My wife and I used HSBC to invest our £630,000 retirement savings. Last November, she sadly passed away.
I was told I’d need a grant of probate. I was surprised as everything, bar three investment accounts, was in joint names.
The bank’s guide says probate is at its discretion and is not related to the value of the estate. It said my wife’s will may not have been a final one, which I found offensive.
Let down: An HSBC customer, who invested £630,000 with the bank, claims he was treated very poorly after his wife died
I obtained probate and asked for the investment fund units in the accounts to be transferred to me rather than cashed in, as I didn’t want to crystallise losses in a falling market.
But the bank sold them on March 25 — the worst time to do so, in terms of the unit values before and since.
I complained and was told I’d get compensation. I want HSBC to replace the investment units it sold, which would now be worth £23,000 more than the sale price.
I am also trying to track down £2,000 which my wife had in a regular savings account. The staff I deal with are pleasant, but seem to be totally ineffectual.
A. F., Hampshire.
Banks keep telling us they have improved the way they deal with bereaved customers — then in comes a letter like yours.
You are a member of HSBC Jade, the bank’s premier service, with significant investments and a dedicated wealth manager.
Yet HSBC rewards your loyalty with ineptitude and indifference.
Naturally, one call from the Daily Mail and it sprang into action. A spokesman says: ‘It is very important to us that we support customers at times like this.
We sincerely apologise to Mr F for his recent experience at what was an extremely difficult time for him.
‘We have fallen short of the high standards we set ourselves. We have been working with Mr F to resolve the issues, including re-purchasing the shares and correcting the investments, so he is not out of pocket.’
The £2,000 from the savings account has also been sent to you. It seems HSBC was waiting for a form. Why couldn’t someone just explain this to you?
On the probate point, HSBC says each case is reviewed by bereavement specialists. As the value of the estate was more than £185,000, probate was deemed appropriate.
Fair enough. So why insensitively suggest that you may be presenting an out-of-date will?
HSBC has paid you £500 in compensation.
Straight to the point
How can I file a tax return now HMRC is making the service digital? I do not have a computer.
G. H., Essex.
HMRC no longer sends out paper tax return forms automatically, but you can request one by calling 0300 200 3310.
I’ve had the same mobile number with O2 for 16 years, but on March 10 it was disconnected.
I keep contacting the company’s helpline but nothing is being done. Both my parents are in their late 80s and need to keep in touch with me.
J. O., Liverpool.
O2 says the disruption was due to an internal error made by one of its advisers.
Your number has been restored. The telecoms giant has also added credit to your account as an apology, and sent you a gift.
For five years Amazon has taken £7.99 a month out of my account for a service called Kindle Unlimited, which I never ordered nor used.
Amazon assured me I would be refunded but I’m still waiting.
H. D., Glasgow.
Amazon has now refunded you the full amount and offered you a £50 giftcard as a gesture of goodwill.
I booked to stay at a hotel in Manchester tomorrow but it is shut due to coronavirus.
The booking agent, I used, Hotelogical, says it is not responsible for refunding me. I stand to lose £187.
L. J., Aberdare, Wales.
Hotelogical says it asked what you wanted to do several times, and you insisted you were still planning to take the trip if possible. You have now received a refund.
On October 7 last year I asked Staysure if I could extend my European travel cover for a world cruise.
This was not possible, so I took out a new policy with the firm costing £2,267, and asked it to cancel the first policy.
I arrived home from the cruise on March 16 to find Staysure had renewed the European policy at a cost of £916.84.
I could not respond to two renewal notices as I had been away, which the firm would surely have known.
Several calls resulted in a negative response.
N. M., Chester.
Congratulations on getting a world cruise in before lockdown. Staysure admits it made an error which, after my intervention, it addressed directly with you.
Did I still look for a statement from the firm? Of course I did!
I can only assume that without my intervention the response would have remained negative.
A spokesman says: ‘We were grateful to have been alerted to this isolated error.
‘In normal circumstances, we believe this would have been picked up. However, due to the numerous challenges we’ve faced in answering the unprecedented volumes of calls and queries, as well as ensuring our workforce is safe during the crisis, it was not.
‘We are glad that it has been swiftly rectified to everyone’s satisfaction.’ Staysure refunded the £916.84 and offered a discount on a future policy.
One reader went on a world cruise but was charged for two travel insurance policies
My elderly mum is having difficulty getting help with a faulty Currys fridge-freezer, bought on March 23.
It does not freeze or chill food, and pale liquid started pooling under it. We had to throw out all of the food in it.
Someone from Currys’ technical team inspected it and said it was faulty, but was unable to get it replaced.
My mum has been left without a fridge-freezer for more than a month. We get automated responses to emails promising a six-day callback which never happens.
J. K., by email.
You and your mum have had a frustrating experience, but hopefully all is ‘cool’ now.
Like many companies, Currys was struggling to deal with customer issues in the early days of lockdown.
Let’s remember that it suddenly had to work out ways to run the business while ensuring the safety of staff answering calls and visiting customers.
When I alerted Currys it immediately arranged for a replacement to be delivered.
A spokesman says: ‘When Mrs K’s freezer arrived it unfortunately had a fault.
‘We’ve arranged a refund and to pick up the appliance, and offered a gesture of goodwill (£100) which Mrs K has accepted. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.’
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.