At last, Money Marketing brings you the final instalment in the diary of a pension misselling victim
Here it is. Finally, after the long wait, that tell-tale envelope, the one which says: “Your pension review – private and confidential.” Not any more then, obviously.
Never mind. The thrill is all in the envelope – the sum total of months of waiting after all that form filling.
A memory involuntarily forms in my mind. It is of a nave young man listening to a besuited smoothy with a pearly smile. The man (I trusted him, after all, the bank told me he was an independent adviser, not on bank commission at all) is telling me how my occupational scheme is inadequate and what I really want to do is sign up for this personal pension plan. The nave young man signs the forms. He needs the overdraft which has been promised him if he does and the car's fallen apart again.
Now, after 10 years, what will this envelope hold? A massive pension top-up? A Caribbean holiday?
NatWest's finest stationery yields easily to my eager clawing.
“Dear Mr Amiode.” …Yes, yes… “We find that you have been materially disadvantaged.” …Yessssss! Fruit punch and azure seas, here I come. Love it … “£92.”
What? £92? Gimme the phone.
“Oi!” I say in the politest possible way. “How do you suppose I am to enjoy a comfortable retirement with that? It's about enough for decent lunch.”
The NatWest woman replies: “It's been very carefully worked out along a set formula, sir.”
Words tumble from my lips. Words like ombudsman, swindle, regulator, customer care, prosecution, Government, lynch mob and bastards.
She will not be moved.
Shattered, I call my real IFA and mutter something about reinvesting my pension review payout. “Good idea,” he says. “How much is it?”
“£92,” I reply. “Hello, hello, are you still there?”
I swear that all I can hear is the sound of a gusset being strained by suppressed laughter. Thoroughly depressed, I leave the house and pace the high street. My heart lifts as I see a sign in the travel agent's window. “Jamaica Holiday Inn, three nights, £92.”
I buy it and instantly feel better. But wait, I examine the tickets. I have just paid for three nights in the Jamaica Holiday Inn – Chelmsford.
Dammit. Maybe I should have asked more questions. Hang on a minute, yes, maybe I should have asked more questions. It might have saved me a lot of bother.