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Aviva ignored signs of financial abuse by sibling and supported by FOS


Titchytitch
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@BankFodder the FOS letter I need to send to Idil badar or do I send it to as many people possible 

The Independent assessor letter do I need to add more to it or is that fine now with your amendments? And I need to send that to everyone again plus the independent assessor?

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I'm sure there fine as they are.

I would make a practice of making sure that letters are sent to as many people as possible so that everybody knows

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@BankFodder i have sent the rejection letter to the financial ombudsman  and the letter to the independent assessor 

 

@BankFodder i got a response from the investigator who gave the extension he said the below:

 

Thank you for letting us know that you do not accept the final decision, because you have rejected it the decision will not be legally binding and you can take this further e.g. court action if you wish to do so.

 

I am sorry to hear that no one has been in touch about the service complaint, I can assure you that this was raised for you and I have been in touch with the relevant team to escalate your concerns today. 

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response from service manager at FOS following our emails

Quote

 

Thank you for getting in touch on 17 June 2021, following our Final Decision. I’m sorry to see you’re unhappy with the service we’ve provided.

 

I help respond to complaints about our service, and I’m getting in touch following your email today, in which you’re unhappy that we haven’t responded to your service complaint.

 

I’m sorry you weren’t given more detailed information about how the process works. When you raise a service complaint, the responding manager has 15 working days to provide their response. Please be assured that your concerns were passed to a manager at the time you raised your complaint, and it is being looked into.

 

You should expect to receive a response to your concerns by the end of this week. Once you’ve received that you will then have three months in which you can refer your complaint to the Independent Assessor.

 

I hope that’s explained what’s been happening with your service complaint, and again, apologies that you thought we weren’t dealing with this for you.

 

 

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@BankFodder I've just received this email from the independent assessor I don't know what it means or what it does 

 

Your complaint about the Financial Ombudsman Service: ...

 

Thank you for your correspondence received 6th July 2021. I am a caseworker and I assist the Independent Assessor.

 

I can see that since your email, the Service said it would respond to your concerns by the end of the week. If you remain unhappy once you receive that response please do refer your concerns to our office within the deadline provided by the Service.

 

In the meantime I’ve provided some information regarding the Independent Assessor, Dame Gillian Guy’s role and remit for you to consider when coming back to our office with your concerns.

 

The role of the Independent Assessor

 

The Independent Assessor’s role is to review the practical handling of cases investigated by the Ombudsman Service. Practical handling covers customer- service related concerns such as, delays, staff attitude, lack of correspondence, not advising of the right to an Ombudsman review, etc.

 

It is not the Independent Assessor’s role to review a case against the financial business or to assess how the Service chose to investigate the matter.

 

The investigation of a case, including the information requested, the weight attached to the information and the outcome of the case all fall within the judgement of the staff of the Ombudsman Service, as does who is assigned to a case. The Independent Assessor cannot challenge the Service’s judgment on any of the above as set out in her Terms of Reference.

 

Nor can the Independent Assessor’s comment on or change the Service’s processes including the way it trains its staff, who it employs, its investigatory methods or any procedures or policies it adopts.

 

No further action will be taken at this stage

 

We shall take no further action until we hear back from you with bullet points of your concerns, once the Service has responded to them in the first instance.

Please do so within the three-month deadline provided to you by the Service.

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What you are finding already is that even the so-called "independent assessor" which is meant to be independent of the FOS in fact is a limited function of the FOS and which will conduct any so-called investigation reluctantly and as unhelpfully as possible.

Still, you may as well go through the hoops but as we already know, nothing will change.

I seem to remember that you were already advised to go to the independent assessor by somebody from the FOS. Is that correct?

Incidentally, what are the names of the initial investigator who found against you and then the ombudsman who simply went along with it and confirmed

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@BankFodder it was Katie Anderson whose now left and then the ombudsman was Joanne ward and now the person that took over Katie is Idil badar 

 

The last communication from FOS stated they'll be in touch by this week and then I have 3mths to make a complaint to the independent Assessor 

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@BankFodder the service managers response 

 

Our ref

.....

 

 

 

 

Sent on behalf of Geoffrey Futer:

 

Dear Mrs Bi

 

Thank you for your patience while I’ve looked into the concerns you’ve raised about how we’ve handled your case. I’m Ombudsman Joanne Ward’s manager – and part of my role is to investigate complaints about our service.

