Aviva’s trail of human errors
I have a pension policy with Aviva with a guaranteed annuity rate (GAR) of £98 per £1,000 of the fund.
Originally it was a Provident Mutual “executive pension fund” that started in July 1981.
Nearly three months ago Aviva invited me to apply for a quote. I did so but so far have been unable to obtain a correct one.
Both I and my financial adviser have repeatedly asked for the correct information, all to no avail. PATRICIA BOYD, STAFFS
Further to my involvement, Aviva admitted to several mistakes and delays.
For a start, following the return of the completed personal information form, it had sent retirement quotes for options you weren’t expecting to receive. When you contacted it for clarification, particularly surrounding the GAR, it wasn’t given.
Moreover, an incorrect transfer value of £119,964 was emailed to your adviser rather than the right figure of £168,522. Aviva ascribed this to an error with its manual calculations. It acknowledged all this was thoroughly unacceptable and declared itself to be deeply sorry. It paid you £500 for goodwill.
There was a short delay before the backdated annuity payments and statement were sent. However, rather than having a guaranteed period for five years as per the terms of your guaranteed annuity rate and the quote, it was for 10 years. This reduced the annual payment by £1,500.
Then your financial adviser, who had had nothing to do with the pension until now and had made it clear to Aviva that he was not entitled to commission, suddenly received £2,500 for commission.
Another human error had flagged that he was eligible when he wasn’t. I understand this money is being reclaimed.
Your problems are finally resolved. A further £2,197 has been paid to make good the back payments due, plus £100 for goodwill. required but the first letter was inexplicably delayed by Royal Mail. The exchange rate dropped and my £47,000 cost €968 more than I would have paid had the letter arrived on time.
I paid £6.52 to have the letter sent by registered post as it contained important information. I was told by the counter staff that it would take two working days to arrive and that in the meantime I could track it. JM, SOMERSET
When you checked four days after posting the letter it was in the Czech Republic.
Because the documents enclosed could have been used fraudulently, you contacted your bank in Ireland to alert it. You still wanted to proceed with the money transfer and were told that the bank needed the request in writing.
This time you did not pay extra for tracking and the letter got there in two days. The other letter meanwhile didn’t arrive in Ireland until 17 days after it had been posted.
By the time the money came to be transferred, the exchange rate had dropped and this cost you €968.
You felt Royal Mail should reimburse this to you.
Royal Mail refused you compensation and I couldn’t change its mind. It says that, under this international signed-for service, it is unable to accept a claim for this delay as its website and the leaflet available in Post Office branches make this clear.
You can have the case reviewed by the Postal Review Panel by writing to Freepost Postal Review Panel or emailing postalreview@royalmail. com. I wouldn’t bank on a successful outcome though.