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Reviews for Prudential

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Service: Investment Bond (Onshore) Product: Flexible Investment Plan

Review by Tremorfaboy submitted on 16 March 2013

Likes: Helpful telephone assistance - both from voice recognition and from real people

Dislikes: Bureaucratic customer service that would have been dated in 1970.

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Recently cashed in a series of 12 investment bonds. They started life with M&G in 1988 and after a brief sojourn with Scottish Amicable ended up with the Pru. No obejction to the overall performance (then again I had chosen the underlying funds) but the process of encashment was tortuous.

Contacted the Pru on 11 Feb and they sent out repayment forms on 14 Feb (they arrived on 18 Feb by second class post). Sent the forms back same day despite their being so complicated that (as a chartered accountant and former university lecturer in finance) I couldn't understand them and had to ring several times for guidance. Could they make an electronic payment? No - their systems were not set up to handle that (funny, as I'd had an AVC pension 'pot' transferred to me electronically by another part of the Pru a year earlier!).

On 21 February I received twelve envelopes. Great, thought I - the cheques already. No chance: they were twelve valuations based on mid-January, each with an apologetic letter saying that they should have sent these out almost a year earlier but had forgotten. (They also seemed to have forgotten that I had had an up-to-date verbal valuation on 11 February when I rang up to enquire about encashment...)

Two weeks later, on 4 March, twelve more envelopes arrived by second class post - each containing a cheque dated 19 February. (Lucky we have honest postmen!) By the time these cheques cleared it was 7 March and I finally had access to the money.

Postage costs money and 24 separate envelopes cost a lot more money even if you get a discount as a bulk user. Postage is also insecure unless you use tracked mail (they didn't, presumably because it costs money). Why not issue one cheque rather than 12? Ever heard of electronic payments? Of Faster Payments? (My tinpot local building society has used these ever since they were introduced.

My brokers are touting the Pru as a buy. On the grounds that there must be enormous cost savings if this dozy institution would streamline its processes and wake up to the late 20th century, let alone the early 21st, they may well be right - but I wouldn't want to be a customer again until they get their act together.

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