My wife passed away in May. We had several accounts with NS&I.
I notified her of her death online on May 12 by filling out the required form, and was told it could take up to five weeks to process.
I kept calling customer service after hearing nothing and the date was repeatedly pushed back before finally saying there was no notification of being informed.
If this is not arranged, I cannot get probate, meaning I cannot move into a retirement facility – while grieving my wife. Why does it take so long to sort? CT, by email
An NS&I customer was abandoned after the company put off his money for months
Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, answers:: First of all, my condolences on the passing of your wife.
I’m also sorry to hear about the customer service you experienced from NS&I in arranging your and your wife’s finances – it’s not what anyone needs while grieving.
After contacting NS&I shortly after your wife’s death to find out how much you had in your accounts, plus to have all the money withdrawn so that you could complete the estate, you were told that the would take a matter of weeks to be sorted.
However, after calling for an update in early June, you were told it would be two more weeks and in mid-June you were told it would be another two weeks.
During this phone call, you asked the representative to confirm that they had received your online application and they confirmed that it was in the system waiting to be processed.
You then wrote a letter to NS&I complaining about the delay, clearly stating that you needed confirmed funds in your wife’s name on her date of death in order to obtain a Certificate of Succession.
GRACE ON THE MATTER
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You would later discover that there was £54,784.99 in your wife’s individual account, £10,431.38 on your joint bond and £11,176.23 on your direct saver – a total of £76,392.60.
This is a significant amount that you not only needed to know the sum to start the estate, but also wanted to receive so that you could begin the process of moving into a retired housing facility.
As a result of your complaint, you received a letter at the end of June stating that NS&I had not been informed of your wife’s death.
Attached to the letter was an entry form and a request for a death certificate which you returned the same day and an additional request for fund totals.
A day later, another letter came asking for a copy of your wife’s will, and another copy of the death certificate. These were sent by registered mail at the beginning of July.
Even though the letter had been received, you had heard nothing more, so the company called again.
The agent said your request would be July 5 – not the original date you communicated to them May 12 – and it would take about two months.
NS&I repeatedly told the customer it would be a few more weeks without any updates being given
This is despite their confirmation that your original application was received in mid-May. Your case should have been a high priority, right?
You explained again that without the requested information you cannot get an inheritance, which means that the entire estate is in limbo.
You added that since you are 80 years old and not in good health, and also because you are grieving your wife, the whole process became more and more stressful.
Sorry to hear about your issues and understood how time sensitive the issue was. So I contacted NS&I to find out why it couldn’t speed up the process for you.
Fortunately, it was apologetic and sympathetic to your issue, with the company paying out the full amount within days and apologizing.
A spokesperson for NS&I said: ‘Our team has investigated this and on 20 July they addressed the interests of the late Ms T’s NS&I.
‘Mr and Mrs T’s two joint accounts have been transferred exclusively in Mr T’s name.
A letter has been sent to Mr T dated 20th July explaining this, and it also includes a refund form for Ms T’s sole NS&I holding company, as well as valuation statements for all of Ms T’s NS&I accounts as of the date of her death. .
‘NS&I did receive notification of Mrs T’s death on 12 May via the online grief processing form, as Mr T said. This was processed on 25 June when NS&I requested access to the will and death certificate of Mrs T.
‘NS&I received these documents on 5 July, after which the mourning process was completed on 20 July. The processing of Mr T’s late wife’s estate has taken longer than usual due to delays in NS&I’s back office processing.
“Due to a strict Covid-19-related lockdown to come into effect in Chennai, India, the NS&I offices in Chennai, where some back office processing tasks are handled, will be closed from May 24 to June 10 and reopened on June 11.
“During this time, NS&I has been working to bring processes back to our UK locations to minimize disruption to our customers. At present, most NS&I processes are running according to normal schedules, but there are still some delays.
“We would like to apologize to Mr T for the inconvenience these delays have caused, while understanding that it is an extremely difficult time for him.”
Hopefully, you can now begin the process of selling and moving into retirement provision. I hope NS&I has learned a lesson here – those who are grieving should, in my opinion, be treated more sensitively and given the highest priority.
Grace on the Case passes the £300,000 mark…
It’s now 37 weeks of Grace on the Case and we’ve helped readers get £320,000 back.
This included £106,000 for a reader whose husband had died unexpectedly and was awaiting payment from Legal and General.
It also features an Amazon customer who was waiting for more than £5,000 in money after it took the site months to verify its seller account.
If you have a consumer issue that you need help with, please contact Grace on the Case at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hit and miss: this week’s naughty and fun list
Each week I look at some of the companies that have not met the expected standards, as well as companies that have gone the extra mile for customers.
To miss: Reader, Anton, has expressed his disappointment at: Samsung. He said: ‘I bought a new TV from Samsung’s website for £999.
‘It claimed to give £150 cash back on all purchases and in April I received a code to claim the money back. However, after months of frustration, I still have no luck with Samsung getting this money.
“I’m running around and sent from department to department. I was told people would contact me, but I got probably the worst customer service I’ve ever encountered.”
After I contacted Samsung about this, it turned out that you did not provide all the information necessary to make a claim.
A Samsung spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear that your reader has been experiencing problems. Our special offers are validated by providing purchase information and product serial numbers within a clearly stated time frame.
‘In this case, the customer had not provided the correct information within the deadline, so we were unable to provide the cashback.
“We always want our customers to be happy and on this occasion we worked with Anton to validate the claim and resolve the matter.”
Fortunately, you have now received the cashback, but next time it might be worth reading the terms and conditions carefully.
A customer struggled to get a cashback from Samsung after purchasing a television
Touch: This week, reader Jan wanted to praise energy company, british gas.
She said: ‘Due to a change in my mother’s circumstances, we had to address her financial situation and contact British Gas.
“She has always been more than happy with their service, especially the house contract for her gas boiler.
‘She is 89 years old and because of her declining mobility she needs to keep warm. I explained to British Gas about my mother’s circumstances and the customer service representative was friendly, helpful, informative and answered my question brilliantly.
‘During the conversation he referred me to a colleague who was also very helpful and friendly and resolved the cost of the Home Contract which was an excellent outcome.’
It’s great to hear you got such a warm response.
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