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Case study 6: ABI member’s handling of an insistent customer

A customer made contact with us seeking to withdraw all of the money from her husband’s pension plan (she had power of attorney). It transpired that her husband was terminally ill in a hospice and she also had been diagnosed with cancer and she wanted the money to clear debts.

We made clear that the customer would incur significant tax on the withdrawal and advised that she could be eligible to get the money paid out 100% tax-free if the terminal diagnosis was confirmed. The customer was clearly under significant distress (at one point threatened suicide) which the call handler picked up on.

At one point, it was a three-way conversation between the call agent, the customer, and her husband from the hospice. Taking this into consideration, instead of processing the transaction as requested we reached an agreement with the customer that they would go to the GP with a view to exploring the serious ill health option. The customer has since done this and returned to us.

As it turns out the GP has diagnosed that the customer’s husband has longer to live than originally thought so she was unable to get the money tax free. This case demonstrates that 

there was a recognition of the vulnerability of the customer and a drive to get the customer the best possible outcome, whilst taking their situation into account. The customer made their final decision with an awareness of all of possible options.