you sub-let the apartment without permission from it and that you require approval to continue sub-letting. It says you have still not requested this approval.
In addition, Platform – part of Co-operative Bank – says you are under-insured and that you are being charged an additional £30.02 a month because of this. The additional cover required is against damage to the property and is in place to protect the mortgage lender, not yourself. While you have provided a copy of an insurance policy to Platform, the lender says this does not make clear that the cover relates to the property on which the mortgage was issued. The monthly payment of £30.02 will cease, and payments since November will be repaid, if you either take out an adequate policy, or else provide Platform with sufficient proof that the necessary policy is already in place.
Q. I bought my wife an Apple iPad for Christmas. I used the 0844 phone number provided with the package for "complimentary" support to enable me to set up email accounts, etc. I was appalled when I received my phone bill to find that I had been charged £25.27 plus VAT for that call. That is not complimentary and I was not advised at the start of the call that I was calling a premium rate chargeable service. I complained to the Basingstoke store at which I made the purchase. They declined to reimburse me and referred me to the Apple Online Store, which referred me to AppleCare's customer relations team. The only way offered as a means of communicating with that team was by phone – to the same 0844 number that caused the problem. I have written to Apple, but no one has replied. RB, by email.
A. The 0844 number you dialled is not premium rated and should be charged at 5p a minute. You used a fixed line, but your phone company charged you as if you had used a mobile number. You declined to allow us to contact your phone company, or advise which company it is, saying that you were concerned this would damage your relationship with the company. Instead you contacted your phone company yourself, which has given you an inadequate refund of £16, reducing the charge to 9p a minute – which is still more than you should have paid. You remain dissatisfied with Apple's behaviour, although it seems to us that Apple is not at fault, other than in failing to properly deal with your complaints. Unfortunately, Apple has adamantly and repeatedly refused to discuss this with us.
Debt in Britain: Numbers seeking help on how to cope with mounting bills goes up by more than half in three years
General election 2015: David Cameron's promise brings uncertainty to investors
Bargain Hunter: BT improves its mobile reception with 'incredibly competitive' deals
Have a happy new financial year
Simon Read: 'It went below the radar but you could be eligible for a tax break on your savings'
- 1 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 4 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
iJobs Money & Business
£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...
Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...
£150 - £190 Daily Rate: Sheridan Maine: One of London's leading water supplier...
Day In a Page
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
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000