Financial troubleshooter Jessica Gorstwilliams is here to help you with your money problems
Has Aviva let me down?
On my demise I was expecting my executor to have £27,000 with which to pay my funeral expenses. Now the policy I was banking on is not paying out anything – apparently because Aviva has not taken over Friends Life’s liabilities, although it has acquired its assets.
Having spoken to a solicitor friend, he seems to think that Aviva is being very high-handed. What do you think?
Aviva acquired Friends Life in April 2015 and now manages all Friends Life policies. It has taken all the liabilities on former Friends Life policies.
I cannot agree either with the solicitor’s observation.
This was a Friends Life Maximum Protection plan, which began in 1990 with a guaranteed death benefit.
Your monthly premiums were £72.51, divided up between the death benefit and the investment element, which was in a with-profits fund.
You faxed Friends Life in 2004 saying you had instructed your bank to cancel the direct debit but wanted the cover to remain in force for the time being. The death benefit was maintained, with the premiums coming out of the surrender value until it reduced to nil in September 2017. Then it lapsed with no value.
Recently you asked for the policy to be reinstated, but the insurer could only have done this up to 13 months after the last premium was received. This, of course, had been years ago by then.
Aviva emphasises that you had death benefit cover for many years after you stopped paying premiums.
Paypal won’t help my garden glow
I bought two “light movers” on ebay and paid £240 via Paypal five months ago. The light movers are used to move “grow lights” back and forth along 6ft 7in rails so that the lights cover larger areas in a greenhouse.
About two months after receipt, one of them failed. Now the motor runs but only in one direction, making it useless.
I exchanged messages with the vendor via ebay, but he did not seem to understand and kept saying things like “plug it in again”. Eventually he stopped answering.
The auction site would not help, saying it was outside its money back guarantee period and I should try Paypal. I did, but it won’t help because I admitted that the items worked when they arrived with me. Paypal told me: “Paypal Buyer Protection enables our customers to claim a refund if their purchase does not arrive or match its product description. If a purchase is faulty on arrival, then Buyer Protection can cover you.”
It reiterated that, as the purchase had been in perfect working order on arrival and developed a fault only afterwards, you should seek a refund or replacement under the product warranty from the seller or from the
Why are my meter readings ignored?
I moved to Economy Energy having given my previous supplier correct readings. When I got into my new account online I realised the opening figures mentioned were underestimated. There was a difference of 51 units for the low reading and 65 units for the high one.
I contacted Economy Energy to point this out. Nothing happened. I emailed to no avail. I sent a meter reading every month and eventually two bills appeared two weeks apart. These were estimated despite my having given the readings. Was it trying to build up a reserve on my account, I wondered? AB, HERTS
You phoned and were promised an amendment. Then you received a bill with the closing figure which you agreed with but with the opening figures
Buying greenhouse equipment online left one reader in the dark