Questions Of Cash: Why did the Pru keep changing its story?

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Some years ago I invested in two Prudential PEPs - UK Growth and Global Growth. They did not perform particularly well, so I decided to switch to the Prudential Growth Trust PEP.

Some years ago I invested in two Prudential PEPs - UK Growth and Global Growth. They did not perform particularly well, so I decided to switch to the Prudential Growth Trust PEP.

I phoned Prudential's customer services in February and was told I could give an instruction by phone. I did this and was told that the switch would be made that day. I was then called by Prudential and told that the transaction could not be made on a phone instruction, and that I would have to complete a PEP transfer form.

A week later I phoned Prudential to say that I had not received the form and again requested one. A further week passed and I still had not received the form and phoned again. I was then told to write a letter giving my instructions. Instead, I downloaded and completed the PEP transfer form from the Prudential website. I then received a letter saying that Prudential had been unable to process my request, without giving a satisfactory explanation. When I phoned, I was told I would have to transfer it as cash to another plan manager, taking it outside the tax-free PEP wrapper. Why can't I switch from one PEP fund to another, when both are managed within the same group, and why wasn't I told this in the first place? JH, by e-mail.

Prudential accepts this was poorly handled, but says that, for legal reasons, your instruction to switch did require written instruction. However, the transfer does not take it outside the tax-free PEP wrapper. The company says: "The situation has been rectified and we apologise for any inconvenience. We have discussed this directly with the client to ensure that they are satisfied with the resolution and will compensate them for any loss incurred since the enquiry was first made."

Q. At the end of November last year, I had a new boiler installed by a local plumber. The work was completed and paid for in December. A contract was signed on the basis of a promise of £100 cash back from Scottish Power on completion. But I have still not been paid and Scottish Power now says I am out of time.
JA, Worthing.

A. Scottish Power accepts you did all you could within the time limit of the offer and acknowledges that the fault lies with your plumber in not submitting paperwork on time. It has arranged for you to be paid £100.

Q. I have been trying since the end of April to transfer my ISA from Abbey to Alliance & Leicester. I received a letter from Abbey, saying it had closed my account on 6 May and transferred funds to Alliance & Leicester.

On 16 May, I had a letter from Alliance & Leicester saying that the transfer form from Abbey contained the wrong national insurance number and that the funds had been returned to Abbey. When I spoke to Abbey, it said it did not know what NI number had been quoted. I then had two more phone conversations with Abbey, only to be told it would take seven working days to sort out.

When I spoke to the complaints department, they said I had to put everything in writing and that it would take up to eight weeks to deal with the complaint.
JB, Keighley.

A. Abbey accepts that it quoted the wrong NI number on the transfer form. A corrected transfer form has been sent to Alliance & Leicester, with a cheque for the closing balance on your ISA account, plus interest due from the date of initial transfer request.

Q. Three years ago, I moved into my partner's house and let mine (which I had lived in for two years). We want to sell both properties and buy together. I have not been added to my partner's deeds and do not contribute to his mortgage. I do not own any other property, and although I obtained permission to have tenants in my house, I didn't swap to a buy-to-let mortgage. I am worried that I will have to pay capital gains tax at 40 per cent on the sale, which puts me off selling. Is this correct and is there any way around this? The capital gain would be £52,000.
AW, by e-mail.

A. Mark McLaughlin, a chartered tax adviser and editor of TaxationWeb, says: "A profit on the disposal of a home is exempt from capital gains tax if the owner has lived there throughout their period of ownership. If they move out, the gain can be partly exempt. This involves time-apportioning the gain between the period when the house was occupied and the period of absence. Tax rules allow certain periods of absence to be treated as periods of occupation. When disposing of a house that was your only or main residence at any time during your period of ownership, the last three years before disposal are treated, for capital gains tax purposes, as a period of occupation.

"Although you have been living in your partner's house for the past three years, if you sold straight away for tax purposes, your house would be treated as your only or main residence throughout the five years that you have owned it. Even if the period between moving out and selling exceeds three years, there is a further capital gains tax exemption if it was rented out. The gain relating to the period of letting is subject to reduction, up to £40,000. This 'lettings relief' will be lower in your case, but should be sufficient to cover any gain if there is a short delay in selling your house."

Questions of Cash cannot guarantee to respond to all queries and we cannot give individual advice. Please do not send original documents. Write to: Question s of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; cash@independent.co.uk.

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