ASK TONY: I was banking on my ISA to buy a house but Skipton closed it

I opened a Lifetime ISA (Lisa) with Skipton on June 27, 2017. I recently tried to pay into it, but discovered Skipton had closed it on September 16 last year. 

I was told that the National Insurance number I had given did not match the one held by HMRC.

Skipton had not contacted me about this by either email or phone call, my preferred contact methods.

ISA fight: One reader fears he will lose out on his ISA bonus after a mix-up with his National Insurance number

It said it had written in February 2018, but this was to an old address. The building society states it allows a 30-day period after such contact before it closes the account. 

But it had allowed me to pay in £4,000 in February 2019.

Skipton admitted to communication errors and offered £50 compensation. It says it cannot reopen the account due to HMRC rules.

But HMRC says it is up to the bank or building society to decide whether to repair or reopen an account.

I want my account reopened so I can access the government bonus I have been acquiring through years of saving to buy my first home.

M. D., Oldham.

A Lisa allows you to save up to £4,000 a year and receive an annual cash bonus of up to £1,000 on top, so long as the money is used towards a deposit for a first home or for retirement.

The closure of yours was a serious blow. In the circumstances, Skipton’s £50 offer was derisory and its response unhelpful.

As HMRC correctly told you, it is up to the bank or building society whether a Lisa is repaired when an error occurs.

However, you are not blameless. If you move home, you need to provide your new address to banks and building societies. 

Skipton says it wrote twice in February 2018 to say your account had not been accepted by HMRC due to the NI number discrepancy.

It also wrote again in July 2019 and sent two emails saying that your account would be closed if you did not update your details within 60 days.

I don’t know what happened to the emails, but perhaps you should check your spam filters.

A cheque was issued to you which was fortunately returned from your old address. At this stage I must question Skipton’s security. If the building society had been writing to you for nearly 18 months with no reply, it should have hesitated before sending a large cheque to this address.

Skipton has reinstated your account because it agrees it should have pointed out the problem when you paid in your cheque in February 2019.

You have accepted the £50 compensation and your details have been updated.

Finally, Skipton has made a plea, which I echo wholeheartedly: If you move home, please tell your bank, building society, pension company, investment firms and anyone else with whom you have financial dealings.

You have YOUR say 

Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some about our article on the new wearable technology that allows you to pay with your shirt sleeves.

While a smart payment shirt might appeal to some, it’s not for me. You would need to buy at least two, so you could wear one while the other is in the wash. It’s over-engineered technology.

A. G., Newcastle.

This is all about abolishing cash. One day we’ll be living in a world of digital currency and paying for things with microchips in our hands. I’m sure all the celebrities will have these shirts soon.

G. D., Derby.

I don’t want to touch money at the moment, as I worry it could be contaminated with the coronavirus. 

As a result, I’m sticking with contactless payments. I don’t think I’d like wearing the ring, though.

L. M, by email.

I worry that this technology is open to abuse from hackers. I’d never use a shirt to purchase anything unless I knew my data was safe. Companies need to make this clear in their terms.

P. A., U.S.

Imagine if you were just about to pay for a large weekly shop and the checkout person refused to accept your shirt as a method of payment? 

It’s fine if you can go outside and withdraw cash, but that’s not always the case.

F. W., by email.

That shirt is about as useful as an old tyre. 

Imagine going to collect it from the laundry and later finding out that another customer had taken it by mistake. They’d be spending your cash before you knew it.

S. W., Australia.

I know this kind of technology is going to be inescapable in the future, but I don’t feel comfortable with it. Chip and PIN still feels like witchcraft to me.

M. J, Kent.

I have a ring which I use to make payments and I love it. Without a doubt, it is the best gadget I own. 

The only problem is I can get carried away when I take it to a bar with my friends.

P. P., Halifax.

My mother died in July 2018 leaving 1,050 Portmeirion Group shares. I asked for these to be transferred into my name. Her estate was settled in July 2019.

Despite receiving dividends, I have yet to receive the share certificate. Link Market Services told my solicitor it had posted the certificate on January 23, but my solicitor did not receive it.

Link said the only way forward was to pay a £47 indemnity fee. I contacted Link and was presented with a fee of £337, which I paid as I wanted closure. Surely I should not have had to pay this?

N. P., Cheshire.

Link, a firm handling the administration of shares, says your solicitor made contact in January last year and the share certificate was processed and sent to them on January 23, 2019.

If a share certificate is lost and the value of shares exceeds £125.01, then additional indemnity cover is required.

Your shares were worth just over £8,000, so Link offered to provide the cover for £290. 

There is an administration fee of £47 to cover this process and the issuing of a new certificate, making a total fee of £337.

Your solicitor issued a formal complaint on October 24 saying they were unhappy with the indemnity fee. 

Link then said you could look at alternative options provided by a suitably authorised bank or insurance company.

Link says it appreciates the disappointment this episode must have caused at a distressing time for your family. It has sent you a £200 cheque as a goodwill gesture.

Straight to the point 

I bought a friend a £40 Homesense gift card via Voucher Express on December 7. 

She still hasn’t received it, though I have repeatedly contacted Voucher Express.

K. O., Cumbria.

Voucher Express says it has now sent your friend a replica of the first E-gift card. 

It says it first received contact from you on December 16 and replied two days later. It says it had no further emails from you.


While picking up my sister from Southend Airport last July, I became confused and stopped for less than a minute to get my bearings twice. 

I did not turn off my engine or get out of my car. Shortly after I received two fines totalling £200. I am a pensioner and do not know how I will pay this.

M. S., by email.

By the time I got a response from the airport, £60 had been added to your bill for non-payment, which has now been cancelled. 

It has refused to waive the rest of the fee but offered a payment plan. 

It says your version of events is not supported by evidence and does not want to set a precedent of waiving fines following media involvement.


Virgin Media offered me a £39-a-month deal with TV, broadband and anytime calls in January. I was told I could leave any time with no fee. 

The next day an email said I would pay £67 a month for a different contract. Virgin said this was a mistake, but is still charging me £72 to cancel.

J. S., Surrey.

Virgin admitted its agent made an error when processing your order. It has apologised and offered you a new package at the price it originally quoted. 

It has also waived the £72 fee, which, rather than an exit fee, was actually your last bill.


My wife and I booked a stay at the Grand Hotel in Llandudno in December to see an Elvis and Tom Jones tribute band. 

We saw it advertised in a newspaper and booked with the hotel, paying £336. At the hotel we were denied access to the entertainment as we did not book via the organisers.

C. B., Herefordshire.

You booked to stay at the hotel to see the tribute acts, so it seems unfair that the hotel didn’t just let you in. 

Had you known you needed to book the package via a third party you would have done so. 

But a spokesman for the Britannia Hotels group is adamant there is nothing more it can do.

I am on a two-year fixed-price deal with Together Energy which began in August 2018.

I have never had a statement from the firm, although I have telephoned with meter readings on eight occasions.

Together Energy wrote to me in September 2019 saying I was £43 in credit but it was increasing my monthly payment from £111 to £137.

I phoned to say it should not take extra money from my account but it did so anyway.

M. A., Staffordshire.

Together Energy issued a statement saying it did not have correct meter readings and therefore its billing system was generating over-estimated bills.

This led to the computer-generated request for the increase in direct debit.

Together Energy says it has now corrected your account and amended your direct debit. 

Of course, you would have been able to see what was wrong if it had bothered to send a statement.

  • Write to Tony Hazell at Ask Tony, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email [email protected] — please include your daytime phone number, postal address and a separate note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Tony Hazell. We regret we cannot reply to individual letters. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.


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