Standard Life Pension Provider sends condolence letter informing woman of her own death
Standard Life Office, EdinburghReuters

Standard Life, a leading long term savings and investment company established in 1825, sent a condolences letter to an 80-year-old widow in Spalding, Lincolnshire, where she has been living along for years now. The letter from her pension provider stated that  she is dead and will no longer receive pension payments. 

"I was sorry to learn of (the woman's) death," read the letter dated July 2014. "I offer my sincere condolences on behalf of Standard Life."

The letter was originally sent to inform the woman, whose identity is not revealed, that her pension payments have been stopped. The woman though elderly and frail is very much alive and was shocked to receive the message.

"You can imagine how shocked I was to receive the letter. Fortunately I still have my wits about me, but I dread to think what the consequences could have been for someone in more fragile health than myself," she told The Telegraph.

Standard Life has blamed the blunder on a clerical error, with a staff member incorrectly marking the reason for the pension payment being returned to them, as "deceased". They have since apologised for the mistake and reissued her pension payment immediately. They also sent the woman some flowers and £50 as a token of their apology.

A spokesman for Standard Life told the Telegraph: "We are very sorry this occurred and for the concern it has caused. We apologised immediately and carried out a review to understand what had happened. We reissued the pension payment immediately and sent (the woman) flowers and £50 as apology too."

While it is quite traumatic to receive a condolence letter about your own death, Standard Life did make up for it by reaching out to the woman in question and apologising to her profusely. More often than not, financial institutions, such as pension providers and insurance companies, would rush to sweep such unflattering rumours under the rug. So it is quite refreshing to see Standard Life own up to their error and go the extra mile to keep the customers happy.