Regulation  

Worried Fos claimants write to Treasury committee

Worried Fos claimants write to Treasury committee

The Treasury Committee has received multiple letters from worried consumers after a damning report into dealings at the Financial Ombudsman Service (Fos) which may lead to cases being reopened.

A spokesperson for the Treasury committee said “quite a few” letters from concerned consumers had been received but he did not want to disclose the exact number.

He declined to comment on further plans of action until a response from the Fos has been received.

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One email, which was seen by FT Adviser, was sent by a former IFA who considers himself a “victim of the Fos” and offered help “to solve the problem for others in the future”.

The sender, Simon Rennie, a director of Cassiobury Consultants, had complained about multiple errors in calculating the value of a Norwich Union with-profits pension plan. 

Norwich Union became part of the Aviva brand in June 2009, so Mr Rennie’s complaint was directed at Aviva.

At one point, shortly before his retirement the quoted value had suddenly fallen by 75 per cent to £6,000, he said. He demanded the earlier higher value of £24,000 be paid.

Fos upheld his complaint in part, saying it was clear Aviva had made mistakes when they sent him valuations on his plan but it did not think the life insurer was bound to pay out the highest value quoted.

The ombudsman said: “It is unfortunate that Aviva repeatedly provided contradictory information, which was clearly incorrect; but I accept there can be situations where repeated and robust requests made within a short period of time, can increase the risk of error.

“Mr R wasn’t entitled to the higher figures provided in August and September 2015; so it wouldn’t be fair to require Aviva to use these figures when applying the terms of his plan.”

Mr Rennie alleged the Fos had never asked for a copy of the policy document and appeared to not understand traditional with profit policies.

He wrote in his email to chair of the committee Nicky Morgan, Conservative MP for Loughborough: “Naturally I took my case to the Fos who found in favour of Aviva which is published on the internet for all to see which I feel is wrong and they will not amend it or take it down as the case is closed.

“I can’t find a solicitor who does not agree this is certain negligence but I can’t sue them as I have no legal cover because its excluded. I am an expert in this field and happy to support you in anyway to aid a change for the benefit of ordinary consumers.”

A spokesperson for the Fos said she can’t comment on individual cases but would encourage all people who are concerned about the service they received to contact it directly. 

Ms Morgan had written to the Fos asking for answers over allegations its staff were insufficiently trained to deal with consumer complaints on 13 March.