‘Why won’t Aviva let me take my pension?’

You had an Aviva pension from which in 2002 you took £7,292 tax-free cash. The residual fund of £46,376 was used to purchase a lifetime annuity paying £3,350 a year in monthly instalments. This anyway puts it outside the small pot category.

Nevertheless, before you wrote to me, an Aviva adviser had incorrectly told you that you could cash in the annuity. Then this was corrected but the wrong information left you feeling uncertain. Aviva says that this was an isolated incident where the call handler didn’t realise the pension was already in payment.

Confusion may also have arisen in that the government did toy with allowing people to take the capital paying larger annuities but it then backtracked. As it stands the freedom to take pension savings as a lump sum, which came into effect on April 6 2015, usually does not apply to money that has already been used to buy an annuity.

A spokesman for Aviva said: “We’re sorry Mr C was told the wrong information. While this was an isolated incident, this isn’t the level of service we aim to provide our customers. We’ve apologised and offered £200 as a gesture of goodwill.”

Three weeks on though there was still no sign of the £200 and you had only been told by me not Aviva that it was being offered. Aviva told me a letter had been sent but hadn’t arrived. You definitely did not receive it.

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