Sisters repay more than GBP100k after insurance blunder

Two sisters received a huge insurance hand-out in the years after their father, Robert Gent passed away. However, insurance company Friends Life Group informed them there had been a mistake, and ordered them to pay back the money. They also had to pay out £7,000 more for legal costs and interest.

Sandy Millington and Elaine Briscoe had spent five years attempting to recover the grave-digger’s pension fund after he retired in 2008, during which time he passed away. Eventually, they received a letter from Friends Life Group which explained that they had been given £108,000.

Their joy was short-lived however, because within one month of receiving the lump sum, they were ordered to pay it all back. Friends Life Group explained that the error was due to another customer having the same name, and the money was intended for his family instead. The repayment proved difficult for the sisters as they had already divided a portion of the money amongst their family, and had also spent approximately £20,000.

Threatened with legal action if they failed to return the money, the sisters had to sell their father’s house and borrow from friends and family in order to cover the costs. But, although they finally managed to repay the firm in October 2014, they were taken to Court for the late payment and ordered to pay £6,000 for legal costs and £1,000 for interest.

Sandy Millington said: “We got quoted a point of law which says that no-one should gain from a mistake, which we accept, but surely no-one should have to pay for one either.”

Friends Life Group issued a statement which said: “We offer our unreserved apologies for the initial overpayment error and the subsequent distress this caused.”

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