TPO upholds complaint against John Abbott (Flooring) Limited

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has upheld a complaint against John Abbott (Flooring) Limited and directed that it should pay £1,000 for the “serious distress and inconvenience” it has caused.

The complainant, identified in the ruling as Mr M, alleged that John Abbott had failed to pay contributions into the Nest scheme despite deducting them from his pay, with the missing contributions amounting to £2,854.06.

Mr M complained to John Abbott in February 2020 about his contributions not being paid into the pension scheme, a complaint that was repeated in September 2020 before being brought to TPO in January 2021.

The case was first considered by a caseworker who stated that, whilst it was TPO’s normal approach to seek agreement from all parties on the facts of the complaint, John Abbott had not responded to TPO’s communications and he had therefore based his opinion solely on the information provided by Mr M.

As a result, the caseworker ruled in favour of Mr M but, after John Abbott did not respond to the caseworker’s opinion, the complaint was passed to the ombudsman to consider.

The ombudsman agreed that employee contributions were deducted by John Abbott and not paid into Mr M’s Nest scheme and that John Abbott had failed to rectify this and so ruled in favour of Mr M.

To put matters right, TPO directed that John Abbott should pay Mr M £1,000 for the serious distress and inconvenience he has experienced, as well as produce a schedule showing the employee contributions deducted from Mr M’s pay in respect of the period of his employment and forward the schedule to Mr M.

TPO additionally directed that, within 14 days of receiving confirmation from Mr M that he agrees with the information on the schedule, John Abbott shall pay the missing contributions to the scheme, and establish with Nest whether the late payment of contributions has meant that fewer units were purchased in Mr M’s account than he would have otherwise.

TPO also directed that, within 14 days of receiving confirmation from Nest of any shortfall in Mr M’s units, John Abbott should pay the cost of purchasing any additional units required to make up the shortfall.

John Abbott was also directed to pay any reasonable administration fee, should Nest charge one, for carrying out these calculations.

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