 

Your complaint about our service

 

I’ve read through the documents you sent in detailing your service complaint and summarised as follows:

 

-          You don’t feel that the Ombudsman asked for/actually had documents about the Aviva process, which you felt was crucial to the investigation, making her investigation incomplete

-          You don’t feel that the ombudsman gave you a chance to make any final representations before issuing her decision

-          You feel that the decision was based solely on the previous investigators findings, instead of being investigated from afresh

I note that a lot of the points raised go into the details of the merits of your case and what was relied on. I won’t be addressing these points. As you’re already aware, I can only review the service provided, and so that is what my review has focused on.

 

My findings

 

I’m sorry that you’ve felt you needed to complain, as we always want our customers to have the best possible experience with us. That said, after reviewing everything, I think we have provided a satisfactory service on this occasion – but I appreciate that’s not how you see it.

 

You’ve explained you don’t feel that you were given the chance to make any representations before the decision was issued. But after you received the view, you sent in a detailed response with your position on our findings. Alongside this, we have all of the previous correspondence that you have sent in on file – all of which Joanne was able to see and reviewed prior to making her decision. So, I can’t say that you hadn’t been given the chance, throughout your complaint, to provide all of the information you felt relevant.

 

In addition to this it’s also worth noting that as the deciding Ombudsman, it’s for Joanne to decide what information she needs in order to reach a fair outcome. And an Ombudsman wouldn’t usually speak to as customer unless they felt it necessary to do so to reach their outcome. I can see that Katie contacted you in November and February on behalf of Joanne as she needed some more information before issuing her view. So, you were given the chance to provide all of the information you were asked for, or wanted to submit. And Joanne felt that receiving this information was all she needed to reach her outcome.

 

This leads nicely onto your point about Joanne not making an investigation from afresh.

 

It is our process that when an ombudsman takes on a case for decision, that they review the whole case file and reach their own conclusions. I’m satisfied Joanne has done so in this case. And I believe her asking for more information also evidences this, as the Investigator previously hadn’t asked for this.

 

There are times when an Ombudsman may disagree with the previous view, and in doing so they will communicate a change in outcome through a provisional decision, before issuing the final decision. But I can see in this case, Joanne came to the same outcome – based on her own investigation – so this was not necessary.

 

You’ve said you don’t feel that we’ve seen crucial information about Aviva’s process. You also commented that you felt this was important as it’s the main reason for not upholding your case.

 

I’ve spoken to Joanne to discuss what she considered, and she’s assured me she did have the information available, and this was one of the things she relied on. I’ve also seen that we have this on file. Their processes are commercially sensitive, so we won’t be sharing this with you, but I can assure you that Joanne has reviewed it. Having read Joanne’s Decision, I think she makes it clear that this isn’t the only factor in reaching her outcome, and that is adequately explained in the decision.

 

So, I can’t agree that we didn’t have key evidence or that the investigation was incomplete.

 

I appreciate that you don’t agree with the decision. The nature of what we do means that often one party is disappointed, but that doesn’t mean we’ve not investigated properly or relied on the right evidence. I’m satisfied that we’ve handled your case as I’d expect and there is nothing to suggest that we haven’t applied our case handling processes.

 

The Independent Assessor

 

I hope that my response has gone some way to assure you that I’ve taken your concerns seriously.

 

But if you’re still unhappy with the service we’ve given you, you can contact the independent assessor, Dame Gillian Guy. You have three months from today to get in touch with her. You’ll need to contact her directly, as we can’t refer a complaint for you.
 

You can find the independent assessor's terms of reference here. She can investigate the level of service we’ve provided. But she can’t comment on – or change – the outcome of the complaint about Aviva Insurance Limited.

You can email Dame Gillian at [email protected]ombudsman.org.uk or write to The Independent Assessor, PO Box 35738, London, E14 9YU

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23 hours ago, Titchytitch said:

@BankFodder 

 

...  The role of the Independent Assessor

 

The Independent Assessor’s role is to review the practical handling of cases investigated by the Ombudsman Service. Practical handling covers customer- service related concerns such as, delays, staff attitude, lack of correspondence, not advising of the right to an Ombudsman review, etc.

