Anyone know about SERPs reclaims?

I've been approached by a company claiming that I may be entitled to mis-selling compensation in regard to my SERPs opt-out in April 1989.
I did indeed opt out of SERPs all those many years ago and agree to have my SERPs payments paid into a Scottish Widows private pension plan.
This company claim I may have been mis-sold the policy and that, therefore, I may be entitled to up to several thousand pounds in compensation. They are offering to pursue a claim and will charge a set fee of £299 which will only be payable if they win more than £2000 in compensation.
Can anyone shed more light on this whole topic? Are there mis-selling issues around SERPs opt-out. And if there are, can I in fact easily pursue such a claim for free?

Replies

  • McKneffMcKneff Forumite
    38.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    The telling words.


    'I have been approached'


    They have cold called you, they would have no idea if you had Serps or not before you picked up the phone and you told them all they needed to know.


    Barge Pole springs to mind..... forget them. They are scammers, they will charge you this up front fee, find nothing; then be laughing all the way to the bank with yours and thousands of other [up front fee'
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
    107.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I've been approached by a company claiming that I may be entitled to mis-selling compensation in regard to my SERPs opt-out in April 1989.

    Seeing as the FSA did a review of SERPS and found just a 1.5% failure rate and that the FOS complaints stats show that they only uphold 1% to 2% of SERPS complaints, what grounds has this cold calling company given for you being mis-sold?
    This company claim I may have been mis-sold the policy and that, therefore, I may be entitled to up to several thousand pounds in compensation.

    Sounds like advance fee fraud. That works by getting your attention with some big pay off by telling you about something that you may believe. Whilst your greed is focused on the big pay off, they then hit you with an advance smaller fee. You are blinded by the payoff amount and pay it.
    Can anyone shed more light on this whole topic?

    Its a scam. There are only a couple of companies known to be active in this. Most claims companies gave up after the FSA published its findings and the FOS published claims stats showing just 1% success on complaints. Indeed, one company was doing it just to find out pension information and then telling people they could transfer their pension. They then received commission for the pension transfer. The complaint thing was just a way to get in the door to earn money on the pension transfer.
    Are there mis-selling issues around SERPs opt-out.

    No. Here is a link to media coverage at the time:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/2808917/Watchdog-rules-out-widespread-Serps-mis-selling.html

    As mentioned, the FSA found just a potential 1.5% failure rate. It published a guide which is linked here:
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100210151716/moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk/pdfs/s2p_wrongly_advised_ink.pdf

    The flow chart is on page 4.

    The FOS stats show for the full year of 2012/13 they upheld 2% of complaints about mis-sold SERPS. Q1 for 2013/14 was just 1% and Q2 for 2013/14 was 2%. They got 476 cases in 2012/13 (full year).

    One assumes that the cold calling scam company didnt tell you that the FOS only upheld 1-2% and didnt tell you that the regulator had a free guide that you could use to see if it applies to you.
    can I in fact easily pursue such a claim for free?

    Yes you can. Indeed, it is a legal requirement for claims companies to tell you that you can use the free of charge complaints process. Guess they didnt do that either.

    However, how were you mis-sold?

    Most people who contracted out are financially better off? Your contracted out benefits allow a 25% tax free lump sum. Contracted in do not. You can take your contracted out benefits pension between 55 and 75. You decide. Whereas contracted in is fixed to state pension age. If you die before retirement, contracted out benefits are paid out as tax free lump sum to beneficiary. Contracted in are not.

    So, why do you think you were mis-sold?
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Thanks, Dunstonh & McKneff. I was pretty sure that it was no-goer or a scam. I'm used to fending off PPI cold-callers (These days I wait for the tell-tale 'click' before the computer connects to their call centre and then say "Universal Church of Satan - Can I help you?' Seems to do the trick.)
    But I was curious as I've never come across the SERPs mis-selling proposal before and just wondered whether there was actually a PPI/bank charge-style scandal going on that I didn't know about.
    Will obviously not be providing these chaps with any pension details etc. But good to know about the FSA review and the tiny complaint success rate. Appreciate your speedy advice.
  • magpiecottagemagpiecottage
    9.2K Posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    I had one case involving this firm. The guy is an IFA as well and seems to use this as a ruse to buy clients.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides