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Royal London Policy - Payment Dispute

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Seraph1701Seraph1701 Forumite
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I just found a bag of unopened letters from ages ago, probably from when I moved way back in 2006. One of them was from the Royal London informing me that my policy had matured and I was due a sum of money. In order to claim, I needed to fill in an enclosed form, get is witnessed and then return. I didn't know I even had this policy, and it seems to be something my Dad took out for me. I called them last week, they said they could see the policy, but didn't give me any further info and said they'd be in touch. I received a curt letter today stating that they issued a cheque and they don't have records further than 6 years back. As a 30-year-old, living in rented accommodation I would have recalled the £4k windfall, and I certainly never received or cashed a cheque. They also only had my parent's address until as of last week. I called again today, and the chap on the phone said he could see the cheque had been issued as a status, but couldn't tell if it had been cashed. I really don't know what to do. I doubt my bank will have statements that far back. Wouldn't it be on them to prove the cheque has been cashed? Kinda glum, as that sort of money right now would be a game-changer. Any advice would be appreciated. 
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  • Seraph1701Seraph1701 Forumite
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    Just to add. The policy is in my name and it's a Life Assurance policy. 
  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    After 14 years you are going to have great difficulty proving otherwise if they say the payout was made.  As said, records tend only to go back 6 years.  In the first instance you need to write to them, as customer service staff can often only see what is on a live system, not what may still be available in archives.  If they just accepted a customer's word that a cheque hadn't been cashed, 14 years after the event, it would be open season for every potential fraudster to do what you are currently attempting to do.
    I'm not accusing you of attempted fraud, just pointing out the weakness of your argument that it should be their responsibility to prove it had been cashed.
  • davidmcndavidmcn Forumite
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    If the cheque wasn't cashed, I presume the funds would have gone back into some sort of suspense account to be claimed by the policyholder at a later date, not just taken by the company. But you may need some patience for them to investigate, rather than be surprised that somebody at a call centre today can't immediately tell you what happened 14 years ago.
  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    davidmcn said:
    If the cheque wasn't cashed, I presume the funds would have gone back into some sort of suspense account to be claimed by the policyholder at a later date, not just taken by the company. But you may need some patience for them to investigate, rather than be surprised that somebody at a call centre today can't immediately tell you what happened 14 years ago.
    Have you forgotten how a cheque works? I know its been a long time  B)

    There is no "funds to go back" because the funds only go when a cheque is cashed.  There will be some unexplained unallocated cash somewhere but companies can run millions in unallocated cash and so £4k isnt going to set any alarm bells ringing.
  • HasbeenHasbeen Forumite
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    OP Have you asked your parents about this cheque, that was most likely sent to the address on record.
    For the policy that they took out and  you did not know existed?  ;)
    The world is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. Napoleon
  • davidmcndavidmcn Forumite
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    Sandtree said:
    davidmcn said:
    If the cheque wasn't cashed, I presume the funds would have gone back into some sort of suspense account to be claimed by the policyholder at a later date, not just taken by the company. But you may need some patience for them to investigate, rather than be surprised that somebody at a call centre today can't immediately tell you what happened 14 years ago.
    Have you forgotten how a cheque works? I know its been a long time  B)

    There is no "funds to go back" because the funds only go when a cheque is cashed.  There will be some unexplained unallocated cash somewhere but companies can run millions in unallocated cash and so £4k isnt going to set any alarm bells ringing.
    Sure, but I would expect most companies to notice the cheque hasn't been banked after six months and then do...something. Either send a reminder or two, or just sit and wait. Either way, I'm sure life companies are generally used to funds being unclaimed long after they were due to be.
  • ThrugelmirThrugelmir Forumite
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    In order to claim, I needed to fill in an enclosed form, get is witnessed and then return
    To issue a cheque at the time. Somebody made a claim............
    “Buy value, not market trends or the economic outlook. Individual stocks determine the market, not vica versa." - Sir John Templeton
  • Seraph1701Seraph1701 Forumite
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    Thanks for all the replies. Ofc I didn't expect a call centre to be able to answer me, especially as they are all working from home too. But I would have thought there would be a record of payment taken? How else do they audit? I'm still unsure of even where the policy came from. My dad used to work for the RLH and remembers taking something out for me when I was a kid, so the time-frame works.. And ofc I don't expect them to take me at my word, but then how can I take them at their word if there's no proof their side? This must go on all the time. Surely surplus money must show somewhere. It's just like they've written me off with no means to challenge this and just kept what's a small amount to them, but something that can really help at a time like this. 
  • SandtreeSandtree Forumite
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    davidmcn said:
    Sure, but I would expect most companies to notice the cheque hasn't been banked after six months and then do...something. Either send a reminder or two, or just sit and wait. Either way, I'm sure life companies are generally used to funds being unclaimed long after they were due to be.
    If you owe someone money, you send them a cheque and they don't cash it how much time and effort do you spend making sure they take your money? 

    As per https://supportcentre.natwest.com/Searchable/913245602/How-long-are-cheques-valid-for.htm cheque's don't automatically expire after 6 months and they may be cashable after that. There is a charge for a business to cancel a cheque and a further charge to reissue and post it out. 

    I've never been responsible for dealing with payments to policyholders but certainly with payments to Third Parties we'd send a cheque and close the file. Only if the TP/TPI etc contacted us later saying they hadn't received the cheque or they'd lost it etc would we cancel and then reissue. These days are slightly different because payments go via BACS or FasterPay and so there is a near instant feedback loop if the money bounces back.
  • edited 6 August at 5:07PM
    davidmcndavidmcn Forumite
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    edited 6 August at 5:07PM
    Sandtree said:
    I've never been responsible for dealing with payments to policyholders but certainly with payments to Third Parties we'd send a cheque and close the file. Only if the TP/TPI etc contacted us later saying they hadn't received the cheque or they'd lost it etc would we cancel and then reissue.
    Ok, but how do you then deal with the money which is still sitting on your account years later?
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