Would you be able to help me achieve a satisfactory outcome in connection with my Aviva pension?
Nearly five months ago I received a guaranteed annuity illustration informing me of the benefits I could take when I reached 65 at the end of that month.
I informed Aviva that I wished to take a tax-free lump sum of £3,606 and the reduced pension of £1,189 per annum. The retirement fund totalled £14,424.
I requested that it send the necessary paperwork. My financial adviser, who did not initiate the pension, was informed the paperwork would be received, but nine days later I was told it could not be sent out.
I then received a new quotation with the funds now at £11,548, and a further quotation two and a half weeks after that, saying the value was £11,567, with documentation to commence the pension payout.
I twice queried why there was such a vast difference in the fund value and was informed that the earlier quotation was an error. I asked it to explain in writing but never received a reply.
For its incompetence I have already received £150, which has not been cashed. Today I received a letter stating I had deferred my retirement which, of course, is nonsense.
Would you be able to sort out this long-running saga?
Jim Brewell, Lancs
You warned Aviva to sort this out or you would write to me, but it didn’t.
This concerns an Executive Flexible Pension you originally took out with Friends Life (now Aviva).
You were quoted various confusing sums including transfer values. The latter was not even relevant as you had a right to a guaranteed annuity rate, which compares very favourably with the amount a standard annuity would generate, and which could only be with Aviva.
Further to my involvement, you were sent a quotation confirming the correct fund value, which is what was quoted at the start and what you had accepted. This is tax-free cash of £3,606 plus £25 interest and a remaining annual pension of £1,189. The annuity has also been backdated to your retirement date.
I am told that the letter revising your retirement date to 2023 was automated and is sent as standard to customers when the retirement date has passed and the pension has not been taken.
A spokesman for Aviva said: “We’re sorry for the delays in sending Mr Brewell the quotations for his pension, and for the mistakes in the values we quoted.
“This isn’t the level of service we aim to provide our customers. We’ve taken this up with the team responsible for sending the quotations to help ensure his experience is not repeated in the future for other customers.”
Aviva has now paid a further £500 as a gesture of goodwill. This is in addition to the £150 you already have.
You say this is now resolved to your complete satisfaction.