 

It is not the Independent Assessor’s role to review a case against the financial business or to assess how the Service chose to investigate the matter.

 

The investigation of a case, including the information requested, the weight attached to the information and the outcome of the case all fall within the judgement of the staff of the Ombudsman Service, as does who is assigned to a case. The Independent Assessor cannot challenge the Service’s judgment on any of the above as set out in her Terms of Reference.

 

Nor can the Independent Assessor’s comment on or change the Service’s processes including the way it trains its staff, who it employs, its investigatory methods or any procedures or policies it adopts... 

 

 

That all seems contradictory to me.  I don't see how the way an investigator or ombudsman investigates a case can be distinguished from the "practical handling" of a case - the latter obviously includes the former.  (A person could complain to the FOS and the FOS could decide that its investigation would not include gathering any evidence from the complainant, and then find that the company being complained about had done nothing wrong.  That would clearly not be right, but according to the above the Independent Assessor would be unable to question it!)

 

In this case I'd have thought the practical handling to complain about is the apparent reliance of the FOS on Aviva's assertion that they have correctly followed their procedures - without any indication that the FOS have actually seen that procedure and measured Aviva's conduct against it.  On the face of it, the FOS decision appears to mean that anybody at all (X) can ring up Aviva and take out an insurance policy on behalf of somebody else (Y) without Aviva carrying out any checks at all that X has Y's authority to proceed.  And that Aviva can then hold Y liable to pay the premiums!  I personally find it very difficult to believe that Aviva has a policy that says that that is OK, and I find it even harder to believe that the FOS condones that.  I find it difficult to avoid the conclusion that there is some miscommunication here, 'cos none of it makes sense.  I do not understand how the FOS could have reached their decision - it appears perverse.

 

I seem to recall the OP might have other grounds to complain about the practical handling?  Am I right in thinking the FOS contact with the OP in respect of the investigation only consisted of some 'phone calls and no written statement or submission etc that they could keep a copy of?  Clearly unsatisfactory in my view.  (Apologies if I'm mistaken on that point but that's what I seem to remember).

 

 

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We cross-posted.

 

Don't do anything until BankFodder advises, but....   if I were you I'd be inclined to reply to Mr Futer along the following lines:

 

Dear Mr Futer

 

Thank you for your letter dated xxxxxxxxxx.

 

Before I decide whether I wish to take this any further I should be very grateful if you could confirm that I have correctly understood the FOS decision and the content of your letter.

 

In my case my brother (is that right OP?) contacted Aviva falsely claiming to take out an insurance policy on my behalf and with my authorisation.  This was untrue and there has never been any evidence to suggest it was true for the simple reason he was not acting on my behalf and did not have my authorisation.  Aviva did not carry out any checks to confirm that what he was telling them was true, never attempted to contact me to confirm my authorisation, and accepted his false claim to be acting on my behalf without question.  Aviva put an insurance policy in place based on his false claims and supplied confirmation and documentation etc to email addresses belonging to him and under his control.  (Is that correct OP?)  None of these documents were ever delivered to me and I never read them.

 

I only became aware of the policy when my brother defaulted on paying the premiums and Aviva attempted to pursue me for payment and put a default on my credit report.  (Or whatever you are complaining about, OP).

 

My understanding of the outcome of the FOS decision into my complaint against Aviva for taking this action against me is (1) that the FOS does not uphold my complaint and (2) that the FOS believes that Aviva have conducted themselves properly throughout.  Can you please confirm that this understanding of the FOS decision is correct?

 

You may be interested to know that my brother attempted similar frauds against other insurance companies but only succeeded in defrauding Aviva because the other companies concerned were sufficiently competent to carry out appropriate checks.  My brother is now under investigation by the police for these attempted frauds and also for the fraudulently obtained Aviva insurance policy.

 

Again, I should be grateful for your confirmation that I have correctly understood the FOS decision before I decide whether or not to take further action.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

That's what I'd do at this stage, but whether it's a good idea or not I do not know.  To me it has the benefit of clearly outlining what seems to me to be a totally perverse decision contrary to common sense, and putting them on the spot either to defend it or to say that you have completely misunderstood what the decision says.

 

But I am not a lawyer so don't do anything at the moment and certainly don't just do what I say!  See what others  - particularly BankFodder - think.

