SALLY THE TRI: We found a decades-old pension policy locked away in a safe – but Aviva won’t pay


Before retiring 17 years ago, my husband worked for Keogh & Savage Men’s Outfitters in Greenock.

Unbeknownst to him, the company’s general manager has taken out a pension for him with Aviva.

The police were fully paid, but the document was only found in a safe after the death of its former boss last year.

Forgotten pension: A reader struggles to find an old professional pension taken out by her husband’s boss

This pension should have been paid to my husband when he was 65 years old. He is now 82 years old and disabled.

On his behalf, I have been trying to get this pension paid into his bank since October last year and have received all sorts of promises from Aviva.

Earlier this month I was told he had no idea when the payment would be made.

I’m so frustrated and I don’t know what to do next. I’m 78 and feel like I’m up against a huge organization that doesn’t really care.

IK, Gourock, Inverclyde.

You had mixed feelings about this surprising retirement news, delivered by the son of your husband’s late employer, after he emptied the office safe.

With both of you well and truly retired, you rightly felt that you could have done away with this lost treasure of the past 17 years.

But you were also a philosopher and told me that it was better late than never and that the lump sum from the kitty, plus a regular income – however small – would help you both get through the impending cost of living crisis. .

You sued for eight months, with Aviva recently promising that payment would be sent and regular pension would be arranged. But the constant delays slowed you and your husband down.

I have decided to give Aviva a helping hand on your behalf. This seemed to do the trick and within days a lump sum of £9,800 was finally issued.

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Moreover, he promised that he would start paying your husband a monthly pension of £178.

So far so good – or so you and I thought. Then came a terrible blow.

You contacted me to say you had received a ‘very upsetting call’ from Aviva telling you that your husband hadn’t owed the £9,800 lump sum she had just paid you after all, and that you had to give it back.

He would also not receive the promised monthly payments for the rest of his life.

A red-faced Aviva also contacted me to confirm this bomb. He had discovered that the pension had already been paid in full – a total of £16,000 – to your husband in 2009. You and your husband were not only devastated by this turn of events, but mortified that anyone might think you were falsely claiming .

Neither Aviva nor I think that. Your husband’s declining health explains the forgetfulness.

Either way, the Aviva pension team should have told you as soon as you got in touch with all relevant details that the pension was paid in full 13 years ago. It certainly shouldn’t have left you chasing a rainbow for eight months.

Aviva stood up to this unfortunate mistake and apologized to you and your husband.

An Aviva spokesperson said: “We are very sorry that we did not identify that we had previously paid the client’s pension in 2009, and the time it took to communicate this to his wife, who investigated on her husband’s pension in her name.’

In recognition of the blunder and your loss of time, Aviva paid you £1,500 in compensation. I hope that’s ok with you, sir—sorry, ma’am.

To the point

My 90-year-old mother-in-law was charged £25 to switch to Virgin Media’s new digital phone line system. How can this be true?

AM, Gosport, Hampshire.

A Virgin spokesperson apologizes and says your mother-in-law received inaccurate information because no one has to pay to switch to a digital landline.

The charge was refunded, plus £50 as a goodwill gesture.


After taking out a principal release loan in July last year, I wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to cancel my pension credit payments.

Although they sued his customer service team several times, they were not arrested.

GM, Newbury, Berk.

The DWP has written to you apologizing for the delay and has canceled your pension credit. You will not have to repay any additional payments.


We were supposed to go to New York in April but had to cancel after catching Covid. We made a claim for £4,500 to our insurer Breeze, underwritten by AXA, and were told the money would be in our account in three to five days.

It’s now been over 40 days and we still haven’t received it.

AS, Suton.

Although the request was processed, the money was not transferred due to an administrative error.

Payment has now been made and additional compensation of £300 has been offered to you.


My wife and I had a smart meter installed by SSE earlier this year. We were told that if we booked it before 21st March we would get £50 off our bill but the discount was never made. We tried to chase but we can’t pass.

BH, Isle of Wight.

An ESS spokesperson apologizes for the delay, which was due to “a lack of service”. He credited the missing £50 to your account.

Travel insurance less than first class

I am a 71 year old widow living in Cornwall and regularly travel by train to see my very elderly parents in Lincolnshire.

It is an eight hour journey, involving four different trains and the London Underground. I booked the trip on the Trainline website and decided to travel first class as the ticket was cheap.

The downside was that it was non-refundable. But there was an option to book travel insurance so for peace of mind I bought it for an extra £4. A few days before I left, I felt flashing lights and large floaters in my right eye.

An emergency appointment with my optometrist diagnosed posterior vitreous detachment, which is where the vitreous gel surrounding the retina comes off and in some cases can lead to a retinal tear which can later lead to loss of sight.

She advised me not to lift heavy objects, especially the first few weeks. I decided it wasn’t safe to travel as it would have involved lifting my heavy suitcase in and out of several trains.

I filed a complaint with Trainline, via its insurer Ergo (belonging to the Mayday group). He refused to process my request and continues to refer me to the terms and conditions, which state that I must provide a doctor’s report detailing my illness.

I pointed out that there would have been no point in seeing my GP as she did not have the expertise or the scans to hand.

However, my optometrist emailed my GP details of my condition and advice against heavy lifting, a copy of which I emailed Ergo, along with my unused tickets. Please help.

YD, Falmouth, Cornwall.

You told me you spend huge sums each year buying tickets through Trainline and have always been happy with their service – but your sight is less rosy after having to cancel your recent trip.

I thought it was obvious that your claim was worth paying, so I contacted Trainline. He quickly agreed to offer a full refund on your £158 ticket, although he said it was a goodwill gesture and third-party insurer Ergo was responsible for adjudicating any claims .

I asked Ergo for a comment, but he just said he was still waiting for your medical documentation.

You tell me that you will continue to use Trainline in the future, but will no longer check the insurance option because you think its claims process is too rigid.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email [email protected] – include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organization giving him permission to speak to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for the answers given.

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