We examine a Pensions Ombudsman decision that confirms employer maladministration resulting in an individual missing the automatic enrolment opt-out window did not cause loss to the individual.
Ombudsman Determination of 14 June 2022 (CAS-58165-P0N1)
Miss S against Office Angels Limited and NOW: Pensions Trust in relation to automatic enrolment
Miss S complained that she was not provided with valid notification of her auto-enrolment into the pension scheme and therefore did not have the opportunity to opt out within the opt out window. Miss S’s options now were to leave the money invested in the Plan or request a transfer out. However, Miss S wanted a refund of her contributions and compensation for the distress and inconvenience. Miss S’s complaint was not upheld.
The Pensions Ombudsman findings were as follows
The Pensions Regulator’s guidance stated that it was not obliged to send notification by post. Miss S provided evidence that she notified Office Angels of her new email address, stating that: “all correspondence must be sent to this email address now.” There was no evidence that Office Angels provided NOW with Miss S’s new mail address. Accordingly, NOW sent Miss S the Notice via an acceptable method of communication, and it used the email address that it held at the time. Office Angels’ failure to record Miss S’ new email address and pass it on to NOW amounted to maladministration. However, Miss S did not suffer a financial loss as a result of this maladministration by Office Angels and the threshold for making an award for distress and inconvenience (the minimum award is £500) was not met.
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