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★☆☆☆☆

“On the 14th June 18, I wrote asking for the forms for...”

Written on: 16/08/2018 by Samsonwelshie (1 review written)

On the 14th June 18, I wrote asking for the forms for the encashment of a pension, as I wanted to obtain the forms to release my SERPS pension, it was sent 1st Class. I didn’t have any acknowledgement from ReAssure, the forms did not metallise and there was no acknowledgement from you for the request.

On the 10th July 18: I rang to ask for the forms and confirm you have the right address, they stated they did not have the right address. I asked for the forms and I was told that it was too early to request them for my 55th birthday, I was to ring no earlier than two weeks before my birthday and this is in contradiction to what I had been told and advised to do. I asked for a statement, which to date I have never received.

30 July 18, I called as instructed previously to ask for the forms to start the process, I was informed that there was a two week backlog, I explained that I would like to receive the sum on my 55th birthday. The woman said it “should be okay” and emailed me the form, I returned it by recorded delivery which was received on the 31st July 18, having learnt my lesson that mail is ignored unless it is recorded or special delivery.

9th August 18, a phone call to send and prove details of a my bank account in my name, once I found the section it stated that I could send a blank cheque with “cancelled” on it, I also included my Joint Personal Account (JPA) details which details my full name, address, NI Number and bank account details. This was put in a special delivery envelope and they received it at 0731am on the 10 Aug 18.

13th August 18, I called to check on progress, I was informed that it would take a further 7 working days from the 10th August and plus 3 to 5 days before I will receive payment at my bank as they (my bank) would slow down the payment. I was told that everything was in place and ready to be paid.

I queried why it would take a further 7 days to process my claim, only to be told that they will have to start the whole process, all over again from the 10th August as that was when the last correspondence was last received. I could not get a satisfactory explanation why payment will take 3 – 5 days except it would be my banks fault! ReAssure have signed up to use the rapid transfer system. This should have drastically cut transfer times on private personal pensions since it was launched in 2009, but clearly you are not operating that in my case.

Unhappy regarding the conversation I had with the customer service person I logged a complaint on their web site which stated the following on the 13th August 18:

“How long will it take?
We’ll try to put things right straight away. If this isn’t possible we’ll write to you within five working days to let you know your complaint is being dealt with. We’ll send a further letter if your case is still ongoing after four weeks.”

14th August 18, (exactly 3 weeks after your received the original encashment form) I was left a voicemail message that I had not signed a form, which the customer services had not sent with the previous pack and would send it out by first class post. I was to sign it and return it to ReAssure, no detail of what the form is for or its relevance. If the conversation I had on the 13th August 18 is correct, once they receive the unknown form I will have to wait 7 days again!

15th August 18, I received a letter with an enclosed form, confusingly its states:

Thank you for returning the encashment forms.
Unfortunately, we would also require the enclosed form to be signed and returned to us in order to commence with the encashment process.

Why was this document not sent out with the original pack on the 30th July 18? If not only to delay the process. Why does the letter state that only on receipt of this form will the encashment process begin? What have they been doing with the other information prior to the 14th August and received on the 31 July 18? The return envelope is a franked 2nd class postmark. Clearly yet another slow response to make further time delays, especially when it is their deliberate ploy to give them more time to retain my money.

Reading the declaration form, I realised that I had seen the declaration wording before and I had, the second and third page of their pack had exactly the same wording and signature box!!! which I signed on the 31st July. the only difference is two boxes at the top.

16th August 18, they received my signed encashment form at 0731am. They are basically are the Closed-book provider Windsor Life (who also bought out Gan Life, who could be the worst life insurance company of the past decades) which has been rebranded as ReAssure. In June 2009, research from the Annuity Clearing House revealed Windsor Life was the worst offender when it came to pension transfer delays, taking around 10 weeks to transfer pension money. Windsor Life has a seat at ReAssure board who has countless complaints against them which has been upheld by the FSA and FO. Ranked one of the worse ‘Zombie’ firms apart from ReAssure that is who also has complaints upheld, as they mirror each other in many ways, poor administration, has consistently failed clients on annuity transfers, has been slow in responding to information requests, and of course non sensible long delays in paying their clients. It takes only two hours to complete the required information not 7 days!

I have looked at other reviews regarding their handling of other people’s withdraws of lump sums and you are following the same format with every customer in the same situation as myself. I am also concerned that they have not provided a summary or statement of what I have in my pension pot or will receive as asked for, I have also noted that they have deducted unreasonable charges from other people’s settlements and delays encountered has continued for 10 weeks to 4 months in most cases.

I have lodged complaints with ReAssure who won't acknowledge I have and with the Pension, Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Conduct Authority.

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