 

(Obviously, if you do send off anything like my letter, make sure everything is accurate, true and correct - I've had to make certain assumptions because I'm not sure of all the details)

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The point of my suggestion above is that you are not asking the FOS to review the decision or re-investigate or anything like that.  You are simply asking for confirmation that you have correctly understood the FOS decision.  I can see no objection from the FOS in you asking for that confirmation as a layman.

 

Hopefully, if somebody actually reads your account it might raise a question mark in somebody's head about the decision they (appear) to have made.  Or, they might come back to you and explain why you have misunderstood.

 

Good luck!

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On 08/07/2021 at 14:36, Manxman in exile said:

 

That all seems contradictory to me.  I don't see how the way an investigator or ombudsman investigates a case can be distinguished from the "practical handling" of a case - the latter obviously includes the former.  (A person could complain to the FOS and the FOS could decide that its investigation would not include gathering any evidence from the complainant, and then find that the company being complained about had done nothing wrong.  That would clearly not be right, but according to the above the Independent Assessor would be unable to question it!)

 

In this case I'd have thought the practical handling to complain about is the apparent reliance of the FOS on Aviva's assertion that they have correctly followed their procedures - without any indication that the FOS have actually seen that procedure and measured Aviva's conduct against it.  On the face of it, the FOS decision appears to mean that anybody at all (X) can ring up Aviva and take out an insurance policy on behalf of somebody else (Y) without Aviva carrying out any checks at all that X has Y's authority to proceed.  And that Aviva can then hold Y liable to pay the premiums!  I personally find it very difficult to believe that Aviva has a policy that says that that is OK, and I find it even harder to believe that the FOS condones that.  I find it difficult to avoid the conclusion that there is some miscommunication here, 'cos none of it makes sense.  I do not understand how the FOS could have reached their decision - it appears perverse.

 

I seem to recall the OP might have other grounds to complain about the practical handling?  Am I right in thinking the FOS contact with the OP in respect of the investigation only consisted of some 'phone calls and no written statement or submission etc that they could keep a copy of?  Clearly unsatisfactory in my view.  (Apologies if I'm mistaken on that point but that's what I seem to remember).

 

 

@BankFodder any thoughts please on what we need to do now ?

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I think we have to accept that the approach to the ombudsman in terms of getting a decision against Aviva has broadly failed and there is nothing much else that one can do.
Obviously you must make your complaint to the Independent assessor and in order to do that you will have to follow their "process" and then make the complaint focusing only on the way that the complaint has been handled and avoiding very carefully the merits of the case.
If you do anything which suggests that you are challenging the merits of the case then I'm afraid it will dilute your whole complaint.

One thing I have to say though is that I had understood from an earlier post that you told us that you had not received any approach at all for information before the ombudsman made the decision. However, we see above that they are saying that you have been sent some emails.
Please can you clarify?

Although the approach to the ombudsman has not produced the decision in your favour, he has produced one very valuable piece of information and that is Aviva's own description of what happened including the fact that their own call handler had doubts and had to refer to a manager. Also, the very detailed description of what happened and how it was set up and the fact that it is clear that they were effectively prevented from speaking to you when the policy was set up and that there had been no contact with you throughout the duration of the policy, is extremely helpful.
I doubt whether you would have gotten such a clear and detailed explanation if this had simply been litigated.

When I also hope is now obvious to you and to everyone who deals with the FOS is that they batten down their hatches – especially if they feel challenged. There is no transparency and you singly have to take their word for it that there are processes which were disclosed to them – but clearly they aren't being disclosed to you and for that reason, their methodology is desperately unfair.

This should certainly be one of the points of complaint to the Independent assessor. There is no reason why the Aviva process should be kept confidential.

However what is useful is that the FOS has claimed (and I'm not convinced) that there is a process and that they had sight of it. This means that if you come to litigate against Aviva then that is one of the things which should be disclosed as part of the court bundle.
The court process is much more transparent and of course a much higher quality than the FOS which is really just an industry poodle when it comes to these things.

So the bottom line is that the FOS have found against you. It's rather surprising, in my view. However it seems that a lot of the decision turn on the fact that they considered that you had received 12 communications from Aviva and that you hadn't responded to any of them and they considered that that was evidence that you were in cahoots with your brother.
If you litigate then this point will come up again and I think that you had better have a very clear explanation of this and I would suggest that you produce a tabulated account of the communication attempts, how they were made, dates, and why they didn't come to your notice or why you didn't respond.
No point in producing an explanation now. But get it all ready because I think we need to see it.

So the next steps are to prepare your complaint to the Independent assessor and post a draft here. Keep it short. Use the numbered points which I originally made as a basis.
Wait and see what disclosure is made by Aviva – but don't hold your breath on that.
And then consider suing Aviva for unfair treatment.

If you decide to sue Aviva for unfair treatment then don't expect it to be easy. Aviva will either realise what a mistake they made and try to put their hands up without admitting any liability – or else they might decide to go the distance in which case the case will get very complicated and you will have to be sure of your ground and confident about being able to deal with it.

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Posted (edited)

@BankFodder would you think it would be best to respond to the independent assessor and wait to see the outcome of the police investigation 

As the police officer was clarifying on some points so they are still arresting him and questioning him 

Aviva have stopped sending correspondence for now due to the officer getting in touch with them 

The FOS Katie has sent a few emails but she never said do you have anything further to add before we make a final decision if that makes sense they we're emails just asking for information 

 

I also think with everything going against me even if I did go down the taking aviva to court route they would go the whole way to get the money out of me and so far aviva and the FOS have really knocked my confidence I just feel like im banging my head against a brick wall and there's absolute no logic behind how this policy was originally set up 

Edited by Titchytitch
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@BankFodder will no doubt respond later.

 

My view is that sometimes allowing time for other people to do what they need to do is best.  If the Police are investigating and in contact with various,  see what happens with this.

 

If you wanted to respond to the Independent assessor, you could just update them to say that Police have an active investigation ongoing and you are waiting for an update from them.  Then go onto say that you will be asking the Independent assessor to complete a review in line with their operating standards. 

 

 

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The complaint to the Independent assessor is a complaint in relation only to the way that the ombudsman's enquiry has been conducted. In that respect, I don't see that the police interest in the matter is at all relevant and I think that if you start to raise that issue then it will suggest to the independent assessor that you are making a challenge on the merits of the decision because it could be implied that the ombudsman should have taken that into account – which of course they should have done.
However, I think we have already seen that the whole operation exist simply to rally round themselves and to prevent any questions about how they have conducted your case. I'm afraid I don't have any confidence in the independent assessor. I doubt whether it is truly independent and I don't think you should give them any chance to try and reduce the impact of your complaint by giving them an opportunity to say that some aspect of your complaint cannot be considered by them because it amounts to an attack on the merits of the decision.

Some afraid that you should avoid all mention of the police investigation. That you should not ask for any delays and that you should simply now jump the Hoops that the rules are placing in your way in order to make a complaint to the ombudsman.
If you're at all lucky then there may be some criticism of the way the ombudsman has handled the complaint – but of course all that will do would be to lead to a little slapped wrist on the ombudsman – but with no change in the decision and simply some derisory award to you of a couple of hundred quid in bonbons to make them feel better and to make the independent assessor able to say that they are independent.

There's still lots of time to consider taking Aviva to court. I'm afraid that once the ombudsman investigation found against you, this was always going to be the only solution. It's not a question about getting an award of money but it is a question of getting your credit file cleaned up and to have you exonerated.

I understand that you are under a great deal of stress about this – but we still haven't come for the date for the Aviva's disclosure of your personal data. (When is that anyway?)

For the moment just make the complaint to the Independent assessor and then we will see what Aviva disclose. You can be absolutely certain that they will not disclose any process – particularly as they now know that it is an issue in the dispute.

If that you can be pretty certain that the completely unnecessary extension which Aviva imposed will be used to filter out material to make sure that what you get from them is as unhelpful as possible. Don't imagine that you are going to get any kind of integrity from Aviva. They've already shown how sloppy and negligent and self-serving they can be. Don't expect anything better.

Let's see what you get and then we can talk about a legal action. You can see how you feel about it further on down the line

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@BankFodder aviva extended by 2mths so they will be due to disclose SAR around 25th July 

 

The post #439 by @Manxman in exile do you think that's worth sending to the ombudsman to make sure we have understand their decision 

 

can I have some help in drafting the complaint to the independent assessor please x

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Draft your complaint and we'll have a look

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When is the deadline for the complaint